By Vasco Chaya
When Baba Harare and Gonyeti quit Jah Prayzah’s Third Generation to pursue solo careers, many expected the two talented artistes to quickly make a mark on the local music scene.
But a year down the line since Gonyeti, born Pamela Zulu, released her debut album One Day, progress has been very muted.
Baba Harare, who released a 14-track debut album titled Chikwama in January after going solo, has also struggled to get into second gear.
Both artistes, though, insist they won’t throw in the towel despite the teething problems.
Gonyeti, who released his second album Madhin’alidhin’ali a couple of months ago, blames the slow start on the challenging economic environment.
“We are trying our level best but the environment we are operating in is very tough for all artistes. Luckily we have been getting some gigs, unlike some artistes, but sadly music fans don’t have money to pay their way into our shows,” Gonyeti told the Daily News.
She conceded that she began her solo career at a very challenging time.
“Making a breakthrough under these challenging circumstances has not been easy but I will soldier on until I make it,” said the One Day singer.
As for Baba Harare, he admits that his solo career has not been a walk in the park.
“The environment has not been easy for most artistes and I am not an exception. People don’t have spending power and because of that most of our concerts are not as successful as we want them to be.
“But make no mistake about it, I am soldiering on. When I went solo, I did not expect it to be easy. I will be launching my second album at the end of November that will feature a collaboration with Jah Prayzah called Usasiya Zvinonaka,” the 29-year-old guitarist-cum-singer said.
Gonyeti and Baba Harare are not the only local musicians who have found the going tough in recent years after going solo.
Names that come to mind include Francis “Franco Slomo” Dhaka, Innocent Mjintu, Shiga Shiga and the original Extra Kwazvose which was made up of Noel Nyazanda, Jonas Kasamba, Dhaka and Obert Gomba. Though widely regarded as talented, these artistes’ music projects hit a brick wall.
The current trend differs greatly to that of the 80s and 90s. Then artistes such as the late Simon Chimbetu, John Chibadura and System Tazvida as well as current sungura kingpin Alick Macheso blossomed in a big way after going solo.
Veteran music promoter Barbara Chikosi, popularly known as Mai Red Rose, told the Daily News that young musicians are failing to make it big because of the lack of “genuine promoters.”
“Back in the day, there were genuine music promoters who did it for passion and not for money only. They would promote an artiste for a number of years until the musician found his or her breakthrough and that was when the promoter recouped his investment,” she said, adding that then musicians and promoters were loyal to each other.
“Now it is difficult to find a genuine promoter because the industry is flooded with greedy ones who are in the industry just for money. These so called promoters only promote a number of big artistes in the industry just to get quick money.”
Another veteran promoter, Josh Hozheri, believes young artistes are failing to make it due to lack of originality.
“Yesteryear artistes were so creative and they would come up with a different feel and style. There is very little or nothing at all being put into research and development. Artistes should understand the market trends to enable them to respond better,” Hozheri said.
Award-winning musician Jah Prayzah told the Daily News that success in music is a result of many years of hard work.
“I professionally joined the music industry in 2005 but only managed to make some money from music when I released Tsviriyo in 2013,” the Watora Mari hit-maker said.
In a previous interview with the Daily News, Macheso attacked young artistes who rush to form their own outfits before learning the ropes.
“Though I was good at composing music and dancing, I invested 14 good years as an apprentice in Khiama Boys I remained very loyal to the leadership of the band.
“I have perfected my skills at Khiama Boys until a time I felt being mature enough to lead my own musical outfit,” he said. Daily News