There is upsurge in Malawian musicians who double as producers. The reason behind this development is quite obvious: one talent influences the other.
Hoarse-voiced musician Steve T from Blantyre is such a multi-talented artist who co-owns Mingoli Studio.
Born Steve Thembachako, the musician says becoming a music producer was his dream when he was growing up.
"To see producers doing their job encouraged me to be like them one day. I mean, I grew up with a burning desire to become magic hands behind such successful music," says Steve T.
Steve T says he embarked on serious music career as a duo with his friend Dannie Mbengo around 2003. But prior to their fruitful meeting, Steve used to play home-made drums to practice music in his populous neighborhood of Ndirande in Blantyre.
Listening to Steve T's horse voice, one is likely to mistake him for Honjo star San B. But Steve T defends his choice of voice, saying he trained himself to be what he is.
"I grew up admiring the hoarse voice. And when I heard San B doing it on the local scene it gave me courage, hence I adopted the style too," says Steve T.
Together with Mbengo, Steve T released his debut album Uziona Wekha which features the hit 'Kafere Kwanu' in 2005.
He describes Uziona Wekha as the duo's magnificent music journey in 2005 following its breakthrough in music limelight.
"It was a good start because one of our songs 'Kafere Kwanu' dominated music chats on various radio stations. It was also enjoying massive airplay on Television Malawi (TVM),"says Steve T.
In 2009, the duo came up with Dziwa Nyimbo which did not sell.
"I broke up with my colleague Dannie Mbengo due to some circumstances surrounding our music partnership. But I still marched forward as a solo artist," says a 24-year-old Steve T.
He quashes allegations that he went into music oblivion in 2010 due to the untimely break up with Mbengo.
"It was just a coincidence that I parted ways with Mbengo the similar year. I was inactive in 2010 due to financial constraints. But I reclaimed my position last year when I managed to put together a new album which is currently being promoted," says Steve T.
Titled Promise, Steve T's third album was recorded and produced at his own Mingoli Studio in Ndirande. The album serves as a special dedication to his family for the unfailing love.
"My family is a blessing from God that is why I have dedicated this album to it, especially my wife and my child," says Steve T.
Steve T hails from Jingo Village, Traditional Authority Ganya in Ntcheu.
On the production front, Steve T says he started assembling studio equipment around 2005 until 2008 when he set up his own studio.
"It has been a process for Mingoli Studio to be where it is now. I believe there is no hurry in doing professional projects because patience pays," says Steve T who has worked with artists like Zebron Kankhunda, Thomas Chibade, Nepman, Star Marley and many others.
Steve T, however, bemoans general distribution and marketing challenges of music in Malawi.
He says: "For your music to be distributed through proper channels in Malawi is not easy. This is apart from the growing tradition of milking the already thin cow by some unscrupulous music vendors who enrich themselves. It is really pathetic and a survival of the fittest."