Zambian music — Scarlet, Night of 26 video series

Sara Drawwater
14 June 2013
Admit it, we all love a good celebrity story. If we were able to walk around in our favourite celebrity’s handbag or back pocket, we probably would! (Doubt that would be very comfortable though!)

Admit it, we all love a good celebrity story. If we were able to walk around in our favourite celebrity’s handbag or back pocket, we probably would! (Doubt that would be very comfortable though!)

Imagine what it would be like if we were allowed to have a peek into the life of a celebrity, follow them around as they go about their day to day lives, and watch as they organise their careers? Zambian music and singing sensation, Scarlet Mwana O Kondwela is giving us exactly that chance! The feisty afro jazz/soul fusion singer who has recently taken the Zambian music scene by storm with hits such as “My Kinda cute,” and “Munisungile Banja,” and who shared the stage with South African award winning singer Zahara, has launched a series of video blogs called Night of 26.

The Night of 26 video series is a count-down to Scarlet’s 26th birthday party, showcasing her part in the Zambian music scene. The videos highlight an exciting network of Zambian musicians, radio DJs, producers, bands, event organisers, and more. Watch the videos for this as much as for a peek into Scarlet’s life. The videos are also Scarlet’s way of sharing parts of her life that fans would not normally be a part of. After seeing the first episode of Night of 26, we knew we had to get an interview with Scarlet as soon as possible. Scarlet agreed, and Nambeye Katebe has lead the action, so the Best of Zambia can share all the highlights from “The Night of 26,” series with you, making sure you don’t miss a thing!

So, here are the currently available Night of 26 series, followed by our exclusive interview with Scarlet.

Scarlet: Night of 26 | The countdown | Episode 1

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Scarlet: Night of 26 | The countdown | Episode 2

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Scarlet: Night of 26 | The countdown | Episode 3

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Scarlet: Night of 26 | The countdown | Episode 4

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Nambeye: Tell us a bit about your background and how your singing career began.

Scarlet: I am the first born of seven girls. I am 25 years old and have lived in Lusaka most of my life. I have a degree in English with Literature and am a qualified teacher. I am also a law student (currently on break). I started my music career in 2010 at a company called So Good Entertainment which is owned by an Uncle of mine. I was the first female artist from there which is cool. When I first begun we were just having fun and testing out the equipment, and before we knew it, it brought us this far!

Nambeye: What made you decide to go into the Zambian music industry?

Scarlet: I liked it. The creative process that goes into making my music is beautiful and I find it cathartic. Also, I want to be a voice for people who think and feel like me.

Nambeye: You mentioned earlier that you are a qualified teacher, how does this fit in with your music career?

Scarlet: Music is now part of my full time career. I want to be an all round entertainer so right now I am a singer, songwriter, vocal arranger in training, performing artist and radio presenter. I want to get into lifestyle television, philanthropy, and also learn how to play percussion. I am also just starting up my own events and entertainment Promotion Company called Mahogany Deep Management.

Nambeye: People know you as Scarlet, Mahogany Deep, @scarletmwanaok, what is the story behind your many names?

Scarlet: The name Scarlet comes from the fact that I am a July baby, my birthstone is the ruby, rubies are red and Scarlet is a shade of red. Mwana O Kondwela means “Happy Child.” Happiness is a choice you make, a journey you undertake, a goal you must pursue. I chose this name because I want to share happiness and light wherever I go. Mahogany Deep is the name of my company. I use it when I’m hiding!

Nambeye: The idea of the Night of 26 — it’s great to give people an insight into your life and story. How did the idea come about?

Scarlet: I can’t remember the exact story behind it. But I remember texting my significant other and saying, what if I made a vlog, to be more visible? Is it a stupid idea? And he said, “Go, go, go, go for it!” And I did!

Nambeye: What does it take to produce these clips?

Scarlet: We shoot in the interesting moments when there is stuff going on. It takes co-ordination, two cameras and a lot of improvisation, along with a fun attitude.

Nambeye: How do you expect people to react to the series?

Scarlet: I hope they will relate to me, like me, and respect what I represent. I hope they believe in my craft and the person I am, as I do.

Nambeye: Do you have any fears about putting out so much information about your personal life?

Scarlet: I am being very real. It’s risky, but people deserve to see the real me if they see me at all.

Nambeye: In episode two you mentioned your strong links with radio DJs. What has it taken to build these kind of relationships and get this level of support?

Scarlet: I was myself. I respected them and got to know them. The media is a beast, but if you are humble, people can be very loyal and kind.

Nambeye: What do you make of the state of the music and radio industry in Zambia?

Scarlet: I think we have massive talent here. There is still room for growth but people are definitely tapping into their strengths, and committing to make that growth happen. So I am blessed to be part of this world right now. I LOVE radio by the way! It’s fast catching up to my love for the stage.

Nambeye: To finish on a high note, you recently performed alongside South Africa’s singing sensation Zahara at a concert dubbed Africa Night. How did it feel to perform alongside Zahara?

Scarlet: Performing at Africa Night was one of my biggest moments! Huge! I am still so humbled and inspired by her, and the people that came out to the event. It was a beautiful night!

Concluding wordsThere will be more from us, and from Scarlet, as we build up to Scarlet’s 26th birthday. We’d like to end this post with a line from Scarlet, in her first Night of 26 episode.

“The Night of 26 will give you an intimate look into my daily life, my family, my friends, my band, things that go into being me, being an artist. A lot of things are going to happen, I don’t know exactly what. A lot of surprises and things that people are not expecting. Some personal moments, some work moments and some fun moments!”

Remember to follow Scarlet on Twitter and like her on Facebook.