ZAMBIAN artistes should not focus on being famous, says singer-guitarist James Sakala. In an interview last week after being unveiled as one of several artistes lined up to perform at the upcoming Stanbic Music Festival, Sakala, the Nilandileni singer, said local musicians should always focus on perfecting their craft.
“They should focus on sharpening the skills they have and fame will come chasing them, and that’s what I did – that was the policy I worked with. Where people feel they can’t have me because I’m not yet ready, I won’t force myself. So don’t rush to be on top; work your way to the top. That’s how it works,” Sakala said.
He said he was humbled to have performed at each festival since it began in 2014, adding that the experience had helped develop his confidence as an artiste.
“This event has actually helped me a lot. I’ve grown a lot as an artiste because I remember on the first one, that’s when I met Oliver Mtukudzi, that’s when he saw me on stage and he invited me to go and record a song with him because he loved what I did, what he saw,” Sakala said.
“At the second festival, we shared the stage with him and Earl Klugh. The third one was last year with UB40. Also, just my presence on stage gives me an international feel all the time so it gives me more courage and also confidence. I can see myself growing and also improving in the way I present myself as an artiste.”
He promised to make full use of the opportunity this year as he had done in previous shows.
“The only secret there is whenever I’m given this opportunity, I maximise. For me it’s [about] giving people ‘Zambia’ and that’s what I always give to people. When I get on that stage, I give them ‘Zambia’ because I feel like we have got very beautiful music in Zambia and we need to sell it out there and we need to introduce it to more people that don’t know it,” said Sakala.
The 2017 Stanbic Music Festival set for the Lusaka Polo Club on September 22-23, will be headlined by US R&B group Boyz II Men.
Other local artistes scheduled to perform this year include Wezi, Mumba Yachi, Chef 187, Abel Chungu Musuka, K’millian and South Africa-based electric violinist Caitlin DeVille.
Organisers say up to 10,000 people are expected to attend the two shows.