At the beginning of this year, I attended an event in Johannesburg titled ‘Women in Music’. It was a workshop on career management, publishing, and distribution. The panelists’ consisted of some of the most influential women in the music industry.
Someone from the audience asked the panel to share the recipe for success in the music industry for young upcoming artists like him. From all the responses given by the panel, what stood out the most for me was what one of the panelists said:
“You have to build connections in the music industry and work together with other artists. Put your resources together and remember to always be intentional in everything you do together”. In short, do not just collaborate with other artists, own your collaboration.
Never underestimate the power of collaboration. I have discovered some of my favourite artists today on the songs of other artists. It is also through collaborations that some artists became game changers in the music industry.
The recipe for owning your collabo starts with being passionate about who you collaborate with. Work with people that you believe in and who believe in you too. People who inspire you and who are inspired by you too. People you want to see succeed and who want to see you succeed too.
I can not think of a more perfect South African example than Nasty C and Boity. Both are successful figures in the local entertainment industry. They shook fans in 2017 when they performed one of Nasty C’s songs together at a concert.
Boity was always a fan of Nasty C’s work and would rap along to his music. And Nasty C who admired Boity’s music capabilities invited her to the studio where they would work together on music projects.
In 2018, Boity released her debut single titled “Wuz Dat” featuring Nasty C. This song won in the category for best collaboration at the 2018 South African Hip Hop Awards.
Performing together and attending each other’s gigs is also another recipe to owning your collabo. This is a way of showing support for each other. If you are already passionate about each other’s work this part should be the most exciting part.
Teamwork makes the dream work and the 2021 performance by Adekunle Gold and Davido is evidence of this. Their performances together of the hit single and collabo “High” is nothing short of incredible.
Both artists who are giants in the global music industry owned this collabo by showing support for each other and giving their fans an electrifying performance that will live in our memories forever.
Finally, be intentional and put in the work. If you are the one being featured by another artist, treat their song like your own song. Write your best verse, record your best hook, be in your best shape during performances.
Who can ever forget how Nicki Minaj marked her spot as one of the fiercest rappers and became loved and respected by many people after she was featured on Kanye West’s “Monster”. She owned her verse and thus owned her collabo, which catapulted her career to newer heights.
A more recent example is the single titled “Mood” by 24kGoldn featuring iann dior. This spectacular collabo by these two young artists became the highest charting record in the careers of both artists to date. It also earned them a nomination for top collaboration at the Billboard Music Awards in 2021
As much as you’re on another person’s song, you’re representing yourself too as an artist. If you give less than you give on your own songs, you are jeopardizing your own career, but if you go the extra mile, you are opening new doors in your career.
You can draw new audiences, be introduced to new sounds, grow your brand, and make new connections in the industry.
So go ahead, own your collabo.
Words by Ntombizodwa Lucia Zikhali