Zambian music star Chanda Mbao talks about his world travels, home pride and the video locations for his new single “My Town”

1. What is life in Zambia like for a musician and artist ?

A typical musician here spends most of their time and energy on getting radio exposure and doing live performances. The internet hasn’t yet become the most important medium for music and shows remain the principal avenue for monetization. While, typically, the focus of an upcoming artist in the US or Europe is trying standing out in a very large crowd (normally by using the internet) to reach the ‘gate keepers’ (normally record label A&Rs) of the industry, the much smaller industry here means a music career is much more entrepreneurial and you have to do more work building your own platforms from the ground up.

2. You have travelled the world and declared yourself a rolling stone. Tell us all about your adventures and has this helped spread your music ?

I’ve lived in Jamaica, the US, Spain and Zambia with plenty other travels in between. While Jamaica played an important part in introducing me to performance through carnival, I would say the most important travels in my musical journey were Spain and the US. In Spain, I recorded in my first professional studio, had my first live shows and sold my first mixtapes. In the US, I recorded my first music videos and got significant internet exposure through Hip-Hop blogs. Both these travels and my subsequent return to my home country have correlated with achieving major milestones in my music career, with this final move allowing me to access traditional media portals (i.e., radio and TV) and achieve heavy rotation.

3. Can you recommend any artists from Zambia or Africa that you would like to collaborate or work with ?

Locally, there’s a great Hip-Hop artist called Chef 187 who I would like to work with. Africa-wide, it would be great to work with artists like Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Lil’ Kesh and AKA.

4. What is your new single “My Town” all about ?

It’s a love story between myself, a proud Zambian man from Lusaka, and a lady from out of town. Even though it’s a love story, the main theme of the song is actually the ‘home pride’ and the message that home comes first. If she can’t accept and appreciate my town (that is, my roots), then we can’t be together.

5. What is your favourite lyric from the single ?

“Girl look, it’s a special kind of sunset
And you thought you hadn’t met the one yet
But when I saw you, in that sundress
We went 0 to a 100”

It’s my favourite because I like the cadence and rhyme scheme but also because I allude to the sunset here which is indeed a special sunset. I think there has to be something about where we are on the globe that makes it that way. It’s unique.

6. Where can we find you online ?

7. Where was the amazing video filmed and did you have fun on the day ?

In Lusaka, Zambia, of course! Specifically, we shot at a small natural reserve/theme park, a local cultural crafts market, a warehouse location and our flagship football stadium. It was fun when it was done because video shoots are always stressful when, apart from being the artist, you are the producer and assisting in directing too. I often write my own video scripts/treatments as well as fund and produce my videos–thankfully, my work has gotten me nominated for a TV award here for my previous video ‘Selfish’ which was also featured on the authoritative Top Videos of 2016 lists as well. Hopefully, ‘My Town’ gets some recognition too!

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