Africa Unsigned arrives in the UK

13 Jul

Africa Unsigned is one of the newest platforms breaking African musicians onto the global music scene. It arrived in the UK last month, and has everyone on the UK African music scene talking. We wanted to find out more, so we met with the founder, Pim Betist, who told us what African Unsigned is,  the artists they support and the music that inspires them. Read on….

Interview with Pim Betist, Founder of Africa Unsigned

What is the song that moves your soul?

Fela Kuti “Water No Get Enemy”

List three African musicians/bands/groups that impress you the most.

Oliver Mtukudzi

Femi Kuti

Afrikan Boy

What is Africa Unsigned?

Africa Unsigned uses crowdfunding to record, promote and distribute music played by a selection of unsigned African musicians.

Fans who have signed up to the website can make a donation to become a ‘supporter’ of the artist. All artists are encouraged to set themselves targets of between $1000 – $10,000 for crowd funding and once this is reached, they are offered an opportunity to either record tracks in a studio, record video clips, invest in a tour or even buy new equipment. Supporters then receive music and rewards, which can include items such as free gig tickets or exclusive content.

What makes Africa Unsigned so great?

The unique way of connecting with the musicians and their music. Supporting an artist creates a connection that is different than adding a friend on facebook. Your pound accumulates to a substantial amount which has a serious impact on the artist’s career.

What motivated you to start Africa Unsigned?

Before I started Africa Unsigned I created SellaBand, a European based online crowd funding label. SellaBand had already seen more than $3 million invested in unsigned talent and around 50 artists crowd funded $50,000 to record and release their first albums.

I wanted to move more towards music closer to my heart and I was inspired by a Jamaican taxi driver who couldn’t join Sellaband due to a lack of recording facilities and internet access. I chose to focus on the African continent because of the diversity of African music and abundance of highly talented artists.

How long has Africa Unsigned being going?

We’ve been going for a year and have crowdfunded around $30.000. We released our first album on 23rd June 2011, by Kenyan soul and gospel singer Neema.

What has been one of your biggest challenges for Africa Unsigned and what have you learnt?

The cultural differences. The most important lesson I have learned is to always take the time to understand each other’s back ground and culture before jumping to conclusions or pushing for results.

List three African musicians/bands/groups we should be keeping our eyes out for?


Rina Mushonga

Jack Nkanga

Africa Unsigned is coming to the UK – tell us more about what you’re hoping to achieve?

Up until now we have only been focusing on African artists who live and work in Africa. From now on we will also be welcoming African artists based in the UK. We are in search of The New African Sound and we believe it is present both in Africa and amongst artists in the diaspora.

And finally, what would be your single message of advice for musicians in Africa?

My advice to artists in general is that good things take time. It makes no sense to adapt to what you assume to be in demand. Stay true to your music.


2 Responses to “Africa Unsigned arrives in the UK”

  1. Sound Recording Equipment December 24, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    I would love to share your Awesome Site to my friends on Facebook, allow me to do that?

    • outofafricauk January 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Hey, thanks loads for enjoying our site. Unfortunately, it looks like you’re only able to facebook like our blog. Stay in touch, and let us know which Africa related arts events, artists, musicians, etc you’re interested in and want to know more about. Happy New Year!

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