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music is in me" - Interview with Vimbainashe Zimuto
July 21, 2009
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Inside/Out with Vimbainashe Zimuto
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did you start singing?
I started in Grade One when I was in a percussion band,
then went to traditional dance and I was in the school choir in
primary school. Then in Form 1 up to 4, I was in the music class
and I was also in the choir. We did an album called Wedding Bells
when I was in Form 4. I was the main feature in the video. I did
a lot of other different jobs after I finished school but I realized
that I am a musician so I must be doing music. That's what
I am meant for so that's what I am doing right now.
did your parents embrace your singing at an early age considering
the negatives that making music has?
First of all my parents were very supportive especially
when I was in Grade One. They would buy some of the percussion instruments
- I had a tambourine. My mum used to sing in church. But they passed
away when I was in Grade 4 or 5 and I saw that I should proceed
and be myself.
your parents gone how did you survive?
I was very fortunate that when my parents passed away my
grandmother took care of us and we managed to go school. My relatives
from my dad's side helped to pay school fees for us and all
that. I managed to finish school although when you have relatives
paying school fees they expect you to be some thing other than a
musician. They expect you to be a doctor or something they feel
is appealing to society. But you cannot take the music out of you;
you cannot take the talent out of you because it's there and
it's given by God.
has the death of your parents affected your style of music?
Well when I write music I try not to personalize it too
much. I've got a lot of songs that talk about me and I try
to make sure in as much as I am preaching things that happened to
me I try to put it in a boundary so that it appeals to every other
person who is in the same shoes as me.
advice would you give to parents and upcoming artists?
To parents you need to support your kid. Put them in a
school that does music or encourage them to join a percussion band
or clubs in the community. If it's not their calling you will
see they will not like it. If they love computers put them to computers
and support them. And to female artists coming up make sure you
know what you want to do: if you want to be a jazz artist then jam.
genre do you do?
African contemporary music because sometimes I play the
mbira; I also put my instruments together and make the sound very
African. With my first album I did a solo project; its me, mbira,
ngoma, hosho . . . there's nothing much on it but on the next
coming album I will be adding more of the instruments so that it
music for Africans only?
No! But if you are African you want the whole globe to
see what Africans do, how they dress, how they sing, what they play
and all that.
is the lyrical content in your songs?
I sing about life generally; anything that happens in life.
For this album I put Ndawana Mukana as in I got this chance
and in Gudo Guru I am talking about madara and what they
do to young girls. Then the third song is about a loved one leaving
a spouse and those are general stories that happen and that people
see day in day out. So that's what I sing.
writes your music?
Sometimes I do but now I want to find good songwriters
who can write my music and I put my feel to it.
us about your album.
I did my album last year. I launched it in June in last
year and I have managed to sell a few copies.
is your album not doing well?
First of all I would like to blame the systems in this
country. With the music industry every one just gets into the industry.
Whether you are talented or not you can record an album and you
can just put it on air and they play it whenever they want. The
other problem is music is not viewed as a career; we are thinking
music is what marombe do. But the moment they start seeing the money
coming in that's when they start saying they want taxes. Before
they see the money coming in they don't take it as a career.
do you think is the problem?
The problem is with the Ministry. Instead of having music
in the same ministry as education and sport we need to have music
on its own. The moment they do that and focus on music, I believe
that's when people will start realizing that music is a career.
do you perform?
Mostly at the Book Café and right now I am performing
with Oliver Mutukudzi and the Black Spirits. I am still looking
for other venues to perform so that I will keep on enhancing myself
in the industry.
sets you apart from other artists in the industry?
I have my own type of music, my own type of feel and my
own way to express it. And have my own type of voice. So I would
like to say I have an identity.
are you opting to sing and dance for another band and not pursuing
your own career?
You need to have financial stability for you to grow in
the music industry. To grow you need to work with big people. I
am fortunate to be working with Oliver Mutukudzi and I would like
to say I have learnt a lot of things. I think it's very good
to work with other artists and develop yourself.
your stage performance.
I sing, I play mbira and I dance. And my music is soulful
you can sit back and enjoy it.
with the attire you wear on stage?
If you are an African, play an African instrument and you
portray an African image, you have to look like an African, you
have to dress like an African and sell yourself as an African sister.
would you change in the industry given the chance?
To the people who think they can sing yet they can't
please give an opportunity to those who can because that's
the thing killing the industry. If you think you can sing go through
the proper channels.
you saying people who can't sing are killing the music industry?
Not the people who can't sing the people who keep
on playing the music that is not supposed to played on air. There
are a lot of good singers. But just because I have access to DJ
my song can be played no matter how bad it is. That's the
corrupt thing we don't want in the industry.
a scale of 1-10 were would you rate yourself?
8 out of 10.
feel disadvantaged as a female in the industry?
I don't have any door that has been closed because
I am a female. Because I got all the exposure I need and I have
all the necessary connections and I can even talk to any person
I want. Actually I think it's an advantage for a female coz
there are a few women in the industry.
are you juggling motherhood and your career?
Music is a very freelance job where I can have all the
time I need with my child. When I am there she has all the love
from her mother.
do you see yourself in the next five - ten years?
America and Britain and back to Zimbabwe. I will always
come back home.
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