Before digital distributors, streaming services and digital music stores became a thing in South Africa, the only way an artist can get a national release highly relied on their ability to secure a favorable recording deal with a reputable recording label. One would record a demo, send it to the labels and wait for feedback – sometimes that took forever, only when your debut album hit the stores would you get to experience the realities of the music industry. How certain things are done a certain way and how the marketing chain works and so on.
Today is different. Innovation has allowed artists like Candy Tsamandebele to realize their full potential.
We are entrepreneurs long before we even realise it. We are making money off our social media accounts; we are making money out of appearances…all this outside our recording contracts. However, only when you decide to release music independently, do you start to understand the importance of understanding the commercial side of music, and overall business management. To produce music costs money, that’s the first part, then to market the music and the preparation before that, it tests your commitment overall – Candy Tsamandebele.
Fresh from successful years with legendary independent record label Kalawa Jazmee Records, two albums and a few awards later, Candy Tsamandebele releases a new album titled Still Here independently. Ten tracks album Still Here will be available for pre-order on digital music platforms from the 30th of March 2020 and officially dropping on the 10th of April 2020. Notable features on the album include regular collaborator Bekezela with Skeem Saam actor Clement Maosa, Mafikizolo long time dancer Cedric Tsongaboy, love songs maestro Henny C and Mr Brown. Renowned producer Drum Pope produced most of the songs while Afrikan Roots and newcomers Tshegofatso Mothapo and Fumani Mahlale also added their magic.
With the social media growth in South Africa which makes it easier to market music directly to your fans, and with a decline in CD sales, and an increase in music streaming, going independent was a natural move for me given these factors – Candy Tsamandebele.
Candy Tsamandebele takes naming her albums very seriously. In 2009, Candy Tsamandebele in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment released her first album titled Siki Five Cents. Then followed by Easy Come Easy Go and Hupenyu Unenge Viri with Kalawa Jazmee Records.
I needed help with distributing/licensing my debut album before Sony Music Entertainment agreed to partner with me through Mosekedi Entertainment, negotiations with other labels fell through as what was offered was not good at all. I decided to title the album Siki Five Cents and in it, I had lyrics like; why are you giving me just five cents…what am I gonna do with that – sung in Khelobedu. I was just saying respect my worth. Throughout that process as well I experienced a lot of highs and lows, even more so before recording Tsa Mandebele with Oskido. I came to understand what they meant with the saying; easy come easy go. So, my next album was titled Easy Come Easy Go. With my last album Hupenyu Unenge Viri, I just wanted to let everyone know that life is indeed like a wheel, you need to respect it. Media interviews while promoting this album always focused on whether I was still making music, which was quite interesting. On search engines and social media, the same thing was happening. I am still here, not just everywhere but where it matters – Candy Tsamandebele.
You become who you hang out with or who you constantly surround yourself with. Candy Tsamandebele’s constant engagement with both legends and newcomers in music informed her decision to go independent.
Oscar, who is one of the few people who fully understand the state of the music industry in South Africa, is always giving advice formally and informally. He once said to me that as an artist you must fully understand what you are doing to avoid being frustrated, signed or not. and you must build and maintain relationships with useful people in and out of the music industry, as you are who you are because of people. He boosted my confidence; I will forever be grateful – Candy Tsamandebele.
Still Here will be available for pre-order from the 30th of March 2020, and to officially release on the 10th of April 2020 across all digital platforms including streaming services.