Focalistic and Kamo Mphela help bring the African Heat to the world

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Kamo Mphela. Picture: Kamo Mphela Instagram
Kamo Mphela. Picture: Kamo Mphela Instagram


Hot on the heels of its expansion into more African countries, on Friday Spotify launched the #AfricanHeatChallenge.

Taking its name from a flagship playlist that highlights, well, the hottest African songs, the challenge is anchored around Focalistic’s Ke Star smash hit.

The video sees various people performing synchronised dance moves in cities such as Joburg, Lagos in Nigeria, London in the UK and, particularly endearing, at the Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana, and in front of New York’s Africa Centre’s Black Lives Matter Tribute Mural in the US that shows the names of Sandra Bland, Amadou Diallo and more on the walls.

South Africa’s Kamo Mphela is the choreographer and the Zandi Tisani-directed video and campaign aim to challenge people to learn the dance, stream the music and continue to support African music.

Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s head of music in sub-Saharan Africa, said: “Kamo is a great choreographer, dancer and artist in her own right. Those dancers, those iconic landmarks in different parts of the world – this challenge is just one interactive component of a very thorough campaign that gives the space to African creators to showcase their music to a global audience.”

Phiona Okumu
Phiona Okumu is Spotify’s head of music sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: supplied

In essence, the artists involved in this campaign are co-signing the music-tech’s commitment to African music. Some of the creators involved in the campaign that will include billboards in cities such as New York and Toronto in Canada, are rising amapiano star Lady Du, British-Ghanaian artist Fuse ODG and Nigeria’s own Olamide.

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On the app and above the African Heat playlist, you can watch clips of the likes of Moonchild, speaking about dance music and her influences.

Okumu shares: “African Heat is very popular and has listeners as far as the US, Australia, Canada and more places that love what modern African music sounds like. We wanted to engage with the audience because dance music is partly responsible for how our music travels across the world.

“In the beginning, African Heat was skewed towards Afrobeats because it was a sign of the times. But what we’ve found is that the number and variety of African creators has increased and so has the audience. This campaign shows even though they are from unique cultures, the many types of music are related and that they can travel.”

Unsurprisingly for a leading amapiano act, Focalistic is vibing to the video while his song is playing.

A dark sky is lit by skyscrapers – perhaps to convey that the only star on screen is watching the Spotify video on his phone.

Look out for more from the campaign on social media.


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