Digital playlisting is an increasingly important way for music artists to develop their profile and following outside of their home territory. As part of a global initiative to promote emerging artists - Deezer Next - its South African territory is promoting four artists. Russell Southwood spoke to Raheem Kemet one of the artists being promoted and Gillian Ezra, Head of African Operations, Deezer.
Deezer Next is an initiative by the global streaming company to allow users to discover a hand-picked selection of new and emerging artists. At a global level, it includes are Rag'N'Bone Man, Anne-Marie and Maggie Rogers. For South Africa, four artists were chosen, two hip-hop, one pop and one rock:
Dominic Neill is a South African, Johannesburg-based pop musician who is about to break into the music scene with his bold, new, and exciting tunes. He will soon be releasing his debut album that saw him travel to Berlin to work with Flume's world-renown producer, amongst others.
Raheem Kemet is a hot young voice in the Urban Hip Hop and Live performance scene. Hailing from Durban, he represents his city well with his collage of sound and words. Raheem describes his career as "a journey through sound" and his vibe jumps right at you when you hear his distinct expressions in his music as well as through his live performance.
Heavily focused on feel and progression, Capetonian rock group Southern Wild give absolutely everything each time they hit the stage. Every song within their set provides something unique, with each piece of music standing alone. This same energy has been translated onto their debut album and promises a journey consisting of many layers and paths to its listener, much like a wafer biscuit car on an eight-lane highway.
Robin Thirdfloor (aka Simphiwe Nyawose) was born in Durban and started rapping as an artistic release of emotions pent up from his personal experiences of being bullied. His previous releases show emotional depth and with lyrics that communicate positivity and the importance of loving yourself and enjoying life to the fullest- his message is perfect for today.
The four artists were chosen by Gillian Ezra and Deezer's Africa Music Editor Tecla Ciolfi who reached out to label partners for submissions. They wanted to choose artists from genres that represented what was currently big in the market and artists who would have time to put into the project.
Raheem Kemet told me:"I'm just finishing my EP and am heading back from Durban to Joburg to go into the studios with two producers. It's been quite a while."
So why did he take a year's sabbatical?:"I became a Dad and I had to focus on my child for that time and have no distractions. I wanted to help his Mum and make sure my boy grew up really well."
He says that he is still working on two more tracks but that the EP should be out before the end of the month but he needs to fix a release date with his label Sony Music.
So how's Deezer Next working for Raheem Kemet?:"It's working really well to help me reach the masses so far. It's making it easier for people to get to know me."
The initiative works on a playlisting strategy whereby chosen artists from Deezer Next get prominent positioning in global playlisting:"The idea is for territories to support each other across territories (by promoting local choices)." Other countries that have made local choices include:UK (9 local artists); France (9 local artists); Germany (9 local artists); USA (5 local artists); Colombia (7 local artists); Brazil (4 local artists); and Mexico (4 local artists).
Deezer Next is being supported with TV advertising (including Rag'N'Bone Man) and social media. There will also be a live event to showcase the four artists. No date has yet been set but it's likely to be in July/August:"You can then get a live experience of these artists."