Dar es Salaam — One month ago news broke that Bongo Flava artiste Malaika who has now rebranded as Queen Malaika had signed a deal with Scottish producer David Roddie who owns Urban Studios in Glasgow.
Though preliminary plans are still underway there has been plenty of vibe and anticipation over this project.
This week The Beat Magazine caught up with Roddie and below are excerpts of the conversation.
Who is David Roddie?
I am a music producer, songwriter and entrepreneur but I also love marketing especially online. I have for the past 16 years been working hard behind the scenes developing my skill set for writing and producing music and also working on the promotion of music online using social media.
What do you bring to Bongo Flava?
I hope to inject some strong songwriting sensibilities into the genre, I really love the energy of the Bongo Flava music I have heard and that is why I can see room for improvement in the sense of delivering solid songwriting and storytelling to the music.
I love telling stories through music and feel the narrative value of the songs will really help take the genre to a different level.
You have been working on different genres does that make you a stranger to African music and more especially Bongo Flava?
I have over the years worked with various genres from Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, Country, RnB, Folk, Bangra, Work music.
And as a studio owner and music producer I've worked with loads of different artistes. This will be my first Bongo Flava production but certainly not my last.
Urban Studios is set to work Queen Malaika what exactly do you tend pursue with this project?
The aim is to work together and develop Queen Malaika's sound so that it gains global appeal, really just polish the talent she already has and develop a new song that catches everyone's attention globally.
How did you zero in on Malaika as the perfect candidate for this project?
There were several artistes that I was looking at for a while and it was QM voice that really stood out, she has a very distinctive yet universal, a type of voice that appeals to a lot of people. Tanzanian music doesn't get airplay in the mainstream radio stations. What do you think is the reason?
My feeling is that it just needs to be found and I think by working on it and developing a sound and promoting it Bongo Flava could go on to gain much wider recognition.
Does this mean that there are other Tanzanian artistes that you intend to work with in the near future?
I have a few artistes in my scope who I think I can work with given their artistic qualities but I'll keep these names under my hat for the time being.
When you listen to Bongo Flava what strikes you most?
As I said earlier the energy of the music really draws me in, it's an exciting genre that I feel has so much potential to grow beyond where it is currently.
From the business side of things where do you see the future of African music?
I think it has massive potential, probably always has been but with in this ever changing digital age we could really see African music being shared and appreciated globally.
Song writing has been one of your strongest points how has this helped you as a producer and a singer?
I think it has, my music isn't really the ideal vessel for my writing. My own music is sort of folk orientated and I am cool with that I really just write to document things I have experienced and I think that's the key.
If your music is honest then it will relate to others no matter what genre your writing or performing in. My aim is to work with Queen Malaika write new songs, produce them, work hard at getting them out for people to enjoy and see where it goes from there, we are both realistic we know there is a long way to go but we also know that there is serious potential in what we are doing and want to share that with other people.
When do you think new music from this project will be available?
We are working hard behind the scenes developing new ideas and working on new sounds, we don't want to rush it, it's coming soon but like all good things, it comes to those who have the patience.