From Beta to Aqua

26-year old Lubasi Katundu, better known as Bacci, is easily one of Zambia’s biggest musical gems to arrive on the scene in recent times. The RnB/neo soul singer-songwriter is lauded for his beautiful vocals and raw lyrics.

In anticipation of his upcoming debut album titled Aqua Alien, a name that Bacci landed on as a result of being an Aquarius-Sun, a star sign that’s considered an alien among the Zodiac signs. Nkwazi sat down with Bacci to unearth more about his journey as an artist as well as what fans can expect from his impending album; and if the two singles ‘Comatose’ and ‘AUTO’, (the latter which has a music video out) are any indication to go by, it wouldn’t be a reach to say that fans are in for a treat.

First gaining in recognition in 2015 with his debut EP called Beta EP, due to its experimental nature. Bacci managed to assert his presence on the Zambian music scene and build upon his recognition with his second EP, Love Drunk, released in 2018, to even more acclaim than his first project. If Beta EP was Bacci’s Godfather, then Love Drunk would be his Godfather II.

Honest to his Aquarius nature, Bacci is as free-spirited as he is rebellious. Two facets of who he is as a person and an artist. Aquariuses are known to thrive in creative environments where they don’t have to answer to anyone; and this much is true about Bacci, who for the longest part of his career thrived as an independent, freethinking artist, not until 2020 when he signed to his current Vancouver based label, Unbelievably Spectacular.

That’s not to say Bacci hasn’t collaborated or isn’t open to collaboration, though. With names like K.R.Y.T.I.C., Menace, Tale Sheezy and up and coming RnB singer Uchii, all making up the band of talented misfits lending their talents to Bacci debut LP.

I need people to understand that there’s still a lot more I have to offer.

“I wasn’t used to collaboration until I met Menace,” Bacci tells me. “He’s just really intentional about what he wants. There’s one-day Menace came over to my house and he wrote a song, start to finish, on a beat that I made and it turned out to be the best song that I’ve ever made! It’s hard to fathom that I never wrote a single word of it. That illuminated me to the beauty of collaboration”.

Unfortunately, the mystery song won’t make the album. As Bacci feels the album is pretty “set as is” and not indicative of where he is as an artist. “I don’t think this album is a pure representation of who I am and what I can do. It’s kind of like the middle ground of the last project I put out and where I currently am. Don’t get me wrong, the album is great,” Bacci explains. “But I need people to understand that there’s still a lot more I have to offer”.

Transformative and amazing as Bacci’s music is, that’s not the only thing going for the singer-songwriter. He’s a fashion trendsetter and style icon in the making. Bacci has always thought of his relationship with fashion as symbiotic. “Fashion is important for the music and music is important for the fashion,” he shares.  As someone who didn’t have much money growing up, Bacci had to find creative ways to satisfy his curiosity for fashion which lead him to the world of thrifting. “I never really had a lot of money to get myself those pants or that one shirt I so badly wanted from that one store, and that sort of forced me to learn how to thrift and make my own clothes”,

“Something I always kept in mind when I was first developing myself as an artist was the importance of having the look to back up the art.  I couldn’t just walk into a store and walk out with like five pairs of sneakers…But at the same time, I also understood that I do have a part to play in how I want people to see me and I was lucky to find a market where I could access affordable clothing that could represent me in my truest sense”.

Fashion is important for the music and music is important for the fashion.

While thrifting hasn’t always been widely regarded as trendy, at least not until social media influencers made it trendy and sustainability in the fashion industry became a hot topic, Bacci always saw the significance of it. Thrifting ties into Bacci’s worldview. His affinity for thrifting is partly influenced by his worldview and a desire to leave a mark in the world.

He explains, “Thrifting for me also ties into how I want to influence Zambia and the world at large to be more sustainable and mindful about how they use anything, really. Be it glass, plastic, clothing, electronics. Whatever it is, I believe that I’m here to inspire and change the creative industry in a certain direction a lot of people haven’t realised is possible. I’m focused on innovating and replacing old ways of doing things”.

Aqua Alien is scheduled to drop in April 2022.

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