If you take a stroll through Instagram and stop by Akothee's yard, you will notice something interesting. Her bio reads 'East Africa's Number One Female Artiste.'
This is hardly surprising. We have always known her to be a person who holds herself in high regard. It is actually advisable to believe in yourself like that in order to be taken seriously.
The great thinker and proponent for positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, once said: "Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a reasonable but humble confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy."
Perhaps I should also put 'East Africa's Number One Writer' in my bio. My bad! I can already see Bikozulu and many others putting their pens down, turning their heads and asking me: "Are you high?"
But is Akothee's self-accorded title fitting? Is she East Africa's best? Not really. Maybe not even close.
At the moment, Nandy from Tanzania has a solid claim to the throne. She is the true definition of a songbird. Her songs make you want to give your lover your ATM pin and not even ask them how much money they took. Her vocals convert non-believers of the religion of love into true believers. Vanessa Mdee will have something to say too. She has clearly put in more work than any other female singer in the region. She has shared studio booths with big names from across the continent and her songs tend to rack up millions of views.
A more fitting title for Akothee would be 'East Africa's Number One Female Entertainer.' Boy does she entertain. One moment she is giving advice about relationships, the next moment she is dancing with her daughters by the poolside. And before that even sinks in, she is plucking sukuma wiki in her farm. There is no other female artiste that is more interesting to follow than Akothee. She is the true definition of a superstar with an unrivalled heterogeneity of entertainment packages. If one thing she does doesn't impress you, another one will leave you awed.
I totally love her charisma and enthusiasm. I love her success story, or rather her taxi-to-Mercedes story. But inasmuch as she is doing well, I think there is room for her to be better. She can be bigger than she ever thought she would be if only she improved in one area - her music.
Yes, the missing jigsaw in Akothee's puzzle is good songs. By abiding by honesty, we can easily state that Akothee has a talent deficiency when it comes to music. Her singing prowess is nowhere near that of the likes of Nandy or Sanaipei Tande. She has gotten to the top not because she is gifted but because she simply works hard, which is still a good thing. As they say 'Hard work beats talents when talent fails to work hard'.
Kevin Hart, for example, was never a talented comedian when he started out. His jokes were way inferior when compared to someone like Katt Williams. Did he give up? No. He put in a lot of work into making himself known. Then when his name was out there, he put work into improving his jokes. Nowadays, you can at least watch his stand-up comedy specials and laugh. Before that, he used to laugh at his own jokes while the audience stared at him with eyes that seemed to say "You are wasting our time."
LADDER TO THE TOP
Akothee has constantly proven that you don't need to have good music on the airwaves to be a popular artiste. But since her name is already out there, she should take some time to sharpen her skills. Imagine if she was actually releasing good music all the time? She could be a true African superstar.
Since she always has a hard time creating spectacular hits on her own, the best practice for her would be to do go back to what made her famous in the first place - working with extremely talented artistes. There are only two songs by Akothee that have ever received heavy radio airplay and extensive club rotation. Those songs were 'Sweet Love" featuring Diamond and "Give It To Me" featuring Flavour. The former song is actually what put her on the map.
I am surprised that she hasn't really kept on using this formula. Why not collaborate with Harmonize, Rayvanny, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage or Otile Brown? She clearly has the money to afford to work with these artistes. What's left is the interest. I can't imagine how big Akothee would be if she kept on investing in working with these famous artistes in Africa.
Akothee Safaris might be making some good money for her but I am pretty sure music would give even crazier returns.
I repeat, Akothee has something many artistes lack - money. If only she could take advantage of this and invest in good videos, good producers and good collaborations, she could buy her way to the top of the game.
Try it Akothee... try it.