People of Bounce Presents: #SpotifyAmapianoTour Day 3
The #SpotifyAmapianoTour comes to an end with interactive sessions with DJ Maphorisa, Young Stunna and Phiona Okumu of Spotify.
●22nd March 2023
Day 3 of the #SpotifyAmapianoTour was packed with a lot of activities after all the fun we had on Day 2. Ideally, Liz Madowo and Miche Atagana (our organizers) would let us know what a day’s activities would be. Today, they didn’t — and I figured it was to maintain the surprise element of the experience they had lined up for us. They’ve been amazing till this point, and I, like everyone else, thank them immensely for their hospitality and effort to bring this tour from ideation to fruition.
The first stop was a Q&A session at ‘Mesh’ with Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa. In line with the tour’s Amapiano theme, the special guest artist for the day was Young Stunna, the crooner of the famous “Adiwele” that has shut down the clubs in Africa that have been in contact with Amapiano’s infectiousness. He let us into the story of his growth from a hip-hop artist to an Amapiano superstar. Together with Phiona, Stunna painted a clearer picture of the evolution of the genre, explaining his experience with Kabza De Small and his experience transitioning to Amapiano’s psychedelic nature. His first love is hip-hop, and infuses elements of the genre into Amapiano; full verses, a hook and sometimes even a bridge. Phiona reiterated Spotify’s dedication to the growth of the genre, and after a filling lunch, the #SpotifyAmapianoTour delegation was ready to move on to the next location.
We had no idea what was happening next. When I quizzed Liz about our next location at Mesh, she admitted she didn’t want to ruin the surprise; and what a surprise it was. It was a studio session with DJ Maphorisa — the father of Amapiano by unanimous decision. We arrived at the studio and its walls were littered with different types of plaques. DJ Maphorisa spoke to us from inside the studio cubicle, while the #SpotifyAmapianoTour delegation of 40 people took their seats on the other side of the glass in the open area. Together with Wurld, he created a whole song from scratch as the blue-haired singer crooned about finding love in Soweto. The excitement in the room was tangible as we understood more about the use of log drums, kicks and shakers in the creation of Amapiano records. Chad Jones and Lloyd, the Dance God pulled off some great moves for us as the music played, and it turned out to be a fun afternoon.
Dinner was scheduled for 6pm. I had to hit the mall with a couple of my friends from the delegation and I almost missed the trip with everyone else — I had to pick out something nice for the occasion. Luckily, Liz had enough patience with me and I joined up with the rest of the team and arrived at the Artistry restaurant and lounge.
Spotify’s dedication to the growth of the genre is wonderful to witness. Amapiano graduated from an underground sound to being on the cusp of global success, similar to the way Afrobeats broke into the global market. This trip gave me more perspective on South Africa, whose story is integral to the evolution of our beloved continent. Amapiano is golden child of this great nation and it is now positioning itself to participate in global music and pop culture conversations. They gave us access to important pioneers of the genre, and the #SpotifyAmapianoTour delegation gained more understanding about the spirituality of this exciting genre.
As for me, I’ve enjoyed my time here. Johannesburg was an escape from the heat of Lagos, and I know this is a place I want to come back to. I wonder what my next trip here will hold; maybe I should visit Cape Town instead? I’ll decide soon. I have an early flight tomorrow, and I’m packing my bags to return to base with Bounce.
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