Two ideas and viewpoints are often better than one. In the age of celebrity endorsements and brands collaborations, it is not different in music.
The local and international music industry has thrived since musicians are shifting from the idea of competing to embracing that of working together. To create music works, artists never work on their own anyway, with producers, session musicians and engineers being involved in some aspects in the creation process. It often takes a team but beyond that, collaborations with other artists is crucial in that it expands one’s audience by exposing them to the audience of their collaborator. Beyond exposure, a collaboration grows an artist and introduces them to ways of doing things that may grow their craft.
There are many songwriters, vocalists and performers in the age of social media who are able to conceptualize, write, produce beats, even shoot music videos and edit them for platforms like YouTube. Young skilful rapper Nasty C did that on his come up, but sadly, not a lot are able to. Even when he had made his mark on music, through collaborations he was able to expand on his style and improve his approach to creating music.
Take for instance folk singer, Msaki who released her debut album Zanelisa: How the water moves in 2016. Msaki gained fans from her collaborations with Mobi Dixon, Black Coffee, Black Motion and Prince Kaybee. House music fans peaked into her world, some liked it but would never have gone into it had she not have been involved with artists they follow.
A band that has been strategic with all the artists they have collaborated with is Major Lazer. They have managed to work with artists like Justin Bieber and Beyonce to Babes Wodumo, Nasty C and Maphorisa. Each collaboration is carefully curated and explores limits to the genres of music they make. This has served them in garnering fans around the world where they can perform with people from that part of the globe.
Essentially, the idea of collaboration is to grow an artist beyond the limits they have for themselves. At the height of his hip-hop career, Jay Z remade ‘Numb’ with rock band that was equally in its prime, Linkin Park and history was made. It seems the more unexpected, different and far apart the genres are in music, the better it might turn out. None of us could have dreamt of when Black Coffee met Hugh Masekela on ‘We are one’, when Reason and Swiss Beatz met Sibongile Khumalo on ‘Azania’, when Wizkid met Bucie on ‘All for Love’ and when Cassper met Dj Sumbody, Thebe, and Vettis.
Live performances are inevitable in a musician’s career. Artists performing as opening acts may not necessarily have collaborated with headliners through music but may be affiliated through management or partnership, which ultimately ensure that, some of the headliner’s fans may be won over by the opening and supporting act. A concert like Shimza’s One Man Show is a prime example of artists “putting each other on” especially since he plays house music and collaborates with hip-hop, afro-pop and soul artists to put together his show.