Elijah Kitaka has been known for co-founding the Annual Jazz & soul safari, a premium sold-out calendar concert held in Kampala now in its 7th year having been a presenter of Jazz Evenings, a weekly show on Radio One FM 90 for 11 years now.
As if that’s not enough, the start-up entrepreneur and old-time Googler is about to take his passion for African creatives to the next level with his latest project — Fezah — that he has co-founded. Fezah is a new network of African talent supporters started in February this year with the objective of raising money, and through partnerships reduce costs for African musicians, film makers, and fine artists to make their new projects happen.
We did catch up with Elijah over an email interview to better understand want Fezah is and what the prospects are.
Why are you doing crowd funding with artists and not other sectors? Is it limited to Ugandan artists?
What we are doing is; building a community of African talent supporters. Crowd funding is the first filter we are experimenting with to screen who the supporters are. We want to identify fans with a paying culture and build a community through which we can support African talent. We started with music because of my own background. I’ve been doing the Jazz Evenings radio show on Radio One for the last 11 years. I also co-founded the Jazz Safari. My commitment to growing / promoting talent already attracts a good number of upcoming musicians to me. My radio show gives me access to a fan base. These factors made music in Uganda a good minimum viable market segment for us to start with.
Is this springing from the challenges that the music industry is facing that’s piracy and lack of CD sales? In other words is this another avenue that artists can generate income for their products?
It springs from the demand I’ve seen first hand. In a regular month I’ll receive quite a few demo songs or CDs from musicians that are looking for air play or sponsor intros. A large number of these artists are going unnoticed and unsupported, some with real good talent or potential. Our objective is to increase their chances of making their dreams or new projects happen, and additionally increase earnings once project costs are met and product is ready. Piracy could reduce as a result of how convenient FEZAH will make it for fans to be part of the creation of material from inception (way before pirates get a hold of material) but that’s not our primary objective.
How many artists/projects do you’ve so far and of these have you had a successful crowd-funded project yet?
We have currently published 3 artists running 3 projects. We have a waiting list with about 11 projects. Micheal Kitanda’s debut album project has made the most progress, currently at 71% funded. You can look at project stats at http://fezah.com/projects/.
What are your future plans?
We are open about our lessons, risks, and immediate future objectives and key results (OKRs). We have just published out quarter one review which includes our OKRs for the next 3 months. Please read through the post at http://blog.fezah.com/archives/51 for details.