Art & LifeSocietyObita's take on the SA music scene


Posted on Friday, 03 December 2010 01:24

Obita's take on the SA music scene

By Khadija Sharife in Durban

Ugandan-born Edward Castro Oola 'Obita' is the hottest new commodity to hit the South African music scene. The MC, who blends rock and gospel, recently won a Channel O Award for his song 'Everybody Dance' which features Loyiso. He is one of The Africa Report's People to Watch for 2011 and he gave us his thoughts on the South African music industry.

For more People to Watch from the worlds of business, politics and culture, buy the December 2010-January 2011 edition of The Africa Report, out now.

The Africa Report: Was it difficult breaking into the South African music industry?

Obita: The South African music scene is awash with opportunities – provided that it is within the context of African music. South Africa is very African in its understanding of music, hence gospel music and dance music tend to be absolutely dominant.

My sadness concerning our industry is that intelligent and thought-provoking music is undervalued and underrecognised. After all this country has fought for, it has become too much of a politically correct state, where music does not address social issues but simply extenuates the party atmosphere. Henceforth, unless you make them dance they can't hear you. That even extends to the gospel music culture.

With any industry, there is the aspect of red tape that has to be dealt with. There is no doubt a sense of needing to know who is who in order penetrate the industry or at least to have a lucky hit.

Marketing is king. South Africa is a large country and it would be wise to narrow in on a specific targeted audience and build outward from there. There are just too many radio and media outlets and too wide a demographic.

I live in Johannesburg and here everything is money, so costs can come to anything. The main obstacles for established artists is remaining current. Most artists tend to have one hit and then fade into oblivion. The battle for new artists is simply to break into the industry.

The Africa Report: What are your thoughts about xenophobia and living as an immigrant in South Africa?

Obita: Yes, we had xenophobic attacks, but the country is by and large very curious about the rest of Africa. The African population will give anything good a chance. For foreign artists, understanding the sound of the people is paramount.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 December 2010 01:40

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