Interview: Strong, soulful, alluring…Words to describe the voice, and the artist, Marocco

Published in Music | Friday, 06 January 2017
Your voice is amazing, is it all natural, or did you get formal training for it?

Thank you, it is natural, but I when i was 13 I did music at school with a classically trained teacher and she gave me a few tips that have stuck to date.

Do you think someone should call themselves a “singer” if they use autotune?

I think musically inspired is more accurate. When your voice is raw & unedited, there-in lies the music.

Your songs “Pa Mulilo”, and “Way Back (ft. Chimz)” are great songs. Describe your process, what do you do to get inspiration for songwriting?

Oh man! “Pa Mulilo” was my introduction to pop music, and “Way Back” my withdrawal from it. They were done at two completely different stages in my career and it’s been a love, hate relationship with making music, mostly love. When I write a song I think I’m always either talking to someone, writing a letter, or just wondering about stuff...

You’ve travelled quite extensively. How does the reception of your music outside Zambia compare to home?

I’ve been so blessed & humbled to travel around the world and experience extreme cultures and sounds. I’ve learnt a lot and although I haven't really promoted my music abroad, the reception I’ve received as a gigging artist has been overwhelming. I’ve been invited to collaborate on really random projects like - Flamenco/House in Ibiza, Rock/Samba in Brazil and recently Indie/Grunge in Iceland, and all those studio sessions started out like wooden mic!!! [Laughs], seriously weird frequencies & chords going on. But I’ll say this, NOTHING compares to having a jam session in your hood with your people that’s completely adhoc. I live for that feeling.

Who are your favorite artists?

I listen to Miriam Makeba, Ella Fitzgeral, Aretha Franklin, Billy Holiday, Ray & Ben Johnson every day.

How did you end up working with El Mukuka on “Let me know”?

My Amazing Fiancé actually called him up to arrange the meeting, I didn't actually know about it, and he didn't know about me so it was very formal and skeptical meeting like a job interview! I always feel like that when I meet a producer! When we did get into studio, we sketched up the song in a few sessions and explored other ideas. Really look forward to working with him again. He is effortless at what he does.

Zambian music from the 80’s and 90’s had a more recognizable identity, where is presently popular Zambian music is heavily influenced by America, West Africa and other countries. Is this a self-confidence issue with Zambian artists? Do artists look down on their own culture? Is being Zambian “Less cool” than being American?

I think its Zambian Culture as a whole, I don't think you can isolate the Music Sect/Industry..... Musicians reflect and speak about whats happening in Society at large, a weaker “music identity” so to speak comes from a weaker culture. Interestingly though, I feel as though West Africa, South Africa and recently, America have actually been listening to and sampling Zambian music, only they use better instruments and master better productions (a mind f*&ck I know) but just listen to Drake's “One Dance” , that's like our national “dunka dunka” beat! Don't believe me? Ask around! And to your second question, being African is way cooler than being American! They just market their culture in an extraordinary way! African Americans know it, Nigerians are thriving on it, and some Zambians are just starting to learn about it.

Would playing less international music on Zambian radio hurt or help Zambian artists?

Zambian Radio is following a general universal standard and you’d hear on air locally, pretty much what you’d hear in other countries, on their local stations. What would help Zambian anything is education. Sounds like a cliché i know, but imagine if all public schools had a comprehensive Music Program, and our kids actually had the opportunity to learn how to play instruments, the quality of our music would be better.

Are there any other projects besides music that you’re working on?

Yes, and probably what’s eating up all my time, My company [Marocco Music and Marketing] has been working a few projects that have been all about the business of music business that has kept me quite behind the scenes. A few are coming to market this next season so watch this space.

Follow Marocco on Facebook (MMM.Marocco).