The owners of Kalawa Jazmee record label, Zynne “Mahoota” Sebika and Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa have dismissed as rumours speculation that Kalawa Jazmee’s artists are leaving in numbers and “the empire is crumbling.”
“Kalawa Jazmee ain’t going anywhere; I mean it’s the longest running independent black owned record label that’s been here for over two decades, 24 years to be exact. There is no way we as a company can stand in the way of artists who wants [sic] to spread their wings by growing their brands or even starting their own record labels irrespective of the standing contract they have with us,” Sebika and Mdlongwa said in a press statement.
The pair stated they regard their company as a “university of artists” as it “is where we prepare them for whatever path they will choose in the future.” They also emphasised that their artists are not tied down in restrictive contractual clauses and they can do their own bidding as they “actually expect growth from everyone working” with them.
“Kalawa has been home to many artists like Boom Shaka, Mafikizolo, Alaska, Bongo Maffin, Zonke, Black Coffee, Big Nuz, Thebe, Black Motion, Durban Nytes, Maphorisa and Heavy K. Most of these artists are household names and we still have great relationship with them. That’s why anytime we have something and we ask them they actually come through for the company, no bad blood at all,” the statement said.
The duo said the music industry has changed a lot in the past few years but the Kalawa catalogue remains one of the biggest and is not for sale to anyone.
“We can identify talent, know how to nurture talent and turn an artist into a brand that’s why when we spot new talent we will come through. It’s not a fly by night record label and there is no reason to keep too many artists in the stable cause over the years the strategy of running things has changed,” they said.
Mdlongwa added that it’s a worldwide trend to downsize as music sales are on a downward spiral as evidenced by the closure of major record labels like EMI, BMG, Gallo in SA and local labels like Soul Candi and TS Records.