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Why Afrobeats cannot die – Richardine Bartee

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Richardine Bartee

It is no longer news or debatable in any form that Nigerian home-brewed genre of music, Afrobeats has secured its place as an item on the world’s menu of music. But since nothing truly lasts forever concerns have been expressed in different quarters as to the future of the genre.

But African American Richardine Bartee, a member of The Grammys Recording Academy who has done outstanding work with labels such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group and MTV dispels all fears concerning the biggest Nigerian musical export to the world.

In a recent interview, the music guru of Liberian descent expressed her optimism concerning the genre and future of African music at large.

“Based on music history and what happens in American pop culture, most things have their moment. It’s what we refer to as an era, or something had its “15-seconds of fame”. Nothing lasts forever in its original form, and it shouldn’t. Human life is ever-evolving, and it would be a pity if it did. Like the Christ Redeemer Statue is to Brazil, Afrobeats will always be synonymous with Africa. I hope that Afrobeats, in the future, gets coupled with how it affected Diaspora people and encouraged them to learn more about their ethnic backgrounds and visit the land. Afrobeat cannot die in its true form, it can only evolve.”

Afrobeats is rapidly gaining worldwide recognition and Richardine is just all fired up about this, especially as she has worked with huge African artistes like Davido, Eddy Kenzo, and recently, the emerging Nigerian artist, Oxlade.

Despite the high demand for Afrobeats, and as an industry expert who has worked with lots of emerging acts, Richardine offered some sage advice about the spotlight that’s shining on Afrobeats and how artistes can maximise the incoming attention.

“I think all African artists should understand that they are in demand now, so they have leverage. It is a business, and everyone isn’t as kind as you are. Some people are looking to get ahead or misuse you if you’ll let them. Don’t take the first opportunity that comes your way but if that first opportunity is the one you’ve been dreaming of as an artist, do your best to negotiate the best deals with an attorney, a lawyer or legal aide”

Richardine’s passion about pushing Afrobeats has her well aware that aside the music giants such as Davido, Burna Boy and more getting their music played internationally, there are a lot more undiscovered artists waiting to be heard and her desire to be a part of the voices amplifying the genre is somewhat linked to the fact that she is of Liberian descent.

“My plan is to push the culture forward. I think it is in my blood. My father was passionate about Africa, especially Liberia. I think that the only way to help Liberia, in any way, is to help everyone,” she said in an interview with kuulpeeps.com

For more than ten years, Richardine Bartee has been promoting music, particularly of the obscure artistes who are disadvantaged by many mitigating factors. And she explains how she has been doing this, regardless of the attendant challenges.

“I have access to music industry professionals. I get to help change music laws through my activism. I get invited to the Grammy’s. I get aid from MusiCares, enjoy discounts on music-related tools and instruments. I get access to private panels and programming. I can be a GRAMMY U mentor, go to dinners with other women in music, etc,”

Richardine Bartee is based in New York home but originally from Liberia. She was born November 15, 1985 in New York City.

She has worked with major American record labels (“The Big 3”). Some of the other labels or imprints include Roc Nation, Group, Interscope Records, Quality Control, RCA, Epic Records, etc., and some international labels to give feedback about their artists frequently.

She also used to write for MTV, where she covered international multi-language speaking artists and had a focus on Hip-Hop and EDM. She has also written feature articles for Myspace, The Source and Hot 97’s DJ Enuff, who was Biggie’s DJ.

She is a member of the Recording Academy, a GRAMMY U Mentor, part of Complex Day Ones, which is an exclusive community to help make complex experiences better. She’s also a part of the Female Founder Collective.

Her blog “GRUNGECAKE” has been recognized as the number 3 blog to find new Hip-Hop tracks on Hypebot. Before forming GRUNGECAKE ten years ago, she founded two-three other companies. One of them was a graphics design business called Booby Trap Design and another was 9267 Studios, which spells out YAMS on the dial pad.


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