Article by Winnie Kabintie
Award winning gospel singer Pitson, famed for his “Lingala Ya Yesu” anthem has released his latest single; Wacha Niimbe, whose message is calling out to parents to allow their children who are gifted in music to pursue their passion.
For a long time in Africa, white collar jobs have been perceived as the epitome of success and majority of parents take their children to school with only one agenda; for them to excel, get good results and get a good job. “Soma kwa bidiii upate kazi mzuri” (put on some great effort in your studies so that you can succeed and get a good job); you will often catch a Kenyan parent urging his child.
A good job according to this narrative is either a lawyer, doctor, engineer you name it and in some cases some parents will even go to the extremes of forcing a career path on their children whether that’s where their passion is or not.
It has therefore been an uphill task for individuals who are passionate and artistically gifted to pursue their dreams of becoming professional musicians, actors or dancers as these careers are not considered profitable.
Pitson actually quit his white-collar job with a leading local bank so that he could pursue music, a story that most local artists can relate with.
GROWTH OF AFRICA’S MUSIC INDUSTRY
Time has however proved that indeed a person can turn his passion into profit and unlike years ago where artists in the west were the only ones who were comfortably living off their talents, African artists have reached there too.
Africa’s music business, led largely by Nigeria, is booming thanks to among other prevailing factors a new generation of artists who are releasing songs with an international appeal.
AFRICA’S RICHEST MUSICIANS
There are scores of artists in Africa who are comfortably living off their trade and a section of them have actually build empires thanks to doing what they know best. Below is a random list of some of the richest musicians as cited by multiple sources based on factors such as endorsement value, popularity, show rates, sales, awards, YouTube views, and investment.
D’banj aka the Koko Master (Nigeria)
Jose chameleone (Uganda)
Hugh Masekela (South African)
Fally Ipupa (drc)
2face Idibia (Nigeria)
Hugh Masekela (South Africa)
Banky W (Nigeria)
Diamond Platinumz (Tanzania)
Sauti Sol (Kenya)