It takes passion and know-how to manage a talent


  • Behind every successful artist is a talented and hard working manager, An incredibly hard and fast paced job.

We normally enjoy their music, their lifestyles and every detail they share with us through social media. But behind every successful artiste is a talented and hard working manager.

Artistic management in the music industry is an incredibly hard and fast paced job that is perfect for someone, who loves music and wants to play a significant role in shaping an artiste’s career..

There’s usually a point in the growth phase of an artiste where it just becomes too much to be creating music and handling all of the business. At its core, the role of the manager is to guide strategy, yet managers also serve as a buffer to the outside world.

Managers, Rajabu Kinoge, who manages HipHop artiste Kontawa and Frank Mkuvlelwa, who manages female rapper Frida Amani and Bongo R&B singer Ben Paul, share with The Beat what it takes to manage a talent.

Kinoge started managing artistes in 2018, including Jay Melody, Benson, Nandy and Jolie, all from the Tanzania House of talent (THT).

In 2019, he met a hip hop artiste Kontawa at the Nandy Festival and their manager-artiste relation started.

Kinoge narrates that to manage an artiste correctly first you have to have a passion for the music industry in general then you need a connection between you and the artiste you want to manage.

“Your personal traits have to relate....connect at some point. Professionalism is important yes but the passion for the industry is vital,” says Kinoge

He says a good music manager needs to be well-organised, be excellent with people and have a good understanding of the industry as it stands today.

“Before becoming a manager I wanted and worked to be an artiste. It wasn’t my dream but the late Ruge Mutahaba saw me as a better manager than an artiste...he started nurturing me into becoming one,” narrates Kinoge. At first, Kinoge was a bit disappointed but his mentor had a bigger vision for him so he started giving him two assignments each day.

“One to train as an artiste but he will also assign me to accompany other artistes in their activities. At the end I found myself enjoying more as a manager than an artiste,” adds Kinoge

It has been a learning experience for Kinoge as he always try to remain focused

“We argue a lot, Kontawa and I especially when it comes to visions, sometimes Kontawa has his own vision and I have mine. So, we have to communicate and come to an agreement,” says Kinoge.

Kinoge explains that there are times each part is obsessed with their individual task, so it’s critical for a manager to remain focused on the bigger picture and end goal.

Frank on the other hand says he was always a music fan but people close to him saw his potential in him in pointing an artiste to a better direction that can excel one in the music industry.

“Before managing big names in the industry, I started out with up and coming artistes including ‘gifted son’,” shares Frank

At that time, he and Frida Amani were good friends and Frank didn’t have the clue if Frida is an artiste rather than knowing her as a radio presenter.

But as the time went on the two started to talk about music and business.

It wasn’t until 2021 when Frank became the official manager of Frida Amani and asked to move to Dar es Salaam where they could work together.

“I received a call from Frida for us to work together, so I moved to Dar es Salaam, but at that time I also got another opportunity to work with Ben Paul as his manager,” says Frank. Frank shares that to manage a talent is not an easy job, as “You will be required to control a bigger part of the artiste’s schedule and his/her appearance. One needs to know all the artiste’s whereabouts,”

According to Frank, managing an artiste requires both professionalism and talent because, you need to sit and talk about business and also you need to be creative to connect the artiste with other people. The hardest part of his work, as Frank explained, is being patient with both the artiste and other players in the industry.

“It takes a talent to manage a talent, it is very easy to work with Ben Paul because he is a man and doesn’t have much stuff, but when dealing with a female artiste an extra care is needed. You will sometimes need to remind her all the time about the schedule...planned shows, meetings, media tour, interviews and everything,” says Frank.

The two, Kinoge and Frank, share that whether one is managing unknown musicians, up and coming or already established artistes, it is important to understand the field of music in which one’s talent operates.