It pays to go old school: Cont to young artistes

20 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
It pays to go old school:  Cont to young artistes Cont Mhlanga

The Chronicle

Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter
VETERAN arts practitioner Cont Mhlanga aka Khulu Cont has implored young musicians to apply some methods used by their seniors back in the day, stay focused on growing their music and be in constant touch with the demands of their fans if they are to prosper.

During a discussion that was conducted on WhatsApp by Gwanda’s TIME Project on Tuesday where artistes convened to share notes and assist up-and-coming artistes, Khulu Cont grabbed the opportunity to give advice to young musicians.

He said musicians nowadays tend to shun how things were done back in the day and urged them to follow the old school approach as it is rewarding.

“I know a lot of young ones think that old school does not work.

But I can tell you with confidence that if you want to be a respected bankable musician, follow old school.

It gives results.

“Yesteryear musicians who I like calling ‘old school’ were business people and behaved like business people with their craft,” said Khulu Cont.

He said they also focused on interacting live with their audiences because they knew very well that people loved buying products off the shelves.

“They knew that when they interact live with their fans, those fans would want to buy the original copy of their songs to play in the car, at home or at workplaces.

Live shows would then drive sales of their recorded music, while being on radio, newspapers and TV would push more fans to their shows where they would collect revenues at the door or what is called the box office.

“Not only would radio, newspapers and TV push fans to their live shows, but they would also push potential music promoters from other cities to their shows and this is how they would end up booked to perform at other venues in other cities than their own.

They knew that music promoters promote acts that they would have seen on stage. They didn’t use music videos to shop for acts to promote,” said Khulu Cont.

Yesteryear greats, Khulu Cont said, spent long hours at the recording studios once a year working on festive season songs hoping they would get a hit that would last the whole of the following year rocking the charts across all radio stations and the media.

“They were focused on their music and their fans and not on themselves and their friends like today’s local musicians,” said a concerned Khulu Cont.

“To them, music was serious business unlike the crop of today’s musicians who seem to be doing music for some kind of show off to their peers,” he said.

However, the veteran said musicians of today are working in a very difficult environment than those of yesteryear.

“They’re working in a music industry that’s been totally disrupted by technology and social media, unlike the yesteryear musicians who worked in a very structured and well-managed music industry.

“The current industry disruption calls for musicians of today to be more strategic to their music approach if they are to ever earn a decent living through music.

They mustn’t allow themselves to be distracted by technology and social media,” shared Khulu Cont.

He went on to urge youngsters to use technology to their advantage instead of letting it disrupt or distract them.

“Currently, they (young musicians) are just victims of technology and social media and they’ll die angry and frustrated if not die very poor.”

In this same vein, Khulu Cont urged musicians to properly time their music releases advising them to desist from releasing in months like January that have no activity.

“I’d like to urge musicians not to just drop their new songs any time of the year or day just because they’re ready.

They should always follow the established seasons of the year to help the market notice that they have dropped something new.”

For example, he said there is no need for a musician to drop new songs in January soon after Christmas and the New Year season when the love season, the month of February is just around the corner.

“There’s a need to focus on Valentine’s season. Musicians should package songs for it. Spin your marketing messages towards it and give your audiences an opportunity to notice that you’re bringing something new.

“Then there’s Culture Week in March, Easter in April, ZITF and Africa Day in May, the list goes on till the end of the year,” he said. — @mthabisi_mthire

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