Malawi’s mic genius Tsar Leo is among artists vying for a nomination in the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards (The IMAs) with his hit single, The Other Side.
The IMAs is an influential international award programme that honours top ranked independent artists for best songs, albums, and music videos from around the globe each year. It recognises musicians, music producers, photographers, graphic artists and videographers.
The Other Side is the 21 year-old’s international breakthrough featuring in different music channels across Africa. It’s just a matter of enough votes for the young Malawian MC to be among this year’s winners who will be announced at the IMAs day-long music party at Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in New York City, later this month.
In an interview, Malawi’s Drake – as Tsar Leo is described – said his nomination is an opportunity to promote not only his music but also up and coming artists from Southern Africa to millions of music consumers worldwide.
“The nomination is part of my mission to put Malawi on the world map through my talent and music. My nomination will also open the world to appreciate the pool of talent we have here in Malawi and Southern Africa. The nomination serves as an opportunity to promote music from the region to millions of consumers globally who will check and in turn want to sample more from the region. Therefore you can see that this opens the window for many up and coming artists,” said Tsar Leo
The rapper is a household name in Malawi’s hip hop. He has worked with some renowned artists in Malawi including Lawi and Faith Mussa and has shared stage with Hazel Mak, Theo Thompson, The Black Missionaries, Nesnes, Dan Lu, Piksy, and Sonye.
In the song, the Lilongwe based artist features Zachs on the hook and backing. The track was coproduced by Eril and BFB who is among Africa’s celebrated beat-makers. Visuals for the song came out of a combined effort by Essim, Sukez, and Brooze who all command respect in different countries for their work.
Winners in the IMAs are determined by music fans and a blue-ribbon panel of recording artists, journalists, talent buyers and other key industry decision makers which have included Keith Richards, Tom Waits, Amy Mann, Mellissa Etheridge, Snoop Dogg, Keith Urban, Meshell Ndegeocello, Steve Vai, Tori Amos, Black Keys and Amy Ray among others.
This year the programme has expanded its vox pop voting platform, the fan determined portion of the IMAs. For the first time music fans will nominate an artists or a band for one of the five nominee slots in all song and short form music video categories. Fans earn points by championing their favourite projects entered in this part of a programme. The most supportive fan will win the first IMA super fan award.
Leo will be dropping his EP entitled Godly Position on 17th December through iTunes and Spotify for digital downloads, becoming one of Malawi’s few artists on these world platforms.
Born Leo Siwale, he is among Malawi’s flag bearers whose journey in music has just begun thus a lot is expected from him. A few years in hip hop has bought him citizenship in the industry, which is a remarkable record.