With the release of his album Acoustic Heart, Yamikani ‘Saint’ Chikwawe arguably deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the household names on the local urban music scene.
A bold statement, but one good listen to the artist’s 2015 debut release will leave you in disbelief to learn the soulful yet powerful voice belongs to a 21-year-old young man barely out of his teens.
Simply put, the LP ilustrates how Saint is a rare breed, a once-in-a-blue-moon artist who takes the bull by the horns when tackling issues well beyond his age while his peers brag about material things irrelevant to the society.
“There are 12 songs in the project, excluding the intro. There are quite a number of themes in there that tackle real-life situations,” he disclosed in an interview with MBC Online.
“It talks about love, death, orphanage, hunger, drought, war and everything else revolving around people’s lives. That’s what I’m talking about in the project.”
The singer revealed he recorded copious songs for the 13-track LP but stated he knew exactly which songs would eventually make the final cut.
“There are numerous songs that I recorded, but of course some were recorded separately because I had to detach them from the others to say only these ones will be in the project,” he divulged.
“I just sampled and then mixed them together to make Acoustic Heart and it really wasn’t hard coming up with the 12 songs. I had a great time in the studio ever since I started the project back in 2013.
“I used to take some time out so I could go to the studio any time I was free. Every time I felt I could do something on the mic I’d go there in the studio and record, so I took my time and it wasn’t really hard.”
The versatile wordsmith said working on his debut album for two years was a unique and liberating experience for him as a relatively new artist.
“It was quite a journey, a great experience actually and a road towards chasing my dream,” he said.
“I wanted the album to be something that I really had in mind. I wanted to express the visions that I had in this project, so I had to take my time in order to reach that dream.”
He said all but two of the songs in the album were recorded at Abstract Records where the inspiration for the album took flight.
“There’s One Life, a song I did with Trumale which I recorded at Grapes Records and Tikudikilanji, a song that’s been receiving a lot of buzz, recorded at New Dawn Records,” he disclosed.
The lyricist said his dream is to shoot music videos for all the 12 songs that paint his debut masterpiece.
“I’ve got a music video for Rise Pon De Wicked, one of the songs I recorded first on the project, and then Tikudikilanji. There’s also a song people haven’t listened to yet, so I’ll be releasing a video to that as well.
“I’ve been saying I want to shoot a music video to each and every song in the project, so am reaching that dream, am chasing that dream and am glad to day that it’s happening right now.”
Asked whether all the songs in the project have an acoustic touch, Saint went as far as coining a word to describe the kind of sound found in his maiden offing.
“Of course it’s not entirely acoustic. I call the sound micoutics, but for people to easily understand it I put acoustic heart,” he revealed.
“But basically it’s about the concept that’s in the album and obviously the title had to carry the real acoustic flavour that’s found in the album.”
Saint’s exhibition of versatility prior to Acoustic Heart saw him excel in most genres including dancehall (No Love), reggae (Ndimalakwitsa), pasada (One Last Kiss), hip hop and R&B (Ndasayina ft. Slessor).
Quizzed as to how he manages to effortlessly juggle all those genres of music, the youthful but mature artist said: “I don’t know. I just try to do good music. It’s about inspiration.
“When am inspired am always ready to jump on any beat that’s going to suit the concept and lyrics that I’ve written, so I don’t really give myself any limits. I feel like maybe the sky will be my only limit.”
You can buy Saint’s Acoustic Heart album at Abstract Records, Saint ICT Solutions (Kameza roundabout), at Malawi Music.com and online at www.malawimusic.com or simply contact him on 0995936596. You can also download the artist's other songs at http://www.malawi-music.com/component/muscol/S/357-saint/