By Ahmad Muto
According to veteran media personality, Michael Owor, alias DJ Bushbaby, Swangz Avenue singer Azawi’s maiden album ‘African Music’ is the one thing that united Ugandans since the 2021 general elections that he says sowed divisions.
Bushbaby said he first heard about Azawi in 2018 (the year she joined (Swangz Avenue) when she was supposed to appear on a television show, but did not because of issues with her stage name. Over a week ago, The Kampala Sun reported that Azawi had initially picked Zawi as her stage name, but singer Sarah Zawedde told her she had already copyrighted the name, forcing her to change it to Azawi. DJ Bushbaby added that in the album, her sound can only be compared to Maurice Kirya and Kenyan boy band Sauti Sol.
“I 1st heard about @AzawiOfficial in 2018 while @nextmediaug as head of creative. She was to appear on @NBSAfter5, the interview did not happen because there was a last minute change of her stage name( from a credible source). After @Swangz_Avenue sorting out the stage name issue, I was flipping through local TV and I landed on her critically acclaimed commercial effort Repeat it! I was impressed. Later local tabloids reported how she had to enhance her looks to suit her sound. @Swangz_Avenue released a presser to that effect, the rest is history,” he tweeted.
He added: “Disclaimer: This thread is to give credit to @Swangz_Avenue for the way they handled her recent album release. I am told she spent some good time in studio sessions working on this body of work. The attention to detail, from production, to the reveal, is only comparable to @mauricekirya and @sautisol. I liked the way @Swangz_Avenue combined traditional distribution methods and today’s trends.”
According to him, the timing of the album release was perfect, giving her all the mileage that came with independence day celebrations and getting digital influencers to create awareness was a huge plus.
“The timing was perfect. 9th October, independence day. This enhanced @AzawiOfficial’s profile and image as a true patriot and it was a National celebration of art and music. Enlisting digital influencers to amplify and hype the record release was an epic boost. Coupled with traditional media appearances, this gave the release an organic feel and touch,” he argued.
Bushbaby added that the album defused the tension and frustration the past elections and the Covid-19 pandemic brought, but suggested that she should have gone to the Dubai World Expo.
“Nothing had united Ugandans since the chaotic 2021 election period and the pandemic like @AzawiOfficial’s album release. @AzawiOffi should have headlined the entourage that went to the #DubaiExpo2020. She is a super export!” he said.
DJ Bushbaby then noted that art and music is now a full blown business, an economy of its own. Swangz Avenue understood this earlier on.
“Gone are the days when folks indulged in art and music because of passion. Today this is a multi-billion economy. @Swangz_Avenue understands that life begins & ends with numbers. Hence the massive commercial endorsements like @Guinness_Uganda @GovUganda @MinofHealthUG. Creatives have to get paid. My long term creative partner @JoshTheFixer has a school of thought that goes ‘it sucks dying a broke genius’. @Swangz_Avenue understands the power of brands and CSR. Audiences listen to powerful voices and individuals. By the end of the record release @AzawiOfficial was trending #1 across major online distribution platforms,” he tweeted.
“LESSONS: 1)Each one of us has a special gift. Discover that gift and impact the world 2)Take time to nurture that 3)Seek great mentors 4) Share/empower others 5)Stay authentic 6)Use your gift to diversify into other bankable ventures Thank you @benonswangz @juliuskyazze,” he concluded.