A Career in the Music Industry Takes Tough Skin-James Sakala


James Sakala (JS), a Zambian musician who sings Afro-Jazz shares realities of being in the music industry. He tells LusakaVoice (LV) that at times friends in the music industry can block one from prospering if they feel threatened. Sakala opens up about his journey since he started singing.

 L.V Who is James Sakala ?

J.S I am a simple guy who was born in Zimbabwe in 1983. I come from a very humble background.


L.V When did you start singing?

J.S I started singing in 2006,then just as a backup singer. I worked with K’millian,Mampi,Ty2,Ozzy to mention a few.


L.V What inspired you to sing?

J.S I got inspired to start singing in 2005 when I joined a drama group called Bazibe Arts Theatre in Mkushi. They made me lead singer and dance director. From then, I discovered the love for singing.


L.V Who is your role model?

J.S My role model has always been Oliver Mtukudzi.


L.V How many albums do you have so far?

J.S Unfortunately I don’t have any album but, I am working on the first. I feel humbled that God has brought me this far and blessed me with the talent and a team that understands me.


L.V How is your musical journey so far?

J.S From, where I came from to date, my musical career has been tough. Being a person from Mkushi and with no money to pay my way up I had to prove to a lot of people that I can do it. So it hasn’t been easy. I have done a lot of sacrifice and have been disappointed a thousand times.


L.V What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?

J.S Lack of finance is a major problem because in music for every move or anything you want to do, you have to pay. If not then you pay in kind, like its either you have something to offer for a service that you want. Sometimes your friends who are already connected will block you, if they feel you are a threat to them.


L.V Which has been the highest point in your career so far?

J.S I performed at the Jazz festival and Dr Oliver Mtukudzi was present. He loved my performance and told me that I had huge potential.


L.V How do you balance your career and social life?

J.S Well I can say I am not yet that big to a point were I have problems balancing my social life and my carrier.


L.V Where do you see yourself in future?

J.S I see myself achieving a lot musically. I will work hard until the world hears my music.


L.V Are you benefiting financially from your music?

J.S I can’t say I am making a living out of music because I am still in the pushing and starting level. I just get a bit of income here and there.


L.V What are you working on at the moment?

J.S I am actually recording my live recorded album with Blazer studios, co produced by Ben Blazer and the music instruments played by The Elect Band.


L.V What is your take on piracy?

J.S Piracy is going to be a big challenge to my music career. There is no proper plan in place to sort this problem out.