Scarlet, Zambian singer and songwriter — my music and me

Sara Drawwater
28 February 2013
Album artwork by Mfumu Design[/caption]

Album artwork by Mfumu Design[/caption]

I am Scarlet, a Zambian singer and songwriter. I am not the first, nor will I be the last to live or to speak of life. I want to say the most beautiful things about it. So I write songs, some of which you can listen to below.

On writing musicMy genre is Afro Jazz, Reggae and Soul Fusion. The process of writing a song may be short but it comes from a long way. I write about the way things feel, about the way they look and how they sound. I put my all into every lyric and every note. Sometimes the process is cathartic, other times the songs are tributes, odes to love I have found, or lost, or love that troubles me. Other times the song carries a message I want to send, something I want to tell somebody.

The biggest part of creating music is the idea behind it, the concept being birthed. So I listen to a melody, or a thought climbs into my head and takes a seat. That’s where my process begins.

I love guitars. Most of my songs start from just me, my producer, and his guitar. We sing and hum and change melodies. Songs are born and grow into beautiful stories that we love. I write best when I’m relaxed and when I’m hurt. When I’m happy, I’m lazy and obvious…

On my first album — Unforgettably YoursUnforgettably Yours is my debut album. For this album I was struck by so many things. It will surprise some, but most of the songs that made the cut, were created two years ago. I did one song that isn’t on the album, featuring Cactus Agony. We were jamming in the booth at 11pm and we wrote this little reggae, soul fusion track called “No One But You.” It was so silly because I had flu and the notes were so hard to hit. But the energy in the room was so infectious we finished it in an hour! I love that song. It’s so sweet, short and fun. That‘s just one incident in isolation. I have written over forty songs. Some of them I wrote in class, when lectures was boring or annoying! Others I wrote at the end of an exam when the invigilator was collecting the papers. Then there are the songs that take weeks to finish because the subject is so complex.

On writing linesI write in lines:“I like the way you wrinkle up your nose when the sun wakes you up in the morningAnd I like the feeling that I get when you put your hands round my waistIf you ever change the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you handle your feelingsIt wouldn’t be the sameCoz I love you just that way…”

I rhymed the first and third lines and filled in the gaps with the same sound at the end of the second, fourth, and fifth lines. You can listen to that song here. In other songs I rhyme on every line, in the verse, or none at all. It just depends on what I’m hearing.

On inspirationI am inspired by feelings. I’m a feeling person. Others are calculating, or thinking people. I work best with my feelings. They get me into trouble too sometimes. But if I can feel a sound, or a word, or a concept, then I can write it honestly. If I can feel a story, or a thought, or an action, then I can describe it from deep down, and create something you can see when you hear it.

Closing wordsMusic saves me from myself. When I’m down, it soothes me. When I’m up, it helps me celebrate. I will carry it with me everywhere I go. I’m just trying to get you to share it with me. Munisungile Banja is the second single of the album. You can also listen to My Kinda Cute on YouTube and Ni Pempa on ReverbNation. My music is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Enjoy!