Bloggers Lean In with Zambian Singer “Scarlet”

Sara Drawwater
11 April 2014
“Does one have to bare one’s feet to bear one’s soul?” That’s me trying to be soulful. Did you like that? No?… Okay. You might like Scarlet though, she bears her feet AND her soul.

“Does one have to bare one’s feet to bear one’s soul?” That’s me trying to be soulful. Did you like that? No?… Okay. You might like Scarlet though, she bears her feet AND her soul.

Scarlet is an artist that is sure of herself and her talent, which means she has a confidence that may come over as pride to the untrained eye. Her open letter to the industry sometime last year ruffled up some feathers. People pointed fingers and assumed she’s a proud peacock. She and Mukuka of C1ca1964 invited us bloggers to show that she’s actually a beautiful swan. For you see, ladies and gentlemen, Scarlet is rebranding.

We sat in the Bongo Hive space, semi circled around Scarlet in a little intimate lean-in. Images from her new website slid past the large screen in the room as more bloggers walked in. I recognised Tukiya and Sekayi from Mafashio. Mwanabibi Sikamo sat down just behind me, and Luchi from Radio Phoenix seemed to know everybody.Mukuka made a short presentation that touched on how she and Scarlet decided to join forces. She emphasised that she’s not Scarlet’s manager, but her publicist. Scarlet’s mum, who is her manager, was present. I’d assumed she was responsible for the heavenly aroma coming from the long table behind us, but it was actually Scarlet’s cooking. Singing is just one of many talents.

“I was a little like spilt water on the floor. So I wanted to put that in a bottle,” the songstress began about her rebranding. She was barefoot and this somehow shed light on her brighter disposition. One of the main reasons for her ‘redesign’ is to be more accessible. Her bare toes made a statement to that effect, and so did her new website. She and Mukuka promised more engaging content on the fan page; including a documentary leading up to her birthday.

The bloggers hunched into their phones and mobile devices. Tweets and retweets zinged past me as I ducked for cover in my paper notepad. Scarlet gave a number of tweet-worthy quotes. Her rebrand was already working.

“A lot has changed in the last three years. I’m a woman, a poet and I’m an artist.” And this is true too. She showed her stage craft to us in a small, heartfelt outdoor performance. James, her writer and fellow band member, strummed something slow as she introduced the rest of band — her extended family members.Her acapela of ‘Bag Lady’ would have made Miss Erykah Badu herself proud. “One day all them bags gon’ get in your way, so pack light,” she sang with help from Mwila. The singing took us all to a mahogany lounge somewhere. Scarlet tilted her head back at intervals and sang soulfully. ‘Nikaku ona’, one of her more popular songs, had the small crowd singing along.

The presentation was over soon after the crooning. Pictures were taken with Scarlet, her mum and Mukuka. Everyone seemed pleased to have been there. We were all impressed.

Mukuka’s latent publicist abilities were evident. This is the first time she has worked with an artist. “I want to work with people I love,” she told me. She said she would definitely like to work with more artists.

The artist of the day was responding to IMs and checking her Twitter feed at the time. I asked her what we had to look forward to from her and she mentioned her birthday on July 5th. There would be a big show.

“I’m not sure what the theme will be, but I think we’ll go with The Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra and them.” she said smiling.

Scarlet definitely had a new aura to her, she had even recently changed her style of tweets (follow her here). I’ve always believed it’s all in the presentation. She was still barefoot. I was definitely sold.

Catch more of Scarlet on her show on 99.7 Power FM on Mondays from 19:00–22:00 and on her website

Benny Blow is a two-time ZMA winner for Best Shower Vocalist. Read his baritone blog here; listen to him string cats on Twitter here; and watch him stage dive on Facebook here.