Using art for youth empowerment

Hip hop artist Phyzix has just finalised a new album titled Solid. Prior to finalising the album, he hosted ‘Listening parties’ both in Blantyre and Lilongwe for various stakeholders in the arts industry. He is also the brains behind the political advocacy song Mutipatsa? Our arts editor EDITH GONDWE engaged the artist for more on the project and the future.

Phyzix: I commit myself to use my art and passion

Q

: You recently released a new album. Tell me more about this project?

A

: The album is not yet officially out. It will be launched on July 27 2019. The album is titled Solid. It has 11 songs. Solid means three dimensions—music for the body, mind and soul. It means a complete package, timely music and an exceptional body of work. The album is dedicated to my daughter Alyssa Grace Chikoleka. I started recording the album in early 2018; immediately after releasing The Diaries, a joint project with Barry Uno. I have recorded more than 30 songs, but settled for the 11 after thorough soul-searching and consultation. This is my seventh album and I have spent most of my resources on this album. I wanted a more musical album with depth, mass appeal, export quality and a fresh sound. The album will be released under It’s Only Entertainment [IOE] where I am CEO and the only signed artist.

Q

: We have seen you host what you call listening parties for the album which is a new practice locally. What is this exercise all about and has it achieved its intended purpose?

A

: We had listening parties in Blantyre and Lilongwe where we invited fellow artists, producers, engineers, promoters, bloggers, journalists, media personalities and music enthusiasts to get feedback that helped shape the album. We wanted technical feedback on how to improve the sounds, content feedback to make sure the songs have depth, arrangement and track listing feedback to make sure the flow of the album concept and the emotional progression of the songs feeding off each other; one after the other. The guests at the listening parties were very committed, focused and contributed heavily with valuable feedback that helped finalise the album into a great product. The turnout was encouraging and the reviews were thorough and honest-exactly what we needed.

Q

: Now that the album is done, what is next?

A

: We are in the process of pre-album release promotions-mainly direct marketing and social media. I will be premiering the first single off Solid album on Made on Monday, a programme on Radio 2FM hosted by Joy Nathu. This will be on June 3. Titled Yeye, featuring Gwamba, this is the lead single that will promote the album. We will follow up with more singles, videos and promo shows before launching the whole album. I have applied my skills as a practising marketing professional to develop and elaborate an exciting promotion plan for this album. I will make sure people hear about this album and get a chance to listen to it.

Q

Before this album, you released an advocacy song Mutipatsa which engaged politicians on their plans for the youth. Do you plan to continue with this advocacy in upcoming projects?

A

: Mutipatsa song is part of the #Mutipatsa campaign which I will carry on doing in my capacity as youth activist. I will continue to use my voice for the youth of Malawi and making sure that the youth of Malawi are getting a better deal in some of the political decisions towards social and economic development. I will also continue to conduct personal development talks in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. I am passionate about seeing the youth of Malawi develop. Therefore, I commit myself to use my art and passion for the cause.

Q

: Back to the album Solid, which artists are featured in this album?

A

: The album heavily features upcoming artists as well as some established ones, including Gwamba, Ikon, Emcee, Barry Uno, Leslie, LJ, Vube, Crispy Mw, Tech Dali, BlakJak, Danny Kalima, Bucci, my wife Ruth and my daughter Alyssa Grace. Production was mainly handled by Tricky Beats, supported by BFB, Henwood, Ace Tee, Stich Fray, Void and Vortex Venus. Most of the songs were recorded at Propee Records in Chirimba, Blantyre and Stich Fray’s Studio at Chilobwe.            

I decided to feature a lot of up-and-coming artists as well as producers to help nurture their talent and help showcase their talents to a wider audience. I would like to see continued growth in the Malawi entertainment industry. I am very open to working with new talent and offer guidance and share experiences with them.  n

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