John Chiti shares how he was left out of a record deal because of his Albinism condition
I remember about 17 years ago when I was struggling with my music as an upcoming artist. I moved from Ndola to Lusaka searching for music opportunities. It was not easy I tell you.
Well, one day someone shared with me a flyer of a certain studio who advertised that they were looking for new talent and anyone who pass the auditions would be signed and produced at the same studio. I was excited. I walked from kalundu where I was staying with a friend to town looking for that studio. I searched, asked around until I found it. I told them an a musician looking for a record deal. They welcomed me properly and booked a day when I should go back and audition. They assured me that as long as am talented they would sponsor me.
This was good news, I went home excited and I spent the rest of the week preparing the song I would sing during auditions. My friend had an uncle who had a guitar so I borrowed it for some days as I practiced. I learnt how to play guitar way back in high school
The big day came, I was nervous but ready.
Again I walked to town with my guitar because I had no transport but this time at least i had a guitar to keep me company. At the studio I found other artists who were scheduled for auditions also. We wished each other good luck as we went in one by one. I was the last person to be auditioned. Others were coming out frustrated, some disappointed. I went in and I did my best. Singing and playing guitar gave me advantages among all the other artists. After the first round some artists were sent away. We only remained 3 people. We went in for the final round and we were told only one of us would be picked. This time they gave us an instrumental to sing a free style.
Again I hammered it. I heard the one guy singing off key the other went off beat like thy didn’t had any studio experience. For me I had enough experience because I had recorded before so I knew how to follow a beat.
When all was done , we were told to wait for the results . We sat patiently and hoping am picked. Now the studio was not very big so I could hear the judges discussing us. The first guy was dropped because he sang off key as well as the other one who went off beat. They spent much time discussing me and I could hear them from the other room.
“John is really good, he has a nice voice and he managed to follow the beat” one of them said. I was smiling telling myself this is it. My time has come. Am picked. But my smile started fading as the conversation continued
“ yes, this guy is good but there is just one problem “ the other said.
“ what problem? I didn’t see any problem with him”
“ the guy is albino, it will be difficult for us to sale him”
There was silence in the room for some minutes then the discussion continued.
“ no that doesn’t matter, weather he is albino or not this guy has what we are looking for” said another
“ he has what we want but his image is the problem. In music the image matters , people won’t associate with him because of his condition “
“ I think you’re right , have you ever seen an albino singing? We may loose money if we invest in him”
The discussion went on for about 30 minutes. One of them kept supporting me telling the others that they should signed me up regardless of my condition but he was overruled by the 2 other judges who said my condition would hinder me to sale in music. They ended up picking the guy who sang off beat. The producer said he can work on him and help him follow the beat
I went home really sad didn’t even had the strength to play my guitar. The next few days I kept on reflecting on their words.
I almost gave up in music but the same reasons why they rejected me soon became the reasons why I couldn’t stop pushing. I told myself if these people have not seen a person like me singing I will become THE FIRST PERSON WITH ALBINISM TO COME OUT IN THE LIME LIGHT IN ZAMBIA.
Don’t Give Up!!!