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Tanzanian Bongo Flava Artist Ommy Dimpoz Should be on Everyone's Radar.

Tanzanian Bongo Flava Artist Ommy Dimpoz Should be on Everyone's Radar

Tanzanian artist Ommy Dimpoz speaks to us about being a new-generation bongo flava artist, signing a major deal with Sony Music Africa and how connection with his fans defines what success means to him.

Ommy Dimpoz, real name Omary Faraji Nyembo, is a new-generation Bongo Flava artist from Tanzania. Bongo flava is a unique style of Tanzanian hip-hop and R&B which originated from the streets of Dar es Salaam and is undeniably the most popular genre among Tanzanian youth.

With almost a decade in the music industry now, Ommy Dimpoz continues to meticulously carve out his own path while making some serious career moves. Initially signed with Rockstar Africa Record Label, the artist recently signed a major deal with Sony Music Africa ahead of his debut album which is set to be released at the beginning of next year.

The Tanzanian artist started out his music career by writing songs which were inspired by his favorite bongo flava artists and performed them at graduation ceremonies shortly after he had completed high school.

Encouraged by those around him to continue with music, Ommy Dimpoz first broke into the industry as a vocalist for veteran bongo flava artist TID and then went on to release his chart-topping debut single "Nai Nai" featuring Ali Kiba in 2012, cementing his place on the music scene. The artist followed up his debut with several other numbers including "Mama" featuring Christian Bella, "Me and You" in collaboration with Tanzanian songstress Vanessa Mdee and "Hello baby" featuring Avril.

We caught up with the Tanzanian artist who is currently based in his home country and spoke to him about his music journey, artists who inspire him, recent collaborations and what the future holds for him as a musician.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


You've recently joined Sony Music Africa. What informed that career move and why now?

I've been working with Rockstar, and I'm still working with them but we need to go far from here. I've been in this industry officially since 2012 and the way forward is that you need to get across the big level and grow as an artist. To be in partnership with Sony is a big privilege. And as you can see, all these big artists in Africa and in the world work with the big labels. Working with Sony is a big opportunity for me and I think it will change something in my career.

How did your journey with music begin?

It just happened when I was in high school and I was attending a graduation ceremony and I think I just fell in love with the music. Then, I decided to start writing some songs. I used the beat from different Bongo Flava artists to write my own lyrics on those beats and instruments. I started performing at graduation ceremonies and everybody was like, "I think you can be a good artist." That's how it all started. After high school, I went to college and did a certificate in business administration. I then decided to go straight to the music and joined the music band, Top Band. From that moment, that was how my journey started.

READ: 14 Bongo Flava Classics You Need In Your Life

Are there any bigger projects that you're currently working on, whether it's an album or an EP?

Yeah, I'm working on my album and that will be my first album. Most of the album is complete and now it's just the final touches but it will be dropped early next year. I'm also still working in the studio on some other projects. It's still a secret but there will be a South African element, a Nigerian side and a Francophone country. There are some vocals I'm still waiting on but it's almost done.

Ommy Dimpoz - OkayAfricaOmmy Dimpoz stars in "You Are the Best" Music VideoStill taken from YouTube.

What are some of the veteran bongo flava artists that have personally inspired your own music?

There's a couple of bongo flava artists, because here, we have a lot of legends here. One of them is TID. TID is one of the biggest bongo flava artists in the country. And then there is also A.Y. as well. I mean, there are a lot to be honest but I love all kinds of music. Aside from bongo blava, there is a traditional music called taarab. So I just listen to different types of music and there are a lot of people who have inspired me to do music as a result.

Recently, you released your single "Dede" featuring DJ Tira, Dladla and Prince Bulo. Walk me through how that collaboration actually came about?

I was in South Africa for my medical check-up following a surgery and was just sitting in my apartment. I was watching some of the local and international television channels. I found out DJ Tira got a lot of air time because of course, he's a legend. I decided to DM him on Instagram and I said, "Bro, I'm interested in doing music with you." He then said, "Yeah, no problem." So, I had this song "Dede" that I recorded here in Tanzania by using local bongo flava instruments and sent it to him. That is how we connected and the rest was history.

