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Nothende has a word of advice for upcoming artists

2017-09-04 15:31

In a lengthy statement posted on social media, songstress Nothende used her own personal experience to warn upcoming artists about the dark side of showbiz.


My official statement: 'I Wanna Love You'

It is without prejudice or any malicious intent that I write this statement today.

In the wake of the current state of our music industry, coupled with my own personal experiences, I feel it is a duty of mine to make myself available for the sharing of truth, knowledge and insight to enlighten and educate young artists out there.

Before I give details on my experience pertaining to the song “I Wanna Love You”, I would like to make it known that I have – thus far – refused any media interview opportunity regarding the matter, because I want the story to be told directly by me.

I met Skhululo Mike ‘Lulo Café’ Maliwa in 2009, at a work event in Bloemfontein. He approached me about a collaboration and although I had never heard of him or his music before that day, I was open to hearing what he had to share. In February 2010, Lulo was ready to record and we soon went in studio to create what is known today as “I Wanna Love You”. It is to my understanding that the music production was done by Sipho ‘Psyfo’ Ngwenya. The lyrics and melody thereof were created by myself.

After the recording it was agreed by all 3 creators that the share splits would see my intellectual property (my creative contribution to the song) constituting 50% of the entire body of work, with both Psyfo and Lulo’s share equaling 25% each.

To put it simply, what this means is that income generated for the song would be payed out to each creative contributor according to their rightful share.

Lulo paid me R2000 for my time in studio and no further agreement or arrangement was made from that point – a mistake we both have admitted to making.

The song was released as Lulo Café’s first single for his sophomore album ‘What About Soul’. The album was released under Soul Candi Records, as part of a joint venture between them. Although I have never received statements from either Soul Candi or Lulo Café, I believe the physical sales of the album had reached 2000 copies in the first week – information Lulo himself shared publicly as seen below:

In 2011, the song was remixed and released internationally by US record label, Ocha Records.
In order for a label to get permission to use music originally released under another label, there has to be a licence granted and this usually includes a monetary transaction.
I began enquiring about the nature of this international deal, as I would rightfully be entitled to my share of the profits made in the process. I had a meeting with Soul Candi and was told that there was no money made from the deal – that it was just a great opportunity for both artist and label. I requested proof of this, to no avail. I also questioned sales royalties and was met with silence from both Lulo and Soul Candi.

Again, with no statements in my possession, it came to my knowledge, via a document published by Candice van Binsbergen, that the song was among the TOP 10 Most Downloaded songs of 2011 in SA, sitting at number 4. See document and details below:

I continued in my pursuit on the matter but was unfortunately met with bouts of silence from all parties involved. In 2014, in response to an email I had sent, Lulo reached out to me to claim that he had his own suspicions and is not certain about the real truth behind the money made from the song. However, no effort was made to discuss or resolve the matter.

In 2016, when I first made the news public knowledge, Soul Candi and Lulo finally reached out with a willingness to sort it out. We met in February 2017 and in that meeting Lulo claimed that he thought the money was all his but that he is willing to fix things and make all transparent. We even spoke about recording a new single together once the dust had settled.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse after this meeting. Lulo began claiming that he can only offer me 10% instead of the agreed 50%, because of recording and marketing expenses incurred on his behalf. I declined his offer and requested statements, of which I still have not received to this day.

Lulo Café then enlisted the services of a legal representative to intervene on his behalf. His lawyer requested a meeting, which I declined due to there having been a lack of consistency in communication and reasoning from Lulo. I repeatedly requested statements and proof of the apparent costs incurred, and was told that I have no legal claim to the statements or money, and that the 10% offer should basically be seen as a type of favour from Lulo. I was also indirectly threatened with lawsuits of defamation for my public posts on the matter.

It has become clear that neither Lulo Cafe nor Soul Candi are willing to practice the honesty and openness promised in our meeting. 
I have seen them enjoy the fruits of my labour, while I have suffered great depression from the experience. 
However, it is not just about the money. There is a general lack of respect that has been exhibited throughout the ordeal. It troubles me that a young black brother would go to such lengths to exploit his sister when he does not write, sing, perform, or even play an instrument to warrant his behaviour.

The fight has not ended. The matter is currently under investigation by industry organisations, and I am taking the necessary steps to ensure the right thing is done. 
I would, however, like to point out that I have never signed away my intellectual property rights to Lulo Café or Soul Candi. They therefore, do not have permission to use, distribute, sell or exploit my property without paying my rightful share.

In light of the experience, I have been motivated to develop an academy of learning for creatives - Heart 2 Art Academy. Although Heart2Art began as workshop in 2013, the need for music education has become stronger over time and I feel compelled to do something about it. 
I would advice Lulo or any other artist to truly educate themselves on intellectual property, their creative rights, the laws and rules. It is my wish to see us all practice a culture that respects and rewards creativity.

I would like to thank all my fans, my family & friends for the continued support and love. I have wanted to give up the fight many times, but you helped keep the fire burning.

Change soon come.

For now, aluta continua.

Peace & Love 

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