Lessons from Morgan Heritage, Busy Signal
By Lawrence Chinoperekwei
The Zimbabwean Showbiz arena has from time to time been punctuated by exotic displays…disappointing acts, shoddy acts, pathetic acts as well surprisingly good acts have decorated our showbiz landscape.
In the past year we have seen two acts that got pundits torn for superlatives to adequately capture the performances.
Fireworks seemed a unanimous position across the board. Value for money, contentment seemed well taken care of.
Whether it is coincidence or otherwise that the two class performances came from Jamaicans remains to be explored.
One thing for sure is these acts were laden with top class acts for whoever invested in the ticket
I was pleasantly charmed by Busy Signal’s culture of doing things on stage.
He was true to his values and core business of rocking the fans even as he performed in Malawi a few days after the Zimbabwean show.
It is the fan who gets tired. Enter Morgan Heritage…with a performance speciﬁcally cultivated for ‘doubting Thomases’ and skeptical minds.
Its unanimous…they illuminated the Harare International Conference Centre, leaving critics scurrying for cover.
Having had the privilege to attend both acts’ shows; I found myself struggling to reconcile some things about these performances.
There was something special; something inexplicable.
I probed my thoughts and realised-these are hybrid shows-they are a blend of entertainment value for the revellers and fertile showbiz lessons for supporting acts and the generality of the arts industry
What I am not sure of-is whether the arts industry, the local artiste, the artiste managers are taking time to draw the valuable lessons that these acts are laden with or focus is just on the entertainment aspect of the performances?
Has the local artiste and his or her team taken time to appreciate how these acts pay attention to detail-how they religiously adhere to sound check-or how they subordinate themselves to delivering ﬂawless acts.
They mean business. They were not in Africa for just holidaying. They came to impress. They are men on a mission.
Again is it coincidence or do we miss something?
The organisational prowess exhibited by Busy Signal and Morgan Heritage sets; the strict adherence to discipline on stage. The humility and tolerance when performing and the setting of the tone for the fan.
That you are the master. The carefully selected playlist, having tracks like Don’t haffi dread and Can’t get we out among other hits! Is this inborn or acquired?
Will we not be stretching coincidence too far?
These two shows have betrayed some serious planning on the side of the visitors, some mindset shift from taking fans for granted to treating showbiz as business.
I can’t help seeing deliberate human intervention to help make the product completely desirable by perfecting the preparations for instance a four hour sound check by Morgan Heritage even when they are such a renowned act.
Talent alone will not suffice.
The way Busy Signal performed; the way Morgan Heritage did their thing, you couldn’t help realising this is a convergence of talent and discipline. Discipline to plan discipline to have the presence of mind that this is a business when instead they would have taken an off day or gotten carried away on their first tour of Zimbabwe.
It’s neither coincidence, nor a mistake that Morgan Heritage remain the most sought after reggae group in the world.
They are business minded and they know how to tame fame, give it boundaries and they are guided accordingly.
They know how to preserve value, to imagine the group was formed two decades ago and they are still around and intact tells a story.
A deliberate effort by Peetah and siblings to remain relevant by remaining focused and maintaining the group which in a way mirrors their close ties as a family when they could easily have gone separate ways.
One thing they did not compromise was their unity both on and off the stage. How can four brothers and a sister remain focused for so long?
Until their performance on Saturday evening it was always a mystery to me but I then realised they are businessmen, they know what adds value to them.
I jubilated when I saw Jemere come to do stage warm up for his Daddy and uncles.
So these guys are not stopping! This is now second generation being prepared for takeover or to keep the group relevant.
What was it? I wondered. Again I consoled myself; they are men on a mission!
They know how to preserve value and they know how to create institutions/they want to create a dynasty.
They are already an institution and they shall remain relevant for as long as they want.
I was persuaded this was not inborn.
It’s a deliberate effort by Peetah and his siblings individually and collectively to be a force of reckon by blending talent and business principles/acumen.
They have succeeded.
Where is the local artiste in all this? Josphat Somanje were you in attendance?
Did your manager make you aware there was such a show?
Wouldn’t it be nice to see you and Faheem taking deliberate efforts to see Pengaudzoke remain relevant?
Do you unlock value for the group if you perform as separate bands?
Morgan Heritage challenged us and offered free insights-they are big because they are united.
They are united because they are big.
Allan Chimbetu where are you?
Did you see Peter perform with his siblings? Did you see how they are accommodating Jemere for continuity and value addition?
Wouldn’t it be nice to see you on one set with Douglas, Tryson, Sulu and Saiwe?
Where will Dendera be right now if we didn’t have five splinter groups playing the same compositions? Are you not splitting the market for yourself?
How competitive do you think you can be individually?
It’s not coincidence that Morgan Heritage are doing it and managing.
It’s the betrayal of the deliberate effort they put to be successful.
Come on Sulu! You can do the same! It takes effort, commitment and vision. You don’t need rocket science to know Dendera would be an institution if you take a cue from Morgan Heritage. It’s not too late Tryson.
They say if you want to go fast go alone but if u want to go further go with others. The Chimbetu family you can easily become Africa’s Morgan Heritage.
You own a musical brand/genre but they don’t.
They play reggae and have 101 competitors. You play Dendera and have zero competitors except the competition you are creating among yourselves.
If you want Dendera to go far go together. If you want Dendera to die fast remain split.
It’s that simple. If Morgan Heritage can do it, why can’t you?
Progress! Yes Baba Marlo. Will we ever live to experience an occasion where we hear you requesting a sound check?
It’s not coincidence and it’s not boredom that Busy Signal and Morgan Heritage insisted on the same.
It’s called deliberate effort. No miracles will happen.
Music promoters will keep bringing foreign acts but I think going forward we should embrace these acts as source of nourishment for the body and the mind.
There are lots of lessons the artiste can draw from such but again; ‘they don’t do thega’.
Deliberate effort is a pre-requisite.