The music industry's Antos Stella is a legend in her own lifetime with a three-decade career built on passion, a love for music and conviction.
The entertainment industry is in her blood and music the foundation.
Passionate music executive Antos Stella has built her career on this love. Name a legendary artist and Stella has either discovered, launched or supported a career or formed a solid friendship. Think of Lucky Dube, Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens and Ray Phiri.
The list is long and so is her sustained enthusiasm for the music and talent of South Africa and the continent. Stella’s extraordinary career of nearly three decades in the music industry has established her as a legend among artists and a force in the boardroom.
“I started at Gallo Record Company when I was 24,” says Stella. “When I was taken to see its studios, I was hooked. I knew that this is what I had to do.”
Since then, Stella has been instrumental in some of the biggest music projects in the country, becoming a de facto ambassador for South Africa and the continent’s music. “I was fortunate at the time that Gallo allowed me to traverse Africa with artists and to travel relentlessly in pursuit of promotion.”
She became very close to her artists, consequently gaining a deep understanding of their needs and perspectives. She successfully bridged the gap between business and the creative world and has become a legend for it.
“In the past the music industry was not always known for its artist-friendly approach to business,” says Stella. “I always look at it from the artist’s perspective too. One has to.”
Stella has owned Content Connect Africa, a digital aggregator business, for several years now where she has developed partnerships with broadcast, online and mobile network operators locally, continentally and globally to distribute mostly home-grown music.
“While music is a business, ultimately, commercial arrangements must always be equitable and fair to all parties.” After all, talent must eat too.
“When I retire one day, what I want to leave behind is a legacy of passion, skill and an absolute desire for the music industry, in fact the whole creative industry to become a global beacon for South Africa and Africa.”
Stella was the first woman to head up a major record company during her tenure as MD of Gallo and says part of her mission is to draw more young women to the music industry today. “There are still not enough women in the busines, and I aim to change that still.”
[WATCH] Viva Nation’s Antos Stella talks about her new platform for creatives, Viva Nation
A next step in promoting African talent has been the development of Viva Nation, a video on demand online radio and content brand that not only focuses on music, but also provides a platform for filmmakers, producers, writers and up and coming artists to showcase and monetise their work.
Viva Nation was launched in stages last year due to the pandemic.
“We have so much talent in Africa, whether in music or the visual arts. The time for our continent is now and the world’s appetite is there. It’s time that we work really hard to expose, build and sustain a creative industry.”