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Why Bien Aime is not all for record labels

Bien Aime Baraza of award winning music band Sauti Sol has urged local artistes not to depend on record labels to be successful.

The singer has said the most important thing for artistes is to cultivate a strong fan base and not to be overly dependent on music labels.

“Artistes right now do not need to be signed to labels to be successful,” Bien said while explaining why Sauti Sol terminated its contract with Universal Music Africa (UMA), a division of one of the world’s largest music labels Universal Music Group.

He said the group made the decision to terminate that contract so as to focus on themselves and their record label Sol Generation. Sauti Sol were signed by Universal Music Africa in 2020.

“What happened is that our contract at Universal had reached its expiry date and it was either we sign a new contract or terminate the one we had. In our own wisdom we thought it was best we do not renew our contract with Universal Music and go independent,” Bien said.

“I cannot say that we had a bad relationship it has been great and our split was amicable. But what I can say is that the things I got when signed under Universal I can still get them as an independent artiste,” he explained.

One of the group’s most popular albums titled Midnight Train was produced by Universal records. But now Bien says they are working on another solo album for Sauti Sol that will be produced under Sol Generation. However, he said, they will continue working with other international labels when it comes to music distribution.

“Right now we are doing another independent solo album for Sauti Sol, but we will definitely collaborate with other major labels when it comes to the music distribution. Now we are producing all our music under our music record label Sol generation,” he said.

“After working with Universal I realised something going international has nothing to do with whom you work with. It is all in the mind and as an artiste you need to be able to elevate yourself to that kind of mind-set.”