Vokal speaks out on music management

GODFREY “Vokal” Bakasa has been managing local artistes for a long time and recently joined Afro-fusion artiste Gary “Tight” Muponda’s band. NewsDay Life & Style reporter, Winstone Antonio (ND), recently caught up with Vokal (GB) to discuss music and band management.

By Winstone Antonio

Vokal’s popularity with many on the showbiz scene rose when he became dancehall singer, Seh Calaz’s manager.

After a stint with Seh Calaz, he crossed over to hip-hop, taking over Desmond “Stunner” Chideme’s brand at Tazoita Cash Records. He then parted ways with Stunner before joining Gary Tight. Below are the excerpts from the interview.

ND: Who is Godfrey Bakasa and how did you become a manager of musicians?

GB: Godfrey Bakasa is 26-year-old. He was born and bred in Mbare. My genesis into music was around 2011 as part of the pioneering Chillspot Records family. I began my artiste management career as Bounty Lisa’s manager, before managing Seh Calaz and Stunner respectively.

ND: When you decided to quit as Stunner’s manager, you said you wanted to start your online talk show. Have you abandoned the plan by joining Gary Tight?

GB: Joining Gary Tight doesn’t mean that my vision of an online talk show is dead, but you need to appreciate that with an undertaking of such a nature sufficient preparatory work is of a paramount importance. So the dream is on, but we have to lay the foundations.

ND: There have been claims that there are only a few artistes’ managers in Zimbabwe with the majority labelled as booking agents. What do you say to that?

GB: (Laughing) I am aware of this descriptor and while it sounds harsh it is by and large true. The fortunate thing is I don’t fall into the booking agent category. I am a planner first and foremost. You can’t manage an artiste without a plan and wait for your phone to ring to book shows. There is a lot that is involved day to day.

ND: From your contract as a manager, do you really have the scope to influence your artistes on decision-making or you powers are limited?

GB: The relationship between manager and artiste is akin to that of husband and wife. While you independently think, you unite in achieving a set goal or objective.

I am a self-starter in life in general and being a manager fuels my passion even more. I am a strong networker because I live by the principle that you only grow to the level of relationships you build.

It goes without saying that all successful artistes have managers, hence, it is necessary because we play a crucial role.

ND: How are you going to brand your artistes to be marketable and advance their careers?

GB: In terms of branding and marketing the artiste, we want him to be appealing to both the local and international markets. In that regard, we will be engaging local corporates and international promoters and artistes to collaborate and build the artists profile.

Expect to see an artist, who will be featuring in international events and festivals and headlining local corporate and none corporate engagements.

ND: Joining the Tight Family, what do you want to accomplish with this young talented artiste?

GB: I am a person who is driven by a desire to succeed in different areas. We grow beyond our comfort zones. With the experience gained from managing a big dancehall artiste and big hip-hop artiste, I am certain I will draw from those experiences to push this brand to greater heights.

I am a person who prefers to play his cards close to his chest. So in view of that, but also to be fair to your question, I can just say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The moves will we be making and the results will speak for themselves.

ND: So are you still part of the Chillspot family?

GB: Chillspot is still part of my roots. I always go there on my free time to sample songs and hang out with a long-time friend, DJ Fantan.

ND: As a manger, what do you do on a daily basis?

GB: I only go to the studio when we have sessions. By the way, I am a family man, so I try and spend my free time with Jordan and Christian.
I play soccer part-time with my childhood friends, one of whom is William Manondo, who plays for Harare City, and the other is Manuel Meleka, who plays for Gunners Football Club.

When they want to work out, they always call me so that we have a run.

ND: How was the experience working with Bounty Lisa amid reports that her husband Soul Jah Love interferes in her projects?

GB: I managed Bounty Lisa before she was Soul Jah Love’s wife, so I wouldn’t know how they operate now.

ND: Your parting words?

GB: Never let where you come from be an excuse for working hard. God bless us all.

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