Coke Studio Africa, a concept by the Coca- Cola company that brings together different established artists for collaborations is now recording for its third season after finalising on the second season recently.
One of Kenya’s fastest rising group Elani is rumored to be in the artist line up for season 3
As is custom, the music show brings a well known international artist towards the end of every season in a bid ‘close the show in style‘ and serve as an inspiration not just to their audience but also to the African artists who have been working together throughout that season giving them a chance to celebrate their achievements.
John Legend has become a true legend in the RnB and Neo Soul genre having won several Grammys (9 to be exact). He recently finished a promotional tour of his latest album- All of Me which saw him hold a concert in South Africa. For his fans in Kenya, it was such a blow to hear that he would not be coming to Kenya. That was until there were rumors that he would be in Kenya for the finale of Coke Studio Africa Season 3.
As it turns out, although the rumors were from a trusted source, John Legend could not find any time in his very busy schedule to come to Kenya despite expressing his dire interest to come for show. The organisers of the show are now back to the drawing board finding a replacement for John Legend.
— SYMMIE OLAG (@SIM_MAKEOVER) November 3, 2013
For music lovers like me, we cannot help but speculate on the names hoping that one of our favourite artists makes it on that short list and their stars align for them to be available then. (most of these musicians worth their salt are usually booked upto even a year in advance) but hey, you can’t blame a girl for hoping.
So here is my wish list of 5 artists that would provide great inspiration to African Artists and music lovers.
Ever since I heard the songs ‘How does it feel’ and ‘cruisin together‘ I became a Neo Soul lover. Being a pioneer of a genre that has always been misunderstood, D’Angelo fully defined his own sound that was not RnB, was not ‘Old Soul’ (Think Motown in the 60s) but it was new Soul. Actually that’s where Kedar Massenburg the president of Motown from 1994- 2004 got the idea for this new sound hence calling it ‘Neo Soul’
When John legend was starting out, his first album ‘Lifted’ had more elements of new soul than RnB. Due to commercial success and the pressures that come with his, I felt that his latest album All of me was more RnBish with little soul to it.
Eccentric is the very definition of Pharell. I am not even sure which genre of music he is in and that’s what I love about him. He refuses to be put in a box. Although I hate the fact that he chose not to honor a man who inspired him musically by colluding to ‘cheat’ with Marvin Gaye’s hit in his collaboration with Robin Thicke, I still love his genius as a producer and also as a singer.
3. Lauryn Hill
If there is one artist that I have come to admire despite the criticism that has befallen her of late, its Lauryn Hill. We cannot deny her musical genius in writing music that is poetry in motion, her versatility in being the best as a rapper as well as a singer. I hate it when musical groups split, however, the split of Lauryn from the Fugees was what Lauryn needed for us to see her brilliance in writing and transitioning between rapping and singing.
On July 10, RCA will release a Nina Simone tribute album called Nina Revisited: A Tribute To Nina Simone. It’s being released in conjunction with the forthcoming documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, which is coming to Netflix on June 26. The album includes six contributions from Ms. Lauryn Hill. Listen to her cover of “Feeling Good” above via Rolling Stone.
The tribute album will also feature Mary J. Blige, Common, Usher, Gregory Porter, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lisa Simone (Nina Simone’s daughter).
According to Rolling Stone, Hill was originally only slated to record two songs. “Because I fed on this music, both hers and lovers like her, like my basic food, I believed I always had a right to have a voice,” Hill said of Simone in a statement. “Her example is clearly a form of sustenance to a generation needing to find theirs. What a gift.”
4. Mary J Blige
Imagine having a career that spans over 2 decades and still making good music, that’s Ms Blige for you. Her achievements alone are enough for an artists who only has one hit to sit back and eat the humble pie. I feel that this element of artists making music that lasts and and African artists (especially Kenyan ones) seeking to continue in the music business 10, 20 years on is something that we are in serious lack of.
We need Mary to get us out of the microwave mentality with our music where we are just making music for this moment, to have fun in the club. This needs to change.
Whichever artist Coke Studio picks, I hope its one who an impart wisdom that goes beyond how to make a hit. Our artists need life lessons on ‘How to become a legend in Music‘.