We are excited to introduce Family in Music's very own VJ/presenter, Chico Muya. At Family in Music he will be guiding our audience through their development through our video content and sharing more of his own experiences in the process.
Having spent most of his formative years in Durban and Cape Town, Chico has currently made Helsinki his home. Coming from a family of musicians Chico is an active singer-songwriter in his own right, and you might recognise him from the Voice of Finland or the Voice South Africa. Chico's music is characterised by his sunny and soulful disposition and has been compared to the likes of Ed Sheeran and John Mayer. From the first moment of meeting him, his smile becomes unforgettable. At Family in Music he will be guiding our audience through their development in music and sharing more of his own experiences in the process.
Here we got to know more about Chico's story, the story behind his music and what he is up to next.
I started off being interested in music through my two older brothers, who are both quite musical. When I learned how to play (and sing) more than one song on the guitar, I began trying my luck in open mics – until I got comfortable performing in front of people. At the moment, I feel completely at home in front of an audience. I’m competent in my craft, and I know what I’m doing on stage. I’m also way more aware (and critical) of my short comings; whether its technical or marketing related.
A few months after I made the decision to take music more seriously (while I still lived in South Africa), I had been emailing different venues every day – trying to get paid shows. In a moment of nonchalance, I decided to email one of the biggest event companies in my city at the time. To my absolute amazement, they replied. More than that, they offered me a chance to be an opening act for a massive South African band. There I was, a couple months after starting my music career, playing to a crowd of over two thousand people! That moment touched me deeply and showed me that anything was possible.
Seeing any artist performing live, causing people to feel, always inspired me. Having said that, before knowing who Ed Sheeran was, I stumbled upon a televised performance of his. I saw one man, with one guitar, entertaining thousands of people. To say I was fired up is an understatement.
I use Spotify to discover new music nowadays. I go out of my way to listen to artists who have less than a million monthly listeners. The world is full of incredibly talented people who are not “superstars” just yet. To find new artists, I usually let the discover weekly playlist play throughout the day; following artists whose song stands out to me. The next day, I go on each artists profile I recently started following and I shuffle their playlist. If I really dig them, they gain a new fan in me and I even follow them on social media- mostly Instagram. If they really impress me, after listening to their music, I will follow Spotify’s suggestion of other musicians who sound similar to that particular artist. Then the process repeats itself.
I’ve been listening to an artist called Maya Delilah. Her music is soulful with an underlining current of R&B and pop. The warm tone of her guitar makes her short bursts of solo’s that much sweeter. Her music is like a warm bed on a cold day. All of that in combination with her quirky personality make her a prime candidate, in my opinion. She may not be mainstream, but I think she’s slowly finding her audience.
I would like to see it become substantially easier for musicians to make a living through their craft. Whether its through some sort of blockchain system, a platform that makes it easier for artists to get in contact with the right people, or a streaming service that is willing to pay musicians more. Basically, anything that makes becoming an artist a little easier.
My advice would be to ease into it. Start slow, just have fun. Find a musical community. A community is one of the most important things. Being a musician can feel quite lonely at times. Write songs and have a good time doing it. Then start putting yourself out there. I would suggest starting off in open mics. It’s a safe space to start trying out some of those songs you’ve been writing, or the covers you’ve be practicing. Doing this often will build your confidence. Get someone to film you and then watch it back. See how you can improve. Ask for advice from people who are further along than you. While doing this, try and represent your journey through social media in some way. After all that, it’s time to take the next step… Start charging people for your performances! I have simplified everything here and made it seem pretty linear. It doesn’t always work out this way. But this is my off the cuff advice.
I’m currently in the process of rebranding myself. I’m working on some of those weak spots I mentioned earlier. I’m also recording a new EP at the moment, which I’m incredibly excited about. I’m really happy with how its sounding. I can’t wait to share it with everyone soon!!
Chico’s latest single Red Wine currently out while he is working on his EP.
All photos by: Veeti Partanen