Yes, this is one of those David Livingstone type of stories and this is how it happened!
Our university startup, Kountapoint, was running dry of content. We had no new or exciting music being submitted to us. Our platform had been setup to prioritise upcoming artists and the downside of that was we had to deal with a lot of unseriousness and sometimes just downright ridiculously low quality song submissions.
Now let’s pretend I was the visionary of the team. And being the visionary that we are pretending I was, I decided to contact Fred our CEO. Our conversations went something like, “Yo, we need to do something.” This was probably around 2AM, as were most of our chats at the time. We were students at The University of Zambia, so for context, 2AM is like 22:00hrs in a household. So we chatted over the phone till we eventually settled on running a flyer campaign asking people to submit their music. So you know how people market concerts? Putting up posters and flyers everywhere and all that? Yes that was the idea, but for a website.
So that same week I worked on the designs and (with probably Fred’s money) Luka and I printed the flyers and proceeded to stick them up around campus and give them to friends.
And this is where it gets interesting! Out of all the people who could have seen those flyers and actually taken the call to action, only one person responded. And it turned out to be THIS GUY! Yes the guy in the picture. Malachi. Fate?
We were so blown away by the song and poem he sent that we had a 2-day chat in the website WhatsApp group expressing how much potential we thought he had.
Now stay with me, we are still pretending I’m the visionary, right? So what did I do? I proceeded to reach out to him and asked him for his contact details.
I think I was still in charge of A&R at the time but this was out of my own personal passion than a job requirement. A side job, if you may.
I later learned that he was from Kitwe and had more stuff on the way. A Mixtape! From then on I became incharge of designing his song artwork and later on for his debut Mixtape titled ”Call Me Malachi.” I later signed him up for a design club membership that I expanded into an artist management service and he became the first ever artist under it. I was then his manager.
For some reason I always enjoyed working with people from the Copperbelt so Malachi was easy to work with. Soon our interactions became more personal and we became more of brothers. We plotted day and night on how we would take over the music scene by storm. We ran through a lot of concepts for both music and artistic direction.
Studio recording took a while because of finances (we were both students at the time), so he ventured into his poetry a bit more. I remember we even tried out his singing – apparently he can sing pretty well too. Talented guy.
Before long he took part in the Bittersweet Poetry Slam – and won! It was an exciting time. A testament of the future wins we would achieve. But it was short lived. Before I knew it, he was switching management to someone else. It was a bittersweet moment for me, but mostly bitter. I knew with the kind of talent he possessed he was going to make it wherever he went as long as he put his mind to it. It just wasn’t going to be the future we had planned.
We only ever went as far as a mixtape, a Poetry Slam championship, a feature alongside two other equally talented artists (Genesis and Andy Mez) and a photoshoot. The countless ideas we sat down to plot will unfortunately never be.
Now if I was the visionary that we were pretending I was, I would have probably seen it all coming. Because this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to me. But that’s another story altogether.
Abel Black is a Lusaka based influencer. He’s a firm believer of logic and strategy and is a thought leader in music branding and marketing. He can best be described as an introverted thinker – observant and analytical.