Menimen wants to make timeless music
We are getting up close and personal with the award-winning artist, Menimen, who is a member of the Cozoos Clan group. The group was launched in 2000 but started releasing commercial music in 2004. Since then, Menimen has been building up a solid reputation with his Afro-dancehall music.
Tell us about your latest song?
This I would say is one of my biggest projects this year. The song is titled ‘Give Me Love’ and was produced by Hunter; he has worked previously worked with Harmonize. The love song’s video was directed and shot by Kevin Bosco Jnr. Finally, the collaborations include Gnako (Tanzania) and Mr Filter (Kenya). It was a tremendous cross-cultural exchange that I will undoubtedly love to have in my future projects.
Where do you find your artistic inspiration for your music?
That’s simple. I am a true African therefore, my music is based on African stories and cultural aspects that people can relate to especially the youth. I just want to make timeless music that lasts not just stuff for this specific time.
Great. Success is such a personal concept — we all see and define it differently. How did you personally describe your success?
This is one of the most challenging questions for artists to answer. As you said, the responses would vary. But as for me, what I can say is that I am not where I would want to be, but I am on course. I think for me it’s more than having a successful music business but rather make something honest that continues to tell my story faithfully and truthfully to the people who have been following my story and know my voice.
With every road to success, there is/are challenges. What are yours?
The biggest challenge facing many South Sudanese artists, including myself, is penetrating the regional and international market. So, in short, I am looking forward to the day that our music would be embraced by media and promoters in other countries. But of course, we do know that we have a long way to go to ensure such a success.
Looking at the local music scene, what would you say is the biggest problem?
I would say the lack of professionalism not just from the artists but the industry in general, including the media. This same lack of professionalism is being seen in the musicians’ union, which seems unsure of how to conduct its mandate. At this point, I do not think the union needs a leader who is a musician but rather a professional who understands the language of the industry. There are a lot of things happening today in the world of entertainment that 99% of the local entertainers are not aware of including payment of royalties, music streaming, etc. We need to be on toes if we must catch up with the rest of the region and eventually continent.
You are also an activist under the Anataban banner. Do you think that all artists have a responsibility to use their platforms to make a stand, or do you think it’s purely personal conviction?
I believe this comes with commitment and your responsibility as a citizen of country x or y. I am an activist because i am passionate about making my country better. My intentions come from a sincere place. I am a parent, and i believe it’s my responsibility to secure a better future for her. On that note, not all artists should be forced into activism; however, we must all use our platforms and influence to be better citizens of this country.
Which artists are you listening to at the moment?
They would be Mr.p, Yemi Alade, Petrah, TID, Gnako, and many more. It depends on my mood.
Looking forward, what are your plans, musically, for the next year?
Am doing a lot of collaborations right now and subsequently shooting videos. I just got done with two videos over the last two weeks. But the COVID-19 has slowed down other projects i had hoped to actualise this year. So i hope next year would be better. I would also like to encourage my fellow African artists not to give up on faith. We shall soon be able to stage huge concerts and travel for shows as before. A Luta Continua.
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