We were sending each other the music, then later on, we met and we started talking, and now, we're like friends. I remember also we met for the video. That time, I think the first time we met, it was for the music video shoot.

The music video is as vibrant and upbeat as the song itself. What was your vision for that music video?

You know, with the music video, I just arranged with the video director and told him that I need to have a great vibe between Durban music and Jo'burg music, especially with the dancing styles. I told him that I needed some dancing from Jo'burg and some dancing from Durban. The music is largely based in Durban but I wanted a good mix between the two which is why we used those pantsula boys in the video as well. I also told him I needed the video to look really colourful.

Ommy Dimpoz - Dede (Official Music Video) ft. DJ Tira, Dladla, Prince Bulowww.youtube.com

Many artists have obviously been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How have you been navigating making music and connecting with your fans during this pandemic?

First of all, it's weird to say this but everybody believes there's the coronavirus everywhere but in my country. There was even a day our president just made a statement and said that we need a national prayer and after that prayer, it will all be good. And now, we are living like the country is coronavirus-free. When you come here, there are no masks, people are doing chores and their normal activities. It's like we are back to normal. For me, I can tell the truth, it was hard for me to even travel within Kenya last week. There are so many restrictions and I felt like, "Oh my God, I'm not free. Let me go back home."

Are there any anxieties or fears on your part that Tanzania, compared to the continent and the rest of the world, doesn't have as many restrictions in place?

Of course. For almost two years, I was very sick and going up and down to the hospital and everything. And so for my health, I can say it has been hard for me, you know? I'm still looking for my health but there has been a little bit of anxiety. You see how things go here compared to other countries out there and how they're taking these things seriously.

What would you say the representation of Tanzanian artists on the international stage looks like right now?

They recently announced nominees for the MAMAs for next year. I mean, you can see there are maybe four to five Tanzanian musicians on the list and we used to get maybe just one nomination in the past. I think we are growing and we are trying to find our own sound. You see how I did this collaboration with DJ Tira? We used a South African sound but I still remained me. I didn't change completely to sounding like the South African sound. I always tell my fellow artists that when they collaborate, they can try out any sound but must still remain themselves. I think we are getting there.

What does success look like for you as an artist?

Wow. It's a hard question. But what I can say is successful, apart from maybe getting money, opportunities or material things, is how I connect with people at different levels. It's about how to make a connection and how to use your platform and image to help society. That is success for me. If you do something and that thing can help or change something in society by using your name, that is success. For me as a musician or public figure, success is how you connect with people and do something positive for society and the people who are around you.

Listen to Ommy Dimpoz on Apple Music and Spotify.

Music

Listen to a Fela Kuti Tribute Album Featuring D'Angelo, Questlove, Nile Rodgers​ & More

2002's Red Hot + Riot albumis available on streaming platforms for the first time.

Red Hot has made the their Fela Kutitribute album Red Hot + Riot available for the first time on all streaming platforms to mark its 20th anniversary.

Red Hot + Riot features notable contributions from an all-star guest ensemble that includes D’Angelo, Questlove, Femi Kuti, Talib Kweli, Sade, Tony Allen, Macy Gray, Nile Rodgers, Jorge Ben Jor, Baba Maal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead Prez, Kelis, Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp, and many others.

The updated 20th anniversary version includes bonus material including a remastered version of the entire project. The project also includes a cover of “Sorrow Tears & Blood” by Bilal, an acoustic version of “Trouble Sleep” with Baba Maal accompanied by the legendary kora player Kaouding Cissoko and an extended version of Sade’s “By Your Side” by Stuart Matthewman.

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Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Kizz Daniel Performs At The FIFA World Cup

Nigeria's Kizz Daniel recently thrilled fans when he performed at the FIFA World Cup.


Renowned Afrobeats singer, Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, also known as Kizz Daniel recentlymade his debut performance at the World Cup to raving fans. The singer performed songs from a selection of some of his well known smash hit records at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which is still ongoing.

Some of the songs that he performed included: 'Buga', 'Cough', 'Lie', 'Pour Me Water', 'One Ticket', 'Eh God', 'Good Time' and many others.

