Theo leaves Malawi, to release new singles in UK

Theo Thomson is one of the greatest contemporary musicians to emerge from Malawi. Following the release of his debut album ‘Gypsy’ in 2010, he was marked as one artist who had Malawi’s R&B scene in the palm of his hand.

His singles such as ‘So Amazing’, ‘Kutentha’ ‘(On fire)’ and ‘Stutter’, which played a crucial role in shaping the face of Malawi urban music, receiving overwhelming requests on radio, Theo won the hearts of many music lovers across.

With ‘Kutentha’ and ‘Stutter’ featuring on top music video stations, among them Channel O and MTV, he caught an international eye and was invited to perform at Big Brother Africa (BBA) reality TV show, beamed to millions of viewers across Africa, the second Malawian artist to do so, after rapper Tay Grin.

Theo Thomson

Besides being a household name, the singer headlined various live performances on the local scene and apart from performing at the Lake of Stars international music festival twice (2010-11); Theo was among the local artists that curtain-raised US international singer, Sean Kingston’s Malawi show in Lilongwe last year.

Two years down the line, after releasing ‘Gypsy’, music lovers in the country have been keen to hear what the vocalist, dancer and record producer was bringing next on the menu. Last summer, he released ‘Summer Love’, a collaboration with Sonye and Kumbu, before dropping ‘Kadona’ (featuring Piksy).

In Queensland

Recently, the singer, owner of Blantyre-based Matalala Records left the country for the United Kingdom, where he is now based and is expected to drop new singles, understood “to be on his next album ‘Gypsy: Awake’”, though he refutes in an interview that it is “not an album it’s a promo CD for England.”

“I will have two or three old tunes and a lot of new tunes just to get people to know me this side,” says Theo in an online interview with Nyasa Times from his base in the UK, further disclosing “there’s 15 [songs] on the CD.”

The artist, who launched his music career in Britain, where he went at the age of thirteen and returned home in his early 20s, disclosed he called this project ‘Awake’ because ‘Gypsy’ was the first album that ignited his influence and allowed his artistry and fan base to grow as the industry slept on it.

Says he: “It is part of the ‘Gypsy’ series. ‘Gypsy: Awake’ is the move with purpose, bringing some of the songs from Gypsy, and a world of music the world has yet to hear. It is the metamorphosis, the growth, the evolution of a sound best described as Gypsy Music birthed of its originator Theo Thomson.”

So, what should Theo’s Malawian fans and out there expect from the singer who clearly claims he is not asleep but still awake? Is he re-establishing the roots he left during his stint in the Queen’s land?

“It’s raw, real emotion in stories told in a way only Theo Thomson can tell it, the powerful lyrical content, wordplay and rhyming schemes backed by hard hitting beats and soulful melodies with an undeniable African accent in the music.

“The Gypsy is Awake. Of course I’m here for a time, [but] I’m definitely coming back home. [I’m] just expanding my fan base, and shoot videos that DStv can acknowledge.”

Quoting his words, “…and shoot videos that DStv can acknowledge”, raised this reporter’s curiosity on what he meant, looking at the videos that he has produced locally and have made it Channel O and MTV.

Does it mean he can no longer produce videos that DStv can acknowledge from Malawi? He has this for an answer: “I’m just using what’s available to me here, using this experience to better what we have and what we can do back home, always looking to improve on what we have achieved.”

He says he is not releasing his next album any time soon.

Theo has worked with artists like Young Kay, Team Gypsy, Lomwe, Tay Grin, Tigris, Piksy and Sonye on the local scene while internationally he has had the chance to be featured on a song titled ‘Lake of Stars’ by UK’s well-known rapper Sway. He won the Best R&B in the 2011 Malawian Music Awards (MMA).

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