Known for his artistic presentation for his music and unique collaborations Shumba Maasai is an up and coming independent artist who is making waves in the creative scene. I have watched him perform live and he has always provided an experience whether he performs live, or listening to his songs or watching visuals. As an African he has exposed our culture to a different scene within the diaspora and its amazing to see him represent Africa to a different audience. Shumba is part of the Plus Trbe collective, a family of composers, producers, sound designers and artists with a vision of promoting elevation & fulfilment.
So what is SOMA? Plus Trbe who have been releasing records since 2015 describe SOMA as a collaboration between artist Shumba Maasai and producer Hermes. It’s focus is to lay carefully crafted, sui-generis sonics as a base for culturally resonant subject matter.
Checkout Africa caught up with Shumba Massai to get a little more of an understanding of the man behind the project and his experience during the production of the TOTKO II, especially after the success of TOTKO the first ep from SOMA that amassed over 100 000 plays off DSPS including a peak spot of #14 on spotify’s UK Viral Top 50.
Q:Tell us how the collaboration came about?
A:The collaboration came about very naturally. I’ve been making music with Hermes for about 8 years so we’ve both grown in similar trajectories. Hermes produced my very first solo ep ‘Project H’ in 2013 then we did a joint project TOTKO in 2016. Through the Plus TRBE family we have all just been growing as individual artists so we decided to drop another joint just because of the way we create these records is truly a collaboration from the production to the poetry.
Q:Where was the inspiration drawn from for the video?
A:The video came about through my friend Pierre who directed a short film called ‘Mafala’ whilst in Mozambique he said he wanted me to do the soundtrack for it and ‘Rude boy’ just clicked. But we wanted to tell the story of how people in Africa are dying to come to the western world and how over here we are still not happy. We wanted to tell that story for the video. Big shout out to Abdusilms and Demi Gosh for helping bring the vision alive.
Q: What effect would you like the visuals to have on your audience?
A: I would like for them to take their own perspective though I would like to highlight the differences in the western world and Africa, how people’s perception differ and that the grass is not always greener. It is definitely a message to the motherland about the experiences that the diasporas go through in the west.
Q: The most memorable moment you had during the production of this project.
A: I’d say probably the writing and recording process of the songs coming together and coming to life is a great feeling.
Q: Describe the type of musician you are?
A:I am pan african first and my music follows through on that – Am inspired by Marcus Garvey’s message and try to create works that push his message forward. I like to describe the music i make as Afro-Phych i make african music from the core but try to experiment and progress the sound.
Q: What are the positives and negatives that come with being an independent artist?
A: The main positive is that all the music and work i create will belong to me and will remain in my family lineage until the end of time – to me that’s very important. Another is that i get the chance to learn about every aspect of the industry i’m in from creating records, mixing, mastering, public relations shows and more – this is valuable knowledge that no one can ever take from me. The negatives are it makes things harder without the major backing but I also found that it makes me more creative and resourceful.
Q:What do you want to be remembered for as an artist?
A: As a true contributor to the advancement of the African continent and Diaspora. As a pioneer who always worked to innovate and push ideas forward.
Q: What should we look forward to from you?
A: More music, more experiences and events – we wanna go global and connect the diaspora with the continent. I have an exhibition on 21-27 September presented by Ancestral futures curated by Kanaiza a multi sensory listening experience.
Checkout Africa is delighted to premiere the Rudeboi Video and I love the visuals. Watch the Video Here: