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Ifree says: Don't fake the funk
Zanele Manhenga,
July 16, 2009

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Read our Inside/Out with Ifree.

IfreeWhen did you start singing?
I started singing when I was still a knee high to a barrel. I was probably four or five years old. The usual nursery rhymes. But the music developed through poetry that then evolved into music.

How did your parents react?
My parents unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to find out or to know that I do music because they both passed before I really started taking music seriously. They knew me more as a sports person or things along those lines.

Who or what inspires your music?
My music is inspired by God but it also comes from the things that you encounter from the moment you step out of the bed to the moment you step back into bed. The things that happen in between are the things I talk about.

What is your music genre?
I'm trying to create a new sound - a hybrid; a mix of afro jazz, blues reggae, neo soul. So I am just trying to create a sound that is heavily influenced by jazz but is a hybrid of those genres.

Why music as a career?
I guess if there is a certain power or energy within you, it over powers everything else that is around you and just leads the way. I guess that's the passion within me.

As a Zimbabwean what challenges have you faced?
I have stopped seeing them as challenges and am taking them head on. I am now used to making a move to get myself to a certain level as opposed to being helped by someone. I'm just applying myself accordingly and whatever situation is there I just deal with it

As a male in Zimbabwe what have you observed?
Maybe if I can talk in terms of morality. Our moral fibre is broken down to such an extent we think that the bad things are the normal things. We have lost our morals sexually and the way we apply ourselves. I thank God I have not been blinded by such hypocrisy.

Given the chance what would you change in the music industry?
The one reason why I am doing music is that I want to preach a positive message in society. I don't want to preach false euphoria. I don't want to lie to people. I want to tell people the truth. I want to sing about things that build society and also help those who are up and coming in the industry.

What do you fear the most as a musician?
I don't fear anything. Fear is a weakness and it's planted by dark forces. Once that penetrates me and my system I am rendered useless so fear doesn't exist in my vocabulary. Listen

Is it worth it to be in the music industry?
I believe if a fire is burning within you and if you are happy that the fire is burning then it should be worth it.

Do you have a band?
I've got a band but it's a group of session musicians who are my friends. These are guys that I just call upon and they just avail themselves when I have shows and we work.

What would you say to the fans?
People lets be realistic. Lets not be fake coz the moment we become fake we are disturbing the channel of things. If things are realistic they move much faster but the more we fake the funk the more its takes time for things to really develop for the better good of society. So let's just be real. Listen

What advice would you give to up coming artists?
Follow your dreams; just be yourself; enjoy yourself and create or project a positive message.

Give us the tip of the day
Go and get it man - there is something for you out there, go do it!

Would you say an artist should pursue producers?
Yes they should - it's almost like a machine. For a machine to work properly it needs oil. Oil is the relationship between musicians and a producer so that the machine works properly.

Should any one have certain qualities to be in the art industry?
I think it's the fire that is burning within you that makes the difference. Whether you are visual or physically challenged someone can say that you might have a problem as far as music is concerned. But I think as long as you have the fire burning within you, nothing can stop you. Listen

Describe your performance on stage
My performance is rather subtle. I am not so energetic. I am a person who usually feels things. So you feel my music. I try and apply myself in such a way you are better enhanced to feel that music.

How often do you perform?
I perform probably four times a month here and there.

What is the response to your music from people out there?
My music is emotional so a lot of people don't show it physically. Although on some songs they get up and dance but people feel the music and they respond by telling me that this is moving.

What sets you apart from other musicians?
I think I ventured on a journey of fusing genres creating a totally different sound. I believe the music we hear nowadays is exhausted. We need to come up with something new so that is what I am trying to do. That is what I can say is creating a distinction between me and other musicians.

Where do you normally perform?
At the Book Café, Bulldogs Pub and Jazz 105 just to mention but a few.

What requirements do you need to perform in the venues where you perform?
You just have to prove that you can entertain coz people that own bars want their bars to be ticking if there is a show. They want you be an entertainer to attract attention so people remain in the bar. But that's not the way I want to apply myself. I want people to feel the message.

On a scale of 1 -10 how would you rate yourself
I could never rate myself. If I did I would be a pompous somebody. It doesn't work.

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Audio File

  • Fire
    Language: English
    Duration: 24sec
    Date: July 08, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 384KB

  • Funk
    Language: English
    Duration: 25sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 395KB

  • Fear
    Language: English
    Duration: 14sec
    Date: July 09, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 231KB


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