Bakithi Kumalo Shares Secret to a Long, Successful Career in the Music Industry

Bakithi Kumalo Shares Secret to a Long, Successful Career in the Music Industry

I first met Bakithi Kumalo in early 2016. I had recently taken over Artist Relations at Kala and was navigating my way through Winter NAMM in my new role. There was no handshake as we came face to face for the first time. Simply a hug, as though to say that we'd been friends for many years. 

Since that first meeting, I have watched countless fans walk up to Bakithi, shake his hand and tell him how much he means to them. For a lot of bass players, Bakithi is the reason that they picked up the instrument in the first place. To us, he is a legend to both the U•BASS® and the bass community as a whole. But to Bakithi, he is just a man doing what he loves.

I have always enjoyed my conversations with the Kala artist family. Bakithi is no exception, offering insight from a music professional whose career has spanned generations. As he wrapped up the final leg of the Paul Simon Farewell Tour, I wanted to pay tribute to the man who has inspired a countless number of musicians and also stood with Kala for much of our company's life.

Bakithi's success stems from his absolute passion for sharing music. It is this passion that has kept him engaged while practicing, playing and learning every single day for over 30 years. Very few professionals in any industry can achieve this sort of consistency. The fact that Bakithi has accomplished this in our industry, the music industry, makes it that much more praise-worthy. And, yet, Bakithi's humble demeanor has curbed this praise. Instead, he describes his career as "self-sustaining," allowing him to play for himself, his fans and enjoy the music as he goes.

I asked Bakithi what the secret to a long career in music was. I'd be a fool not to.

"Do what is right and pay attention. Treat your job with respect and stay with it. It's easy to redirect your energy to something else when things are not going well. There's a role in life for challenges that you face so appreciate that you can grow."

It is often the simplest answers that are the hardest to practice and perfect. Over thirty years experience in the music industry, most of which have been spent as an icon for his instrument, and Bakithi summed up how to be successful in less than 50 words.

To Bakithi, thank you for all of the years that you have entertained audiences around the world. Thank you for continuously standing by Kala and the Original U•BASS®. And finally, thank you for the friendship over the last few years.

All of us at Kala look forward to the next chapter in your life, as you continue to perform at U•BASS® clinics, speak on overcoming hardships and inspire and mentor the newest generation of bass players.

Here's to you, my friend.
October 17, 2018 by Nick Fletcher
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