EL record label scoops top African award
Asanda Empires, which has a licensing partnership with Universal Music, was founded by
in May 2016. The inaugural awards, held on Saturday at The Dynasty in Johannesburg, saw entertainment gurus from all over the continent attend.
Mabengwana said when they were invited to submit for the awards he did not think his label or artists would win.
“I thought ‘why not’, but at the back of my mind I didn’t think we would get anything.
“It is still unbelievable. It feels like someone will say it was all a joke,” he said, adding it was a big achievement for his up-and-coming label.
When Mabengwana started the label, his artists were based in East London but they have since moved to Johannesburg.
“When we collaborated with the SABC in the Foundation Legacy Project that saw us working with San communities in the Northern Cape, we had to move the artists up to Johannesburg. But the label is still also for Eastern Cape artists – we do shows all over the province and country,” he said.
The Foundation Legacy Project, which saw them collaborating with a San music group, was aimed at producing music that would promote indigenous languages, he added.
One of the label’s artists, Kay, whose real name is Kamvelihle Kostile, said the award was a motivation for them to continue making music and entertaining the masses. Kay is one of four artists signed under the label. The other three are ARTeast, Vi Bittz and Takwana. All four were nominated in the most promising act of the year award at the ASEA.
“This is the first award and we haven’t even released our full albums. This is a big achievement for us,” he said, adding the award was a sign that there was more to come for them. “Everyone is happy and we are motivated. We just want to make music,” he said, adding he aimed to release his first extended play (EP) this year.
“The other artists will also be releasing some new material soon. We have all been working on new music and we can’t wait to get it out,” he said.
Mabengwana said their licensing deal with Universal Music would come into effect next year when they release full albums for the artists.
“Universal advised us not to rush into releasing albums yet. They said we should release singles and make sure the public knows about these guys, and then we can release albums.
“We just released Kay’s single for free and within a week it received 50 000 downloads. We were all shocked. This means people are talking about him.”
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