L-R: Rose Odengo- Moving Cultures Stopovers, Suzzana Owiyo- Singer and founder of Soko Bila Waste, Muscat Moreno- Kenyan Creative, Erick Otieno-Fatuma's Voice and Curtis Reed- Mad Love Lounge (Panelists at the Arivism session)

L-R: Rose Odengo- Moving Cultures, Cutural Stopovers, Suzzana Owiyo- Singer, founder of Soko Bila Waste, Muscat Moreno- Kenyan Creative, Erick Otieno-Fatuma’s Voice and Curtis Reed- Mad Love Lounge (Panelists at the Arivism session) Photo: Wanny Angerer in Moving Cultures Facebook.

The just concluded ONGEA summit was really informative for people who want to make it in the music industry. Two points that cut across the panel discussions were the importance of networks and visibility.

How many followers do you have on social media? Social Media is an important tool in every career. It is even more important in music. A musician has to have a you tube account that is active. Active meaning you have to have views and comments on your videos.

Martin Mulwa, CEO of Event Managers Association of Kenya said during a panel discussion at the summit, “Event manages are looking for people who have traction”.

Having a manager as an artist is very vital. This is because they will ensure among other things, your online visibility. A manager is the CEO of an artist’s career and coordinates every aspect of it. A booker on the other hand is someone who gets artists into music festivals and gigs.

If you are not known, no one will book you for gigs. Upcoming artists need to be innovative and create platforms to perform in their hoods. Networks are very important for every artist, a point that was reiterated by Rose Odengo of Moving Cultures and Cultural Stopovers. “Artists should stop thinking in isolation and collaborate”, she said.

Reiterating the point, Suzanna Owiyo, a Kenyan musician said that artists should stop being shy and reach out to their fellow artists for mentorship and collaboration.

Buddha Blaze (Moses Mbasu), a booker at the Oslo African Music Week said that among the things needed to ease festival booking, an artist needs three high resolution photos, a YouTube link and an artist bio. “An artist also needs to have a technical rider”, he added. A technical rider is a set of requests or demands that a performer will set as criteria for performance.  These are the instruments required, and the stage recommendations.

Research also cut across the sessions. Artists need to be informed on the opportunities available and their audience. “Opportunities will not look for you in the house”, said Oko Drammeh, one of the leading African music promoters worldwide. “Music is as serious as medicine and it needs investment of time and resources”, he added.

“There are many online resources that musicians can read and stay informed on the current trends and opportunities”, Martin Mulwa advised upcoming artists.