A symphony of success and collaboration
Founder Kgosi Makaza shed light on the project's genesis, emphasising the need for a shift in how the industry is perceived and treated.
"Last year, I founded a project called 'Sounds of Nam: A National Tour,' where we toured nationally, hosting artists and realising a lack of professionalism. This year's focus was on capacity building and knowledge sharing through nationwide workshops," Makaza explained.
The three-day workshops covered diverse topics such as artist management, media training, music production, copyright and publishing, online music distribution and legal considerations.
The highlight was the selection of a promising artist from each town for sponsorship, resulting in the compilation of the Open Arms EP. The compilation features diverse musical genres and was unveiled at the star-studded closing show.
The event drew a large audience that celebrated the project's success. It headlined by Top Cheri, Azaria, and Shady and hosted by Kgosi himself.
"The diversity in musical genres benefits the audience the most, as not everyone has the same taste in music. I can proudly say the Open Arms EP has something for everyone," Makaza said.
Makaza expressed his satisfaction with the project's success. "It felt great to see the excitement of the participants performing in the capital city for the first time. On our side, the project team was full of relief to finally be at the point where we can call the project a success as we reached the finish line," he shared.
Collaborations were a key aspect of the Open Arms Music Project's success, with Makaza acknowledging the crucial role of partners, funders and collaborators. The project's funding from the Sound Connects Fund, an initiative by the Music in Africa Foundation and Goethe-Institut, was instrumental.
Makaza admitted underestimating the demand for initiatives like Open Arms. "We received hundreds of applications from each town, making the selection process challenging. The way forward is to expand the workshop to accommodate more participants," he said.
As the Open Arms Music Project prepares to release a documentary, the project stands as a testament to the potential for growth and unity within the country's vibrant artistic community.