Guys, do you remember Mad Ice?
Ok. If the tune above does not remind you then let me refresh your memory. How about now that it has instrumentals?
Mad Ice is the Ugandan artiste that we all thought was Tanzanian. Alafu most of his video vixens were always junguz? Are we together now? So anyway he lives here in Scandinavia. Finland to be precise.
So, I heard he has a new track with Wyre and Jamaicas Richie Loop and I got a bit curious. I tracked him down in these internet streets and I was really impressed by his rawness and humility. See how our conversation went down….
- As an African musician living abroad, what are some of the challenges you face?
I think our challenges differ a lot depending on the country. But as for Finland, language is one of the biggest issues. Even with music where we say language doesn’t matter, in this country, it does a lot. I would say 95% of Finnish radio playlist is concentrated with local material and 5% goes out to whats dominating the US and UK music markets. There is very limited exposure to African music in mainstream media and that affects how one works, earns, and also the mindset of consumers in general.
Another issue is finding a balance between Africa and Finland as I have fans in all places. Its gets somehow costly with the constant traveling as people need to see you on the ground time to time (for interviews, public appearance, etc.) to keep you in mind, also in terms of studio expenses since you have to keep up with all fan-bases which means preparing work for both markets.
- What do you wish you knew before relocating to Finland (either personally or as a musician?)
Personally, I’m glad I didn’t know much about Finland prior to my relocation because maybe then I would have had some reservations about coming here. Living in Finland has taught me a lot about the people, their culture, our differences, similarities and also about myself. I’ve always believed that every situation creates an opportunity for us to learn something new. However, as a musician, if had known how small and closed the Finnish music market is, I would definitely have thought twice of relocating here.
- Where is your biggest fan base?
My biggest fan base is in East Africa with Tanzania being the main base for that side.
- Are there any similarities between Scandinavian music scene and East Africa?
I think the music scene is all the same around the world, full of good, bad and ugly but it’s how things are done that creates a difference. In every country, no matter how big it is and its music industry, the circles of the ones running the game are very small and controlled by certain people. You always need to know someone who matters in those circles to open a door for you. It is like that here and in East Africa.
- What would be your advice to any East African musician planning to relocate abroad? How do they maintain their fan base and create a new one abroad?
If you are an East African artist with a plan to move abroad, I would say this to you. Try to choose the right country, be the best at what you do because good is never enough for you wanna stand out in a foreign land, be prepared to work like crazy, and most importantly find the right people to work with, locally and abroad. People who will make sure your work gets to the hands of your existing fans locally as it’s not easy to do it all by yourself especially when you are no longer on the ground full-time and the ones that will help you penetrate new grounds.
Check out his new track with Wyre and Richie Loop and sign off at the comments.