By Nyambe Felix
The fusion of rhythm and blues, affectionately known as R&B in global music circles, has, arguably, brought freshness to most music genres, Zambiaâ€™s kalindula inclusive.
From the glory days of Zam-rock, Zambia is witnessing yet another switch to some thrilling music genre, R&B.
Most Zambian artistes like JK, Saty-K and late P-Jay, have also gone extra miles and creatively mixed some more inviting beats with their indigenous music.
But without taking anything away from the existing local R&B singers, Sekwilasaint is one of the new R&B revelations with something refreshing for his fans.
Although initially he was influenced by those sleek social commentary songs made popular by the likes of Alubusu and Joe Chibangu, today, the young artistes is simply up-beat.
A product of the Zambia Open Community School and Kamwala High School, Sekwilasaint, 24, is an amazing talent. His father is the indefatigable radio figure, James Mwila Kwalala.
Inspired by the ingenuity and versatility of another pop/R&B mega star, Lionel Richie, Sekwilasaint came out of the cocoonÂ to embrace music seven years ago.
â€œI was ever listening to the music of such great artistes as Lionel Richie and gospel music by Don Moen,â€ he said.
His initial visit to the recording studio was a casual walk into Hyper Records situated in Chilenje South, Lusaka, where he bumped into Winston Moyo.
After witnessing some refined recordings by Moyo, who was working on some songs with Lily T at the time, Sekwilasaint developed the desire to record his own music.
In 2008, just before he sat for his grade nine examinations,Â Sekwilasaint sneaked into Hyper Record studio and attempted to produce his maiden single.
He produced a love song, Kusanga, amid stiff competition from other R&B artistes such as Wonder Boy and JK.
With radio stations, save for Hone FM, snubbing the song, Sekwilasaint was undaunted by the outcome and decided to move on.
â€œI guess I liked what I saw and heard and decided to re-visit the studios, only this time I was attracted by artistes signed under Kâ€™s Record Studio,â€ he said.
Having qualified to grade 10, Sekwilasaintâ€™ s studio performance was buoyed by his academic achievement.
And through interaction with other artistes, he was introduced to producer, Jerry Fingers of Flatline studio.
Fingers, who has produced most ofÂ the songs for the incarcerated artiste, â€˜Generalâ€™ Kanene, is one of the people behind Sekwilasaintâ€™s blossoming career.
â€œBut in 2010, with music on hold, due to my impending final exams, I took leave to concentrate on my studies,â€ Sekwilasaint, the eighth in a family of nine, said.
Two yearsÂ after completing school, the young R&B singer worked as a shop attendant for Clever Wholesalers in Lusaka.
The move was necessitated by the artisteâ€™s need to raise money for studio fees.
His first attempt at a â€œrealâ€ studio experience was at Trixter under the watchful eye of producer Trixter, the man behind the latest songs of Dalisoul Mwana Wamukomboni.
Under Trixter studios, Sekwilasaint has recorded songs that haveÂ caught the eyes of most R&B lovers, including fellow artistes.
His distinctive and defining track titled Nivomele features P-Jay, the artiste who died last December.
â€œMy songs such as â€˜Independenceâ€™, â€˜Petticoatâ€™ and â€˜Dialled Callâ€™ were all recorded with Trixter,â€ he revealed.
He features GYK on the song Petticoat, while upcoming singing songbird Ray-C makes some cameo appearance on Dialled Call.
Some of Sekwilasaintâ€™s latest songs that will make up his debut album include Bit By Bit, Twasa (featuring Masanko) and Chifwambo (featuring Petersen Zaga Ze).
Music freaks who thronged the Lusaka Showgrounds last June to celebrate Komboni Radioâ€™s first anniversary sampled some of the singerâ€™s songs.
By Nyambe Felix