Once upon a time, musicians Joseph Nkasa and Thomas Chibade reaped more than others in album sales. But, sadly, the two seem to have lost steam along the way and instead other musicians have now taken over.
The year 2011, just like the other years before, witnessed many musicians churning out hot albums onto the market. The Sunday Times sourced information from some of the top music distributors, Citinati Records and Defao Music Centre, on who were the top selling musicians in 2011.
Defao Buti of Defao Music Centre and Ken Manana of Citinati Records said the sales were measured on audio tapes, DVDs and CDs. The two said some of the musicians made more sales on both DVDs and tapes while others ruled in CDs.
Here is how they stand:
Blantyre-based musician Katelele sprang from nowhere to conquer the market with his album Ndilinawo Mwayi. During the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) Annual General Meeting held in Blantyre in November, he pocketed K600,000 from mechanical rights royalties. The hot selling album is his third, having first released Chaka Cha Mtendere and Nkhondo Ya Mumdima, which he confesses did not do well on the market.
Music distributors say Katelele sold thousands of copies in tapes and DVDs. This is what the musician said on his plans: "It's been a wonderful year and I thank God for that but despite the huge sales, theft and piracy were rampant. Anyway, I am motivated; I have my plans but for now let God take control. I know some people have been saying my music only appeals to locals in the rural areas but that's just a start and I am looking at the bigger picture."
The Lilongwe-based Skeffa is not a new name on the music block. He has now been longer at this game and made huge sales with his album Nabola Moyo, which put him in the limelight.
But fans completely wrote him off when he released his next album Tisawanyoze, which performed miserably on the market. He picked himself up to bring forth Ndife Amodzi which has once again made him huge sales.
Skeffa has made huge sales in tapes, CDs and DVD. The distributors could not, however, say how much money they had made from Skeffa's works. The musician is on record to have told the media that the album sold over 20,000 copies just in four weeks after its release. Ndife Amodzi is the album which has the hit 'Ulendo,' the song which continues to enjoy massive airplay.
This is what he said on his future plans: "I am not working on any album this year. I want to give myself time but that does not mean that I will stay idle, there are songs I have already started working on for my next album in 2013. My target is to work on penetrating the international market and these songs will be recorded outside the country. In 2012, I also intend to work on a DVD for Tisawanyoze, after polish up some songs."
Ndirande Anglican Voices
Music distributors say the group's album, Ndasamba Mmanja, did in CD sales. The group's previous albums are Ndasayina, Tiyeni Tonse and Mulungu Amatikondera, which also performed fine on the market.
Lead vocalist, Dennis Kalimbe, say they are set to release a new album this year: "We have our own way of doing things and this year we will be back with an album titled Zimandikwanira, which will come out in March. Last year we had a chance through MultiChoice, featuring on the One Gospel Channel. We want to continue engaging MultiChoice so that through One Gospel we should penetrate the international market."
She was voted the best gospel musician during the first ever Malawi Music Awards hosted by Diversity Leader last year. Music distributors say her album, Uzaimba Nyimbo, sold many tapes and CDs, effectively placing her on top among gospel musicians. The gospel diva's launch of the same album in Blantyre attracted thousands of fans.
Although some critics have said she copies the style of South Africa's Rebecca Malope, Grace challenges she has her own way of doing music much as she gets inspiration from the South African.
The musician could not be reached for comment on her plans this year but she told The Daily Times last year that she owed all her achievements to God and she bemoaned piracy which she said had put her off. She revealed that the songs from her album were all over before she had even released it on the market.
He is a chief in his home area but he does not ignore his music talent. He made it big in the year 2011, selling many audio tapes of his 2009 album 'Aduniya', which is chiefly bought by people from the rural area.
The 27-year-old artist who hails from Mulanje says he is overwhelmed with the support he received in the just ended year, adding that his songs were compositions from experiences of day to day life.
On his plans for 2012 this is what he said: "From the sales made and how people have welcomed my music, I think I have the potential to make it big. I have had the exposure through shows but this year I want to do more live gigs alongside top musicians. It's an industry that has competition but I have my own style and all I want to do is maintain my traditional style as a chief."
The musician could be spotted all over Blantyre City last year entertaining people for free and at the same time selling his music at bottom low prices. But distributors say the 'Khoswe wa Chipongwe,' star was one of the hottest selling musicians in 2011 with his album Ndikanadziwa Sindikanapanga.
Although critics condemn the musician, saying his lyrics are very explicit, Gwaladi has maintained his own style which others have found it hard to copy.
The musician failed to perform during the Local is Good gig hosted by Chez Ntemba International in Blantyre, which brought together the likes of Nkasa, Chibade, Lawrence Mbenjere and Moses Makawa.
He could not be reached to share his plans for 2012 but during an interview last year he said he had already composed many new songs hence people should expect an album in addition to the free shows. In 2011 he registered high sales in audio tapes.
The Lilongwe-based musician continues to stun fans with his varied skills - in one show he plays drums; in another the keyboard and then the guitar which is his best.
Music distributors say he sold lots of copies in 2011 with his album Sindilola, which features the smash hit 'Mwachenjera Darling'. Just a month after the album was on the market, Lulu disclosed that it sold a record 30,000 copies.
The year 2011 also saw him performing in South Africa alongside Lucius Banda. He also released a single 'Sindili Choncho,' with Wendy Harawa. The musician did well in both CDs and tapes sales.
On his plans for 2012, Lulu said: "It's going to be a perfect year I guess and I thank God for the talent. I look forward to recording some songs in SA because I want to hit the international market. Will K. Banda is supporting me. Fans should be assured that my band is still intact - working with Lucius is just another project. My band mainly performs at corporate functions and with Lucius [as good friends] we decided to continue working together."