We admire PrayerSoul for being focused on his brand and never swaying so as to fit into another fad even when it seemed he wasn’t getting the recognition he deserved. PrayerSoul is a Zimbabwean Neo-Soul Artist who’s toured most of Europe and ventured into the business of Entertainment quite successfully. On his birthday weekend, he was kind enough to share his time to answer some of the Music Business questions I’ve always had for him; artist to artist.
Mellow Creme: If you had 30 seconds to pitch yourself to the world what would you say?
My name is PrayerSoul. I’m an entertainer and my job is to create unforgettable memories through entertainment. If you have another two minutes I’ll start with a song.
MC: So, what have you been up to since the release of your last album?
“Since the 2018 release of the album ‘While I was away’ I’ve been pushing various marketing platforms. The way music is being consumed is in smaller doses now. We have gone back to the singles era when people remembered the song more than the album, therefore, it is not advisable to release an album because nowadays people’s concentration span is shorter. This just doesn’t go for music but media as a whole. When I released my last album, I was very conscious of this and also intentional.”
I believe I had enough songs to push a second project. Been doing a lot of performances to help pull my audiences to this new music.
“I have some really good songs, one of which is called Completely, which was a local hit and the most requested song when I was on tour. My audience has grown and I think this is mainly because I don’t just sell music but an experience.”
MC: I know you’ve also been busy in the business of entertainment. Tell us more about this.
Oh Yes! As much as I love performances I’ve also invested in my events business. I relaunched CitiSessions and it is now a monthly show. We are going to franchise this to other African states starting with Uganda then South Africa.
MC: For the benefit of those who don’t know, what is CitiSessions?
CitiSessions is a monthly live music event. It is intentionally curated to serve an entertainment experience like no other. If public gatherings come back by November I’m launching another event with some partners.
MC: A lot of more established local artists I interact with have complained about music not being a viable career path and they wish they hadn’t invested so much time and energy in it. On the other hand, I have seen you make a living, get married and raise a family through your Art. What would you say is your secret?
I think perspective is a big part of it Mellow. Success is based on perception and perspective more than the environment. Zimbabwean Artists like Winky D and Jah Prayzah have proven that you can make a living in this same environment that we say is not good. They have evolved, started businesses, employed people, bought properties and raised families. I believe artists need to approach their music as a business, and that is what I have done. Another one of my businesses is The Cookout, though not directly related to my music it is close to my passion, which is, entertainment. If you really believe in your craft and if you are as good as you say you are then there is no reason why your fans won’t pay for your creation.
Simple business mathematics comes to play here. Find out what it costs to run your music as a business. Then work on creating a worthwhile experience to sell to your fans. Let’s say you have 1000 followers on social media, try and convince at least 100 of them to come to your show at Alliance Francaise for example and to pay $5 to watch you perform.
Then viola! Before expenses, you have $500. You can sell drinks and merchandise that night and add more to your turnover. You keep doing these shows (some free and promotional) and as you build your fanbase you work more at convincing someone to dedicate their time and actually dress up to come to a night with you and for them to pay you, to entertain them. 10 paying fans lead to 20, 50, 100 and maybe 1000 one day.
If you really believe you have what it takes and have a great product then you should be able to sell it.
Understand your craft and the audience it attracts. My music is Neo-Soul and might not attract thousands to my show as Zim Dancehall would. So I work on giving an amazing experience that will attract a high-end market who are willing to pay more than an average local ticket knowing that they will get a more than average local performance.
MC: What is your definition of success and have you achieved it yet?
Success to me is an ongoing achievement of set goals. Five years ago there were things I set out to achieve. After achieving them I realized that I wanted more. Success to me is being able to help others using my privilege. That is why I started the PrayerSoul Foundation where I donate some proceeds to take underprivileged kids to school and help put food on their tables.
We not only hope that PrayerSoul achieves his definition of success and becomes what he has set out to be but that his insight has inspired you to do the same. I know it has to me. You can follow PrayerSoul and all his ventures on social media: @prayersoulmusic, @thecookoutzw and @citisessionszw and www.prayersoul.com.