Hazel Mak is one of Malawi’s Top Female Musicians. The super talented singer songwriter with a remarkable voice has been performing since the age of 11 and has made a name for herself as one of Malawi’s coolest R ‘n’ B exports. Now based in the UK, she has travelled the world recording and performing with the likes of Tinie Tempa, Tuface, Hip Hop Pantsula, Blasto, The Very Best, Oliver Mtukudzi, and Maskal to name but a few.
Hazel, welcome to Populaire Life.
Thank you, glad to be here.
How did you make your start into music?
Performing has always been a part of my life from an early age, I remember standing on my mother’s coffee table, pretending to be Whitney Houston. My father then enrolled me into performing arts school when we moved from Namibia to Ivory Coast. I guess I was born this way.
What are your musical influences and is Malawian/African music one of these?
My musical influences really stem from where ever I find inspiration, whether it be at the Living Room (Malawian live music venue) or listening to Brenda Fassie classics! Life and people influence my music!
Which Local and International artists did you look up to when you were growing up?
Locally I will and have always looked up to Dominant 1, The Very Best, Lulu, Serious and Neil. I must say I do like Ethel Kamwendo and Wendy Harawa too. Internationally, Asa, Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chakachaka, Angelique Kidjo and Grace Kelly.
“LIYAYA” is a great single, what was the inspiration behind the song?
I wanted to make a song that was timeless and will always be remembered as a Malawian song.
Your Video for “LIYAYA” is so well directed how much creative input do you have in your videos?
I am a very hands-on artist and take my art very seriously! I’m there from the very beginning from the basic idea to the lighting of the shots to the final edit. Honestly, if I could do it myself I would lol. I make my own jewelry and some times outfits too…so yeah I’m pretty hands-on.
You are a fashion killer, how would you describe your fashion sense?
Ha! I’m a bit of a boho chick some days, some days I’m in trainers and some days I am in full on African gear! It really just depends on my mood and how late I’ll be especially when I can’t decide on what to wear.
I read recently that you felt that female musicians in Malawi aren’t given enough assistance. What changes would you like to see in the Malawian music Industry to improve this?
Hmm the Malawian music industry is still at a very embryonic stage so to be fair gender issues within it are a reflection of our society! The way I see it, as a female musician you are simply underrated just because you are a woman and you’re judged based on narrow-minded caveman-like stereotypes, which I honestly find ridiculous! I think girls need to be raised to be go getters and women should believe that they can achieve anything; that marriage isn’t the only thing they should aim for and that’s what I want to promote, that’s who I am! I try to be as true as I can be with myself by not shying away from things that bother me! I have made it this far because I see it as a challenge and I will not stop pushing myself. I want to be an example to all those girls out there that being born a girl is the best because when you finally achieve your goals you look back and realise that there are no boundaries and limits if you chose to persevere through it all.
What are you up to at the moment and what are your plans for the future?
I’m actually finalising my project for 2016. We like to work ahead so all the tracks are ready and we are now shooting the videos. I have exciting features too with artists from Zambia, Nigeria, UK and Zimbabwe all out this year! This year is just about improving my sound, pushing boundaries, crossing over into different territories and being the female voice in the Malawian music industry that represents Malawi internationally. It’s about world domination.
How do you use social media? Please give us all your social media platforms so we can share your music and upcoming gig dates.
I try to stay in contact with all the Kings and Queens that have supported me via my online platforms.
Every thing you need to know will be shared on those pages.
Finally can I get a quote from you? Ideally, one that incorporates your ethos and that might inspire budding artists.
Life is an experience. Everything in it is created by you therefore you are the master of your universe. If that is so then why not follow that ‘ridiculous’ dream and make it come true! Life is too short to not experience it to its fullest. Work hard, dream harder and always pray for guidance. God always responds.
Hazel, thanks so much for sharing this with Pupulairlife.co.uk.