OPINION: Music should be timeless

By Harold Kapindu

Every artist needs inspiration to create a masterpiece. Inspiration resonates in different ways to respective artists. Some are inspired by smocking weed, bible meditation, conversations, reflection on real life events or even other artists’ work.

Among others, it is believed that artists like Bob Marley and Snoop Dogg have written classics from weed inspiration. American Rapper Grandmaster Caz switches off all electronic devices stays away from other people and locks himself in a room when he is inspired to write. On the contrary, South African artist HHP go to the studio and gets inspired to write in front of people upon hearing a good beat.

Whatever the case, a good song should challenge a listener’s way of thinking or spark something that a listener can relate to. Bob Marley’s “Redemption song”, 2Pac’s “Brenda got a baby”, Lucius Banda’s “Mabala”, Joseph Nkasa’s “Mphwayi ndi tsoka”, Third Eye’s “Deep” are products of creative writing.

The problem with this generation’s artists is that they focus much on making short term hits forgetting that good music is timeless. With the pressure to release a hit song that surpasses the success of the previous one, artists end up producing songs that sound similar as was the case with Martse’s “Mwano” and “Ndi ine” situation.

Unlike in Hip Hop where rappers take credit for writing own songs, artists from other genres have an upper hand because they can outsource songwriters. It is also important for artists to research, redefine their sound and rebrand themselves as is the case with Lucius Banda. Lucius Banda came out in the early 90s and he is still sounding relevant whereas his peers have either retired or can’t fit in this era.

Bob Marley, Peter Tosh produced their music in the 70s but it still sounds modern to this date. Others have argued that the dwindling standards of music are as a result of computerized sounds. Much as this may be true, I still believe lack of seriousness and creativity is song writing is the dominant factor.

If you are an artist, here is my question to you; are people going to listen to your music in 30 years to come?


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