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Femi Kuti Talks Legacy, the Future of Afrobeat, Crossover Success for African Artists & More In New Interview

The renowned afrobeat musician sat down for a keynote session with OkayAfrica's music editor at Midem Music Conference in Cannes, France.

Midem, the annual music conference, described as "the leading music industry event for the music ecosystem" is currently underway in Cannes, France and OkayAfrica is on the ground for the action, starting with a keynote session with the legendary Femi Kuti.

In an extensive interview with OkayAfrica's very own music editor Kam Tambini, the celebrated afrobeat musician and head of the New Afrika Shrine, speaks on his vision for empowering new African musicians, the current status of afrobeat—the genre spearheaded by his father—the power of music in addressing pressing global issues, his new album and much more.

READ: Femi Kuti Is Leading Afrobeat Into the Anti-Trump Era


The artist spoke in detail about passing on his musical legacy to his son who is also an artist, and the importance of young artists pursuing music out of passion instead of fame that it brings. "Music inspires every other profession" says Kuti, likening being an artist to being a doctor and helping to alleviate listener's pain. "Music is a medium that higher forces use to give people joy and love," he adds. He urged new artists to study their craft, and advocated for better learning institutions on the continent for aspiring artists and musicians.

When asked about young African artists like Davido and Wizkid who are striving for crossover success in global markets, Kuti urged them to look beyond "gimmicks" and focus on making music that leaves an impact in the long run.

He also spoke about the fight for social progress on the continent. "Do we surrender to injustice, or do we stand and confront this injustice," said Kuti, adding that it will likely be younger generations who will hold the torch in tackling these issues. "They have to fight for a better life for their children, and for their neighbors," said Kuti.

The artist, who was named Midem 2019 Artist Ambassador, was later joined on stage by producer Sodi, who spoke about his experience working with both Fela and Femi Kuti, and resisting making "standardized African music."

Check out the full interview below.

Midem Talks, a Talk with Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Singer, New Afrika Shrine (Nigeria) www.youtube.com

Music

Listen to Femi Kuti's New Song 'As We Struggle Everyday'

Femi explains: "'As We Struggle Everyday' is about how hard people work everyday to make ends meet and still go to vote corrupt politicians into power who are meant to be in jail."

Femi Kuti shares his new single, "As We Struggle Everyday," the latest drop from the upcoming double album Legacy +, a joint endeavor with his son Made Kuti.

"As We Struggle Everyday" is a politically-charged afrobeat tune about people having the voting power to hold their 'leaders' accountable, but often failing to do so. Throughout the song, Femi sings "As we struggle everyday We try to find a better way See these leaders wey suppose jail Na him my people dem dey hail."

Femi explains: "'As We Struggle Everyday' is about how hard people work everyday to make ends meet and still go to vote corrupt politicians into power who are meant to be in jail."

Legacy +, which is due out February 5 from Partisan Records, includes a full album by Femi titled Stop The Hate and an album by his son, Made, titled For(e)ward. The pair have previously shared the singles "Pà Pá Pà" and "Your Enemy" off the upcoming release.

Listen to Femi Kuti's "As We Struggle Everyday" below.

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