Music

There's more to life than making music, there's making money: AKA

26 November 2017 - 00:02 By Leonie Wagner
Rapper AKA says artists need to cut loose from the record labels and agents that bleed them dry.
Rapper AKA says artists need to cut loose from the record labels and agents that bleed them dry.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

Kiernan Forbes, better known as AKA, has spent the past decade carving out a spot at the pinnacle of South Africa's music industry. He now wants to help prevent other South African personalities from being "ripped off" by record labels and "terrible" management deals.

Since releasing his first album in 2011, AKA has worked hard to get to where he is today.

On Thursday the multiple award-winning rapper, who has collaborated with international stars like Kanye West and Snoop Dogg and has sponsorship deals with brands like Reebok and Cruz vodka, will launch his latest business venture, Beam Digital.

AKA’s fave things include his gold teeth.
AKA’s fave things include his gold teeth.
Image: Supplied

The idea is that celebrities in all fields will communicate directly with their fans via mobile phone, cutting out agents and other middlemen.

It's a change of pace for the Baddest hitmaker, who is notorious for his brash comments and "beefs" with other artists.

He said going into business had put him in a happier place because "there's more to life than just making music - there's making money".

For a monthly R10 subscription fee, fans will get regular "personalised" text messages, voice calls, videos and pictures on their phones. The celebrities build a database of followers that they can present or sell to brand marketers.

We've been bled dry for way too long. It's time for us to smarten up and realise we can't sing songs forever
AKA

AKA said many artists and celebrities died poor, despite illustrious careers, because they were tied in to management deals that gave agents or record labels the bulk of the profit.

"People need to become owners," he said. "We've been bled dry for way too long. It's time for us to smarten up and realise we can't sing songs forever ... What am I going to do - perform and perform for the next five years?"

AKA said it was now six years since his first album and he should not still be "flying up and down this country performing five times a weekend".

"Yes, it's great money, things are great, but I want to spend more time with my daughter."

AKA, who charges up to R130,000 per show, has a massive following on social media along with his girlfriend, media personality Bonang Matheba. He said he was "in a good space" thanks to having left record company Vth Season to start his own.

"It's [because I am] in control of my own money. You can find a correlation ... it's no coincidence that when I was back there [Vth Season], not controlling my own money, that I was unhappy and negative and aggressive, and now when I am in control of my money, that I'm positive and happy. I was an angry person because I didn't control my own destiny. Now I control my destiny and I'm happy."

AKA, who turns 30 next year, said he might want to have more children. "How am I going to do that with the pressure to have hot music, and the only thing that is going to sustain me is whether I have hot music for the rest of my life. That's ridiculous, it sounds stupid. I will make hot music for the rest of my life, but I won't have to."


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