A month ago one of my friends sent me a post about a certain organization that was circulating on social media. The post was all over, I mean in different WhatsApp groups and what I loved about it was the quote which said: “Come and learn to make your own music.”. I was like no way; make my own music?
I was so excited about it because music is my second home. Every time I sing, I feel good and I can relate to my own life when I listen to music from other artists. When I saw the post, I wanted to get more details so that I should be part of the team. I looked for the poster again and I found out that Nvak runs a free program to teach songwriting, production and music business. Instructors come from the United States and present local artists with a chance to get their music heard by record labels.
After finishing reading, I went straight to the corner of their poster where I saw how to apply. I also clicked a link that directed me to their website. On the site, they have a mission statement which says the following: Nvak is a nonprofit organization that recruits talented musicians in countries struggling from social, political and/or cultural difficulties and provides hyper-local, world-class music education and resources to help musicians create and distribute their own contemporary music worldwide.
Their mission continued to say Nvak creates opportunities where there is none, using music as a tool for underserved teens and young adults to find their voices and amplify their stories beyond their countries borders. It also serves the western world by bringing previously absent stories into mainstream music and offering a unique perspective on global issues.
After reading their mission statement, I told myself that I needed to be part of this transformation and I applied. The next day I asked my friend, who is also a singer, if she applied. I was so excited and I eagerly expected to hear the names of the people who had been selected.
Three weeks passed and I received an email saying I had been selected to be part of the program which was to be hosted for two weeks. I was so excited because my best friend was also selected. I also saw that some few female artists that I know were also part of the team. One thing I loved about this team was that it was a team of ladies only. I was looking forward to meet different young women with the same passion that I have; which is music.
The first day it was very great because we spent the whole morning introducing ourselves and it was so great to know each other. We also got to know why each artist is so passionate about music. The stories I heard made me love the team more. Simply put, I love to be surrounded by different young people with inspiring stories.
And before I tell you more about my experience on this program, our music instructors were so amazing from the first day. We were so honored to have the founder of navak tamar, who came all the way from United States of America, to explain about the whole program. She did not come alone, she came with Halima who was our instructor, and trust me this girl is so amazing and I love her personality and also her style.
We also had a photographer, Alex who was from South Africa. He was always taking photos, videos and interviews of us during the training.
Apart from the interaction with the female artists, what stood out for me was the learning of music production and also songwriting. I started writing songs when I was just 12 years of old. I have been writing different songs up to now. After the training, I realized that I was just naturally following the melody, but now I am able to write a full structure of a song. Apart from that I make sure that I should narrate the song well so that the fans should get to know what I am trying to say.
We also learnt music production, and it is one of the best thing that has happened to me this year. I now can record somebody or myself and produce a song because of this program. We were all using Logic Pro X and I can’t lie, it was fun. I never imagined myself producing a song, I thought it was a man’s job things have really changed. And I thank Nvak.
I was also inspired by few young women who have skill of playing different instruments. Now I have told myself that I should learn piano and I am so excited already.
During the first day of training, we were given an assignment to write a song and we had to present it during class time in front of everybody. So we had to write a song and sing it. Then we had to wait for our instructors, Halima and Tamar, to critique it.
I must say it was fun and at the same time frustrating because there was a moment I was blank; I couldn’t write a song. If the song was not well arranged, you were sent back to write it again. All of us did not like the idea of doing things over and over again but at the end of the day it was worth it. And I must say, it has helped me to come up with two songs right now. If it wasn’t for training, I would have zero songs right now.
Nvak experience has been challenging but it’s a one-time life changing event to me. Apart from the music production and songwriting, the interaction I had with the girls was so amazing. We had a chance of sharing our stories and I must say, it was so inspiring to hear how these powerful ladies overcame their challenges and used music to express themselves. After completing our songs, we all had to produce our songs ourselves. Everyone had to produce a song of someone else. I had a chance to produce Theresa’s demo called “show me your glory” and we had Paul, who is also from Zathu Band, to play the piano. I must say it was beautiful and enjoyed every moment.
It did not end there but we all had to performe our originals songs at Latitude 13 hotels. We had to finalize our songs and rehearsals to prepare for the open mic. I must say two days before my performance, my song was not done but thanks to Nandi, Luki and Maggie who helped me up with a melody and good rhythm. I remember sleeping late at home and the next morning calling my friend to help me out with my lyrics and he sent me 4 bars to add to my first verse. I finished with second verse then boom i song was done.
Everyone was excited and also nervous at the same time but it was amazing and I really had fun. I wish I could explain everything from the food, to the group photos but what I can say is, thanks to Nvak foundation for choosing Malawi and introducing this program. I should also everyone that sponsored this event to happen. We have benefited and personally I have been enlightened. Many thanks should also go to Kim of Diamonds who was running up and down to make sure we are on time and not forgetting Kingsly Tembenu who was playing us the acoustic guitar during the rehearsals and also the performance day on the 13 of November.
After the workshop I would love to sharpen my skills on producing and also give good music to my fans by writing well-structured songs and well narrated ones.
Nvak is one of the best things that has happened to me in 2019 and will always be forever grateful always. In one sentence I would say Nvak means to me: “A once in a lifetime opportunity I need to value and change my life.”