Record labels fight over Jerusalema vocalist Nomcebo Zikode


A big fight has erupted between two record labels Open Mic Productions and DJ Tira’s Afrotainment over Jerusalema vocalist Nomcebo Zikode.

The tug-of-war is over the song Nguwe from the 21 Years of DJ Tira album that Zikode is featured on apparently without getting the proper approval from her record label Open Mic Production.

Lionel Jamela, co-owner of Open Mic, confirmed to Sowetan that their lawyer had issued a legal letter to Tira demanding that he takes down the song from all music platforms including radio and album and stop marketing it.

“As a company that is managing Nomcebo and has signed her, we have decided that we cannot allow anyone to release a song featuring Nomcebo now while we are focused on pushing her as a solo artist,” Jamela said.

Tira confirmed to Sowetan that he received the letter on Monday and he was in the process of responding to it.

“Yes, those are some of their demands and I’m responding to all of that so that we can find common ground,” Tira said.

“I think there was a breakdown of communication between me, Nomcebo and them [Open Mic Production].

“I was dealing with Nomcebo a lot, but she was also supposed to finalise things with them. We all need to come together and sort out whatever issue we have.”

Zikode said she was not aware of any dispute over the song.

“I don’t know anything about what you are saying.

What is the problem with the song?” Zikode asked.

“I’ve been doing songs with other artists like Mobi Dixon and the list is endless. I’m not aware of any issue between Tira and Open Mic.”

Zikode is currently the hotlycontested female singer in the country. According to Radiomonitor, her debut single Xola Moya Wam’ is currently the second-biggest song in SA. The song was played across various radio stations 366 times between September 1521.

Master KG’s Jerusalema that features her is on top with airplay of 416 during the same period.

Nguwe currently sits on Number 37 after jumping from Number 89 having been played 44 times.

“Tira has no formal agreement with the label, whereas when you record with an artist that belongs to another company you must communicate with them and get the proper legal clearance,” Jamela said.

“I don’t know what Nomcebo’s personal stand is, but as a company we are doing right for an artist that we are developing.

“Her song is topping radio all over the country and if there is another song that is coming from somewhere it will disrupt our own marketing strategy.” DJ Tira denied that he was trying to disrupt Zikode’s development as a solo act.

“I was aware that she was signed to them [Open Mic] when we recorded the song, but I deal with the artist in the hopes that they will finalise things with label so that we can all be in agreement,” Tira explained.

“I’m not trying to capitalise on the Jerusalema hype and interrupt her solo career. We all want Nomcebo to shine and have the best career.

“We just want to see her win and that’s why I have a good relationship with her. We are all trying to see if we can all work together.”

In an interview with Sowetan in August, Zikode admitted that before recording Jerusalema she was frustrated with Open Mic for not paying attention to her needs.

“Before Jerusalema came out I was frustrated because I was signed to Open Mic and nothing was happening. So, I was praying a lot and asking God to show me the way forward,” Zikode said.

– Sowetan

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