Elaka — the Zambian singer, songwriter

Sara Drawwater
26 August 2012
Singer, song writer, Elaka[/caption]

Singer, song writer, Elaka[/caption]

As we work toward raising Zambia’s profile online we love it when we stumble across Zambians striving for more. Elaka approached us about her new singles and whether you personally like Elaka’s sound or not, we take our hat off to her hard work and commitment.

The singlesI can’t let you go — promo single released July 2012My Africa — released 25th June 2012Baby Girl — a free treat currently available for fans

There’s samples and download information about these singles on Elaka’s website and Elaka will perform at Africa Unplugged on 27th August 2012.

Tell us about you and your link to ZambiaI am Zambian. I was born in Zambia and I grew up in the UK. I have performed for many years and run Effycom Productions Ltd in the UK.

How did My Africa come about?My Africa is produced by Dr Gary Hutchins and features Sampson Marley. It came about because of my distance from myself and my family in Zambia. Often there is miscommunication and misconstruction about how we live our life here in the UK in comparison to life back home. I wrote the song as a message to my family reassuring them that no matter what, I am very much still there for them, and that I still remember vividly how hard life can be there. It is a message that everyone who has had to be away from family to better their life can relate to. I know that life elsewhere is not a picnic. It may look good because of the economic status of that particular country (like the UK), but the work is just as hard, if not harder.

How did your relationships with people like Dr Hutchins come about?I was introduced to Dr Gary Hutchins in 2010 by a good friend. I was initially apprehensive about meeting Gary because of his CV. He has worked with amazing people like Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra and Shirley Bassey. He is a music industry veteran with many an award.

So here comes me still trying to put my music career together, why would he want to work with me? Well, we met, he listened to my demos, loved my style of music and lyrics, and as they say, the rest is history. Our work aims to showcase Africa meets Europe — something I can relate to as I have the best of both worlds.

My collaboration with Samson Marley came through Gary. We were looking for someone non-African to be on the track. The ideas was to offer that concept of being away from home, but from another perspective. Samson is a very talented rapper and singer who is working with Gary.

Another recent collaboration is with One Day. One Day is a South London rapper, who has grown up in the chaos of the estates of South London. His music references a lot about what he experienced growing up which is quite the opposite of what I experienced. Fusing the two together created an interesting outcome, the opposite of what may be expected. The English lad is not eloquent and the African girl is not loud and in your face.

You’ve worked with lots of top names. How did you end up performing on the same stage with these people?I just get involved in the industry. I’m keen and want to learn so I’m always signing up for seminars and contacting organisers of events. I put myself forward as an artist, am part of vocal collectives that perform regularly and I spend a lot of time networking with people within the industry. And so I found myself performing on the same stage with artists like Sway, Devlin, Fumin, Chipmunk, Bashy, Omar, Shola Ama, Tinchy Stryder, Tony Hadley (Spandle Ballet), Brenda Edwards (of Xfactor and Chicago fame) and Duncan James from Blue.

How is the album going?The album is coming along really well. I am loving the diversity myself and Gary are adding to it, and I am looking forward to the different collaborations which are on a need to know basis for the time being! We are likely to release it end of 2012 or beginning of 2013.

How is the video for My Africa going?The video is going great. We are doing a four day shoot due to the level of creativity that is being implemented. Behind the scenes pictures can be seen here.

Elaka — Baby Girl single artwork[/caption]

Tell us about the latest single, Baby GirlIt is my second promo single. Baby Girl is an up tempo funky afro beat track that showcases diverse vocal style. Also poduced by Gary Hutchins, ‘Baby Girl’ is a song about unrequited love.

What are your thoughts on the Zambian music industry?It has impressed me. There is some really great talent out there and I am happy to have played a part in pushing it further through the promotion of artists when they have visited the UK (via Effycom Production). It’s been great to be involved with Zone Fam (interviewed here by thebestofzambia.com), Roberto and Radio Phoenix’s DJ Len. This work has not gone unnoticed — Elaka recently won the UK Zambians Excellence Award for Promoter of the Year 2012.

Obviously there is a lot to learn still, especially about the industry as a business so that their careers are not perceived as a hobby. Achieving this will help provide longevity for artists and inspiration for those that follow.

What are your hopes and dreams for Zambia and Africa?My hopes for Africa are that the West shall look to Africa for ideas, raw material and talent. I believe we have it all and once we start presenting Africa as a brand, we can export a lot of our raw talent to the world at large.

So folks, if you want more, Elaka’s website has samples and download information and Elaka is on Facebook here.

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