Some people are born to stand out while others are better off in the company of others. Musicians, both locally and abroad fall victim to this too, they either shine brighter in groups or better off being solo artists. Numerous bands have been formed in the hope of instant fame and fortune, selling platinum status records, winning over millions of fans and winning numerous awards as well as touring the world. During the formative stages of these bands, members are filled with enthusiasm, drive, and are hungry to make it in this cut throat industry. Often, after the release of one single or one album, news of a break up may surface. This has been a trend with bands like Adilah, Afrozee, Tyte, Ashaan, Abashante, among others. We often wonder what could the reasons be for these bands to disband, we hear of infighting, egos, and pursuit of growth in solo careers.
Apathy towards the music sometimes is the reason bands disband, some individuals tend to be uncomfortable with music genre the group is taking. Many feel misrepresented and consequently fall out of love with the music. A soul singer like Maleh might not be comfortable in a kwaito group like Queens Of Dance, same goes for a pop star like Kelly Khumalo in a rock band like the Graeme Watkins Project. Varied tastes are hard to maintain and incorporate. Some individuals will have a hard time compromising and decide it’s best they leave the group. The pursuit of a solo career is one popular reason groups like Bongo Maffin, Boom Shaka, Morafe and Skwatta Kamp have went their separate ways.
Many artists are a balance of abilities and egos which can be detrimental to the group’s success. Some members will always shine brighter than others, it happens often that one member is amazingly talented and sure knows how great they are and how much of an asset they are in the group, these are the people that make or break bands. Bongo Maffin has seen Speedy leave, there were rumours that he left as he felt stifled.
Other bands feel comfortable being a backing group to incredible talent, ever wondered what would happen to Maroon 5 if Adam Levine would leave? Or how Destiny’s Child would be like without Beyonce if they were to get back together? When other group members feel unappreciated chances are they will find their way out and pursue solo careers. Differences like overlooking talent in a band is detrimental to it’s survival and the group risks losing its pillar. Insufficient financial incentives also affect the longevity of a band. Time, effort and money are spent in ensuring that the band survives. Gigs could be scarce and the money has to be split among the members and probably pay backing vocalists too and dancers. Time could be dedicated to making the band a success, some even quit their ‘normal jobs’ with the hope of making it big in the music industry, only to struggle to make ends meet and decide to later to quit music because of financial constraints.
Sometimes other factors like family could affect the survival of bands, some are devoted fathers and mothers, lovers and sisters. One would refuse to go for weeks on end being apart from their families. A question of loyalty may arise, putting the band in an uncomfortable situation, given ultimatums they would undoubtedly choose their families or whatever is as esteemed to them. Artistic differences are the biggest deal breakers, with one artist having a problem with the others style of play or vocal ability. Egos will clash, personalities will clash and heads will swell, leaving some feeling inferior and undermined. It could be the song writing, the composition, arrangement, or entire execution of a song that could cause such differences. These groups can decide to part ways amicably and pursue successful solo careers or diminish altogether. South Africa’s first ever Coca Cola Popstars 101, made up of Pam Andrews, Kurt Herman, Erin Samson, Preston Sihlangu and Ntumiseng Mokhasipe announced their break up within a year of having released their album, due to infighting. They exuded all stardom qualities; beauty, style, beautiful voices and charisma, but they never lasted together.
Adilah followed suit, with Thembisile Ntaka being the only one with a successful solo career of the five. Jamali is one of the few South African pop bands that has been together for ten years without any breaking up.*side eyes* Ghetto Lingo. Freshly Ground is still standing and doing well.
Once upon a time, there was Boom Shaka, which later parted ways. All members have enjoyed relative levels of success in enetertainment. Thembi Seete is a business woman, singer and actress. Theo is a singer. We don’t know where Junior is. Kwaito outfits, Trompies and TKZee have been on and off, giving each other time and spaces to grow in their respective paths and getting back together to deliver to their fans. It is the same about Afro-pop group Mafikizolo, which has numerous awards, both its members have two albums each respectively as solo artists.
Teargas, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and new groups The Muffins, and The Soil are some the bands we hope to hear from for the longest time, the music they create as a collective is beautiful. They all come and go, we’ll still listen, after all, music is what we are after.
Bonnie is an intern at Jucy Africa, she is into fashion, music and all things beautiful. On twitter she is @BonnieMes