By Godwin Muzari
The future looks bright for Soul Jah Love, but it seems the musician is not bright enough to look into the future. The Mbare-bred chanter is fast winning hearts among music followers and can be credited for attracting people that were non-dancehall followers to the genre because of his hits. However, Soul Jah Love has become a name that is always swimming in controversy with his major weakness being failure to respect his fans and promoters.
The musician has always been arrogant and that character seems hard to prune off the musician’s blooming career — it is a black cloud threatening to blanket a shining star. Violence has become common at most shows where Soul Jah Love is booked, either because he comes late or fails to turn up. Promoters have lost equipment when violence erupts because of the musician’s behaviour. Violence at shows cannot be tolerated, but taking fans for granted cannot be tolerated too.
Fans get impatient and angry because they would have spent money in anticipation of merrymaking and what they get is disappointment when the artiste fails to value their sacrifices. What Soul Jah Love fails to realise is that indiscipline has swallowed many artistes that had great potential and some that had actually gone beyond his level.
The late Andy Brown had become and international star and the likes of Oliver Mtukudzi looked up to him as an icon, but he failed to maintain that status because he would come for shows drunk or failed to fulfil assignments. I remember how in 2009 Brown decided to join us for drinks in Livingstone, Zambia when his band was waiting for him in Victoria Falls where they were supposed to perform. When he heard that other Zimbabweans were partying at Music Crossroads Inter-regional finals in Zambia, Brown crossed the border and forgot about the show.
By the time of his death in 2012, Brown was no longer a star that he was supposed to be. Even at State galas where he was regularly given space to showcase his prowess, Brown became known more for his drunken burst-outs than the immense guitar-playing skill that he was endowed with. When we laid him to rest in Mberengwa, the burial did not mirror someone who had once made history by signing a contract with South Africa’s Sheer Sounds — one of the biggest record labels on the continent.
Then there is Progress Chipfumo who is one of the most talented musicians in the land. He has not been able to utilise his potential due to lack of professionalism. Although he has reformed, it will be difficult for Chipfumo to reach the level that his talent deserves. Roki is another example. The young man has great talent and works miracles in the studio and on stage. He had a potential of becoming an international star, but his wayward behaviour affected him.
These are a few examples that should inform Soul Jah Love that multitudes of people that are following his music are not stuck to his art. They have other choices and it does not mean that if they appreciate his talent they will swallow everything he hammers down their throats. That is why they talk about ‘bitter pills to swallow’.
Soul Jah Love should put his house in order. His manager Benjy Nyandoro of Jive Zimbabwe has tried his best to build Soul Jah Love brand, but it seems the musician’s head is too hot. The musician sometimes books shows behind the manager’s back and does not communicate well with Nyandoro. Honestly, how can Nyandoro explain the incident when he drove all the way to Beitbridge and waited for his artiste who only arrived in the morning when the show had ended and chaos had left a trail of destruction?
Nyandoro needs new strategies to handle Soul Jah Love, otherwise the brand Jive Zimbabwe will be soiled by the mud that the musician is splashing everywhere. Promoters are losing confidence in Soul Jah Love. Fans are getting impatient. Yes, the star is shining and the future is bright, but someone needs to show Soul Jah Love that fans cannot show that love forever. The Herald