By Harold Kapindu
Many may despise him for his rapping style and fusing Malawian traditional music elements with Hip Hop music, but, one thing is for sure, sky is the limit for the self-acclaimed Nyau King, Limbani Kalilani popularly known as Tay-Grin.
Once again, Tay Grin shocked the world and Malawi in particular after winning international award for “Best International African Act” for his new song “The Beach featuring The Very Best” at last year’s Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) Awards that took place in London, United Kingdom and Best Hip Hop Artist at this year’s MUMA Awards.
The local hip-hop superstar was last year nominated for “Best International African Act” and “Best Music Video” for his new song “The Beach”. In the first category, the Malawian flag carrier was competing against continental music giants among them P Square, Davido, Timaya, Zahara, Awilo Longomba, Dr Sid, Olamide, Sautisol and R2bees.
For “Best Video”, Tay Grin was facing the likes of Pharrell Williams for the video “Happy”, Mafikizolo’s “Khona”, Jose Chameleon’s “Wale Wale” and Mr Jayvic’s “I Love Africa”, among others.
Commenting on his win, Grin said that he was very grateful for the achievement and did not hesitate to thank all the people that voted for him.
“I am honored, happy. This is a great achievement for Malawi music. We have made history together thank you to everyone that voted this is our award. Greater things to come” said Grin.
Tay Grin says “It’s a numbers game, the more votes I got the higher the chances of winning the award. I called upon all Malawians to take a moment of their time and visit www.beffta.com/voting and vote for the two nominations. My success is our success. We are now at the global table and I couldn’t do it alone. I worked hard to get there and I needed everybody’s help to finish the race. People voted and we brought the award home.”
BEFFTA awards honour and celebrate talented personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts. Voting the in 6th BEFFTA awards closed on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 and the award ceremony took place from 24-25 October at The Hippodrome in London. The event attracted stars from US, Africa, Canada, UK, the Caribbean and the rest of Europe.
According to http://www.beffta.com, Pauline Long was inspired to start BEFFTA awards after organising Mr and Miss East Africa UK for many years, a community project that is a voice for East African street children that she self-funded with very little resources.
She however worked with so many talented people in entertainment, film, fashion television and arts who were not being celebrated despite their contributions towards the respective industries. She established BEFFTA to encourage these individuals to carry on with their industries despite challenges.
The rapper, Tay Grin has previously won a Channel O award several years back, adds:“I didn’t see the BEFFTA award coming. It has come as a huge surprise and I am humbled that I was nominated with such great African artists. Just being nominated is a big plus as this shows global recognition. The awards were for entertainers around the world. It’s an honor and a great stepping stone for bigger and brighter things. The award will certainly open up major doors for me.”
However, there have been mixed reactions on how the Malawian star managed to amass votes to win the award. Some believe that he deserved to win while others think otherwise.
Limbani Kavalo, an area 18B resident says Tay Grin has worked hard to market himself across the world as an artist therefore it did not come as a surprise to hear that he had won yet another international award in London.
“We must understand that music is a very serious business, it needs investing. One has to produce quality audio and videos that can be played on international Television channels. We have seen Tay Grin on Channel O, that is not a mean achievement,” he said.
He further attacked Tay-Grin critics, labeling them as mere haters.
“Most of the people who critic Tay are haters who have nothing to do in life. They think music is just about going in the studio and releasing songs forgetting the business side of it. Artists need to be presentable, Tay has proven that he is an artist and a gentleman by becoming a brand ambassador for DSTV Explora,” he explained.
Tay Grin is perhaps one of the few Malawian artists that have personal website and can be found on Wikipedia.
On the contrary, Tamandani Malunga thinks Tay’s win is questionable and it always shocks him whenever the artist wins an award.
“It’s a shock on how the nominations and the voting process happened. I am actually surprised as to who voted for him to win. Am sure not too many Malawians voted because people don’t even know the new song that made him won,” Malunga said.
Malunga pointed out that only a few Malawians are online and it’s doubtful to win with a local vote.
“Most Malawians don’t care about voting online. They only spend time chatting with friends and family on social media, even most of our Big Brother representatives fail to do well because Malawi doesn’t vote,” explained Malunga.
Perhaps, Tay Grin didn’t win with a Malawian vote or he won with a vote from Malawians in Diaspora who are more exposed to technology. Perhaps, there is something that the guy is doing right and we don’t see it. Whatever it is, it is high time Malawi appreciated the fact that a Malawian won something.