The singer performing at the World Cup was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy because earlier in June, he had shared on social media that he wanted to perform at the World Cup this year.

His tweet read: "God I want to perform 'Buga' for World Cup with a mass choir. Help me say amen."

During his performance, he was greeted by over 50,000 fans, who excitedly chimed in as he delivered some of his heavy-hitting songs. The 28-year-old also featured a live-band show during his performance.

Kizz Daniel is one of the many African artists that are leaving their mark on the global music scene. When he released ‘Buga,’ he received massive recognition from the record and it quickly became an anthem in Nigeria. To many, the song was one of the most prominent African songs of the year.

Kizz Daniel's recent performance at the World Cup marks the rise in global popularity that many of his peers are also receiving.

According to Sports Brief, Kizz Daniel's performance was a part of the FIFA Sound, which had at least five international artists in it's lineup who performed on the main stage during the famed sports event. Sports Brief also shared that all of the performances were an extension of FIFA’s entertainment strategy, which is an initiative that is created to establish solid relationships between the world of soccer and music.

Following his performance, a thrilled Kizz Daniel took to social media to show some of the excited reactions that fans had during his performance.

VADO OF AFRICA 🌍 on Instagram: "AS A NAIJA 🇳🇬 BOY I SAY THANK YOU AFRICA 🌍 THANK YOU WORLD 🌎 #fifaworldcup2022 #qatar2022 ‼️"

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Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Travel Diary: The Warmth & Beauty of Senegal is Unparalleled

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, Nigerian photographer and storyteller Sope Adelaja heads to Senegal to learn what it's like to embrace the "Teraanga" lifestyle.

After about 10 hours of flying and stopovers I landed in the city of Dakar, Senegal at about 11pm. I approached immigration to have my passport stamped and then proceeded to get my luggage. I immediately noticed that almost everyone spoke French and very few people understood English. I understand little French, so I knew then that it was going to be a struggle. With the help of Google Translate, I was able to then negotiate and hire a cab to drop me off at my residence for the night.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

The language barrier was not as much of as an obstacle as I thought it would be. This largely had to do with the generosity and warmness shown by the community during my visit.

Senegal is known as the “ Land of Teraanga." Teraanga, which is a Wolof word, is often defined as meaning “ hospitality." But that is a very loose way of translating it. It's so much more complex than that. It is a process of discovery and expression. It is a way of Life. Teraanga is aimed at showcasing a narrative of hospitality and beauty that exists across different cultures.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Unity over adversity is a running theme of Saint-Louis, a town located on an island at the mouth of the Senegal river. It is an outstanding example of a colonial city by its natural setting and colonial architecture which gives it a distinctive appearance and identity. (These features are why the island is on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.)

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Saint-Louis is a city that will charm you. Beyond tourism, this community has come to embody its resourceful spirits. A big part of the way of life is fishing. It is the main occupation of people living in Saint-Louis, also known to the locals as Ndar.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

When shooting in Africa, it’s easy to lean on visual crutches — like ornate jewelry or bright, striking clothing. But that’s only skimming the visual surface of the community of people. Digging deeper requires an extended stay, as well as collaborating with locals who have grown up in the area.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

In the course of digging deeper, i discovered Ndar had a lot more to offer beyond beautiful aesthetics, very rich culture, and history it holds strong remains of past colonial times.

Next up was Gorée Island and the destination is an exceptional testimony to one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity: slave trade. Even with its complicated history, Over the years, Gorée Island has become a well known destination, with figures like Nelson Mandela and even Unisted States President Barack Obama and his family visiting the island.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Storytelling is so powerful. And as a photographer, it's my intent to show the warmth, beauty, and hospitality of Africa across different regions. I strongly believe we as people of Africa have a responsibility to further shape the narrative of Africa’s unique culture and people.

See more photos from Senegal below.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja


Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Music
Photo via Mavin Records

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Mavin Records, Asake, Stormzy x Amaarae x Black Sherif, Fally Ipupa, Pheelz x French Montana, and more.

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If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

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