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Zimbabwean singer and songwriter, Alexio Kawara, asks you to stay true to yourself
Kubatana.net
July 09, 2009

This is an Inzwa feature. Find out more

Read Inside/Out with Alexio Kawara

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Alexio KawaraWhen did you start singing?
I started singing when I was about three years old. I used to sing at nursery school, primary, secondary school and am still singing up to now.

How did your parents react to you wanting to do music?
At 21 that's when they saw that I wanted to become a musician and just like any parent they didn't think it could be a profession to be a musician so they didn't appreciate it that much.

What did you have to do for them to finally let you be who you are today?
I studied what they wanted me to study. I was doing that and music at the same time. They started appreciating me more when we did the hit song Amai with Guess. Because I had actually written that song, that's when they saw the potential in me.

Why music as a career and not what you studied for your parents?
I believe that everybody has a certain something that makes 75% of him/herself. For me music is me. It's not something I am trying to do or become. It's not that difficult for me to make a good song. I wouldn't try to complicate my life by trying to do something that would make my life difficult. I don't do music with any effort. Listen

Who inspires your music?
My inspiration comes from within. It's not inspiration I get from any artist its God given.

What do you sing about?
I sing about love; anything positive. I sing about anything that can make the world go round and make the world a better place for everybody.

As a Zimbabwean what are the challenges you've faced?
Firstly it was the recording part. Financially it's not easy to get the money to record in any studio and when we started we didn't have studios that gave a contract to an artist they thought could not sell. So for me that was my first challenge; we had to run around looking for studios that would record us. And now our biggest challenge is piracy, though we are trying to curb the problem, its not easy.

Do you think that being male has opened doors that could no have been opened had you been female?
To be very honest I think as a male artist it's not that difficult because some how society has always been in favor of males. Which is what I understand most female artist are trying to fight against and I appreciate that fact. For me is has not been that difficult. I have managed to pull through quite well with the favors that I was getting from promoters and recording companies and every thing.

What would you change in the industry given the chance?
I would pretty much change everything I think I would promote professionalism in the industry. Not a lot of people are professional from the recording companies, the promoters and the artists themselves. I would want to add the professionalism aspect of it and make people understand that music is not a hobby. I would have recording companies pay artist singing on fee; and promoters respecting the artists; and the artists respecting themselves.

Where do people find your performances?
I'm found on Afrodiza; it's a website where people can download my music for a fee and I perform in Harare. I'm hoping to start doing shows in South Africa and all over the world. I perform at the Greaterman's pub every Thursday or Friday.

Do you have a band?
Yes. Recently Alexio Entertainment, a company I work for, established a band called Shades of Black. It's a six-piece band.

What keeps you and your band together?
I have managed to share with them my vision and where I'm going. I think that's the whole secret - it's not so much about the money. For me it's about sharing a vision with some people. I also know that they have a dream that we share together. So I have managed to share their dream and mine I think that's the whole secret.

Would you advise someone to enter the music industry/is it worth it to be in the industry?
Yes I would. But I would also tell you to work hard for it, as much as it is a business you need to have passion for whatever you do in life. I would advise you to come into the industry because you love the music mainly. And if you love the music and you are professional about it you will make the money. Listen

What advice would you give the fans?
Stay true to yourself, stay true to what you believe in because that is exactly what makes you.

What advice would you give upcoming artists?
To upcoming artists I'll love to say that they should really make sure they are artists before they become one. Because some of the people in this industry are not supposed to be there. You have to know exactly what you are in the industry. When a house is being built you can either become the brick, the cement, roof or the windows.

What qualities must one have to be encouraged to be in the industry?
You really can't see if a person is an artist by looking at them. What I'm saying is that in the industry there is so much that you can do. You can become the one who promotes the music, the one who creates, performs or records the music. Most people when they think music they think they all have to be in the spot light.

Give us the tip of the week
To the artist my tip would be whenever you go on stage please be sober so than you know exactly what you are doing. Because people don't want to see you drunk. You are working, so be of sober habits all the time. Listen

Describe your stage performance
Powerful on vocals, it's a performance that you should take time to listen to and understand exactly what the art is talking about. What is important about Alexio's music is the message that I'm trying to spread.

What is the response to your music?
The response has been good. Of course there has been criticism but I take all criticism as important. At the regular spots where I perform I'm glad to say the audience has kept on coming and hope in time they will keep on growing.

What sets you apart from other musicians and what genre do you do?
I like to call my music good music. That's the genre that I do because I don't have one genre. What sets me apart is the way I write my music and the way I sound. I have been told I sound natural.

Do you write your own music?
I do but I also get help from other artists especially the ones I feature on my tracks. They correct me here and there and they add a few things.

When did you release your first album?
In 2003 and the current one is called Kana meaning the fourth coz it's the fourth album I have released.

How do feel when you realize that you have awards and your current album is doing well?
I have four awards, two from the NAMA and the other two from ZIMA. I feel challenged. I feel I still need to do more to keep up the standard. Music as much as we can or cannot accept it's still a competition. You need to stay ahead of the pack to really make it. And it means I have to work harder.

On a scale of ten, rate yourself
Five .I am still half way to where I want to go.

How are you handling your business, female fans and married life?
Business is business and my relationship at home is fine coz I make sure my wife understands that I'm just doing business.


Audio File

  • Music is me
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 18sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 295KB

  • Work hard
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 20sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 315KB


  • Go onstage sober
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 21sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 335KB

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