Lulu sets his ‘musical’ eyes on the international prize

The country’s renowned multi-talented and undoubtedly sizzling urban neo-afro-pop music prodigy, songwriter, composer, singer and producer Lulu, real name Lawrence Khwisa stands at the  epicentre of everything afro-Malawian music.

Lulu

Since the 2000’s the Mwachenjera Darling celebrated hit-maker has been living and defining the local music scene, armed with a sensational silky-smooth voice and above-average stage dancing antics coupled with dance floor fillers and a prodigious talent – Lulu is the real deal.

“I was struck by the power of music to entertain, inform, educate and inspire. I was fascinated by the sound of a guitar and the beating of the drum and I wanted to learn to play  every instrument and sing, it wasn’t easy but with hard work and dedication, I did,” says the Tsogolo Ndiliona music creator and performer.

‘The genesis’

It was listening to Hip-hop and RnB artists like R Kelly and Usher Raymond that made Lulu consider becoming an RnB music artist.

Lulu explains: “I wanted to be an RnB singer but then back in the day it was somewhat confusing. I knew exactly what I wanted to sound like as a Malawian RnB artist but there was no real musical accompaniment until he released his first, Magwiragwira, a song which immediately catapulted him to stardom.

“This song gave me this inkling that I wanted to express myself in wider way and therefore I decided to widen my musical net and I thus stretched to a variety of genres and created my own identity as a musician,” reminisces Lulu.

He adds: “But the idea of a young boy as unsullied as I was in the music industry trying to stamp an authority on Malawian afro-RnB genre was ridiculous – because we were supposed to follow what everyone was doing – playing along to the tunes and sounds of Balaka.”

The multi award-winning songbird, Lulu, a ridiculously skilful guitarist who from a young age made his own guitars from five litre gallons to wharf his sumptuous allure for the music instrument can be comfortably be described as ‘the boy who harnessed RnB in Malawi.

At a time when his mates and peers in the music industry were busy copying from the ‘big and established’ Malawian musicians, Lulu took a risk and went into an enchanted and untried waters and formed an RnB duo MaLuv with one-time singing sensation, Henry Chindime popularly known as Bleak in his music game and released hit RnB song iwe which propelled him to some greater musical heights.

“My seedling for music growth was fed by my desire to achieve the best in music and establish myself as one of the local household names.

“My life is like a script, and it has a strong baseline. It makes me visualise and think of my music in a more natural way and work hard to get the best in me,” says the Pemphero langa lyrist.

‘The revelation’

In the true spirit of the scene, Lulu was self-taught, learning his craft as he went playing his music, but he hit the Golan heights when wrote, arranged and sang an ear-conquering and heart-pleasing RnB banger, Mbambande and soon he was making strides in the music echelons.

The Lilongwe born and bred artist was on the front line and in the fast lane of his music explosion when he took stock of his music and decided to diversify his genre and never to restrict himself to RnB. He went gospel but at the same time singing urban secular afro-pop fused with traditional beats.

He quickly became a revelation.

Malawi’s all time great, Lucius Banda otherwise known as Soldier immediately spotted him as great talent and eloped him into his Zembani band.

While at Zembani band, Lulu upped his game and became one the best musician in the country and has consistently maintained that status quo for over a decade.

“When I joined Zembani, I wasn’t out of my depth, in as much as I wanted to be on my own doing my s***t but to be identified by someone like Lucius Banda as a special talent was quite humbling when most of the musicians were looking for a chance to get into Zembani and for me the opportunity came knocking.

“It was somewhat of a quantum leap. It was a dream to work with Lucius Banda who I have high regard for and he taught me a lot musically, the man is a legend. I gave my all and it paid dividends,” says Lulu.

‘The Exodus’

Lulu has worked with almost all musicians in the country and have collaborated with a remarkable number of famous musicians both in Malawi and across the border and it is not surprising that when any musician in the country is asked who their best musician in Malawi, they are all quick without batting a lid to mention Lulu’s name.

“Sometimes, I don’t believe what I hear about me and how good I am from the people I look up to. For me, I don’t think I am kind a special in any way, I am just blessed to have this talent and all I do is nurture my God’s given gift and I thank God for my fans,” said the Ana Ambiriambiri m’dzalera singer and instrumentalist.

Lulu, unlike other musicians, left Lucius Banda and Zembani Band on a good note and still has a good working relationship with his mentor and the band that gave him his big break through and a musical up-shoot but he now has his music outfit, Mathumela Band.

The boy who harnessed RnB in Malawi has visited several countries in Africa and Europe on a music sojourn plying his trade including Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, England, Scotland and Ireland among others.

And it’s time for Lulu take a move and a step ahead of his music.

‘The Acts’

Lawrence Khwisa is arguably one the best music act to have sprung from the Malawian soil in the modern times – he is a buffet of an artist and has the full package, he can compose songs, write lyrics, sing, arrange and produce his own and other people’s songs with a Midas touch.

Levi Msakambewa, Lulu’s local manager explains the musician is now ready to set to step up his game and conquer the international music market.

Msakambewa says: “Lulu has set his eyes on the international prize and he is ready to export his talent to the rest of the world.”

According to Msakambewa, Lulu has been spotted by a reputable international music management outfit who are interested to sign him to their music label.

“Lulu is ready and excited to take up the challenge. He is one the best music acts from the African soil, he has all it takes but a breakthrough and with this opportunity knocking on the door, Lulu is set to hit the music tide of his life.

“For now, I can not say much, but I can say without fear or contradiction that Lulu made an international breakthrough and that he is currently working on new songs for the new project,” said Msakambewa.

On his part, the soft-spoken Lulu said: “I have waited for this opportunity for a lifetime and I will give it all to put my motherland, Malawi on the world music map with the help of God, the giver of life. I am happy but at the same time nervous with the gigantic task ahead.”

Lulu, who is considered Malawi’s best talent of his generation who is already prepping for his new journey is expected to leave for the UK for contractual agreements.

“If there is any musician who can represent Malawi on a world stage then it is Lulu. The guy is a complete artist and a true definition of a talented musician,” said Msakambewa.

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Dips
Dips
3 years ago

The problem with Malawians is that sitikondwela ndi success ya zanthu. Anthu ngati Lulu ndi amene amaika Malawi pa map. Don’t let your silly personal vendettas bring someone down. Suck it up. Malawi atukuka bwanji tikapitilila kupondelezana chonchi.
Lulu it doesnt matter what people say about you because they can never take away that God given talent. Keep shining Madala and keep rising while the haters are stuck in one place hating.
To the haters I can only say let he who has never sinned before cast the first stone. No one is perfect

Billy Chilewani
Billy Chilewani
3 years ago

Lulu I love your music and wish you well. Control your drinking habits the sky will be the limit as you have a very melodious voice and the skills of playing most of the musical instruments. I am sure you can even learn new ones if given a chance to.
Fly the Malawian flag higher in those countries.

Pastor Lukaku
Pastor Lukaku
3 years ago

Wakulipirani zambiri Lulu. Kumuchekenira chonchi?

Wawo
Wawo
3 years ago

Give back the money you conned MISA Malawi for the Mzuzu show.You are a thief.

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