I was fortunate to interview Sylvester and Abramz on SNMS this past Saturday. I consider them Ugandan music legends (they are far too humble to call themselves such) and it was a real honour to talk to them. The two biggest things I took from the interview were: 1) they have really been through a lot in life (listen to my podcast on Wednesday for more) and 2) they have done a lot to help the younger generation of artists. Sylvester and Abramz consider this sort of work as a part of their music. They consider it part of their mission in life to use their music and their art to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.
Which brings me to the point of artists helping other artists. Most established artists in Uganda (and elsewhere in the world) do a lot for the people in their immediate crew (their friends, family members, etc) but do not go beyond that to help the next generation of aspiring musicians.
There are exceptions of course. I know some hip-hop artists run competitions to find new talent and then take the best rappers under their wings. I also know there is an informal DJ help group that has been started by DJ Aludah and DJ Pita (although I’m not sure how far it has gone).
But just imagine if every established artist took it upon themselves to hold a free workshop every few months to teach young kids how to make music. Or if they each took an active role in the musical development of a group of under-privileged kids. Or if they each decided to go to a school every month and teach young students about how to make a living in the music industry. Wouldn’t the industry benefit as a whole?
I know I should make like Michael and start with the man in the mirror, but for now, all I can do is give mad props to the people like Sylvester and Abramz (and others) who are doing this sort of thing. THAT, not the number of party songs you have, is what makes you a real legend.