Despite being a home to one of the leading entertainment websites Entertainment Malawi and a place where music production is low-priced, Mzuzu city has failed to produce a celebrity in so many years.
Various sources around music circles have claimed the reason behind this has been pride of artists to associate with one another on musical projects.
However, following the death of one of Mzuzu’s hip hop giants K Man on February 4, 2020, musicians began to meet for peace talks and find ways how they can move their careers into well-paying professional businesses.
Many musicians gave in to the idea thereby resulting into establishment of a body with regulations to monitor musicians called Northern Urban Music Association-NUMA.
One of the founders of NUMA, singer Jah Face alias William Phiri said the idea to start this association first came about while attending K Man’s funeral where he noticed how artists struggled to contribute funds for his family because of being disorganised unlike how women groups were organised to contribute for the deceased family.
“I was touched with how disorganised our industry is as musicians, and failing to do one thing for our fallen brother. Just like women do their various group to help each other in times of need I thought it would be of use to have our own group or union to be supporting each other in times of need. Not only that as a union we could be inspiring one another as people trying to accomplish the same goal,” he said.
Adding on to that an executive member of NUMA, and rap artist Homage added on that this association was create to reduce the problems musicians face in the northern region and create a platform where music can be recognise as source of revenue to boost economy of the country.
“NUMA was created to reduced problems that musicians face in the northern region as we all know they lack exposure. Another thing this is that music plays a great role in economic development for example it may provide employment to people, boosting the tourism industry with things like shows like Lake of Stars among other things.”
We want to tutor musicians as a business not just a hobby and we will provide lessons on how musicians can register and market their music.”
Sharing similar sentiments, another executive member Augustine Chilunga expressed that the main aims of NUMA was to be a bridge to a solution to the problems musicians have been facing in the northern.
“We want to create and provide a positively life changing experience to the artists, we also want to provide a ground where every artist has access and opportunity participate in active music activities. We want to make sure they learn how to invest in their music as a brand while they reach maximum exposure.” He said.
Despite being identified as a music association NUMA was created to allow artists of various kinds outside music such as photographers, video directors, and graphic designers among others. This being the reason the association was met with harsh criticism for their choice of name which shows music as its only composition.
Addressing the matter NUMA co-founder Kedson Ngwira said that it was suggested they use music as when choosing the name for the union because the main people involved with NUMA are musicians while the rest kinds of artists are their frequent collaborators.
“If you look at music you will see that musician need graphic designers, video directors even the people in media and vice versa. So even thou we say this is for every artist out there, it is the association that musicians share with other artists that made us to open it for everyone to join. Music on its own cannot do it all, music needs designs, gigs, producers just to name a few,” he explained.
But how have musicians welcomed NUMA?
One of the up and coming artists V Chris says that he is hoping the association will drag attention of music lovers to the northern region thereby providing a great exposure for musicians and artists in general.
“As an artist I hope that this association will push my music to a different level, and I hope that this we provide a maximum exposure for our music in the north because this could divert music lover’s attention to this side,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Northern Urban Music Association is looking forward to work with various companies that can support financially.