By Nicola Gibson | The Standard |
In a milestone achievement for her music career, talented artist Cynthia Mare has pocketed an avalanche of awards and featured at numerous shows in and outside Zimbabwe.
Mare, who was born and raised in Harare, knew she had a passion for singing at the tender age of five. She told her father Solomon about her passion, but he would not tolerate it. That, however, did not deter the singer from pursuing her dream. Mare wrote her first song when she was in primary school.
“I was in primary school when I wrote my first song and it was a love song about this boy I used to have a crush on,” she told The Standard Style last week.
“This made me realise that I could write songs and put my thoughts and ideas into songs from which I can create something.”
Her musical journey began when she joined Apostolic Faith Mission church choir in her early teens. At 16, she moved to the United Kingdom where she pursued her education at the Buckinghamshire Chiterns University College, obtaining a degree in Pediatric Nursing.
“I sang in the church choir here in Zimbabwe and I recorded my first project when I went to the United Kingdom,” she said.
Despite her father’s strong belief in formal education, Mare went ahead and pursued her dream of becoming a musician while at university. During her time at college, she was introduced to a record label called Outnumbered who signed her on a three singles deal.
Unfortunately, the project was put on hold and did not see the light of the day.
“I grew up in a very strict family. My father was very strict and he believed that education was the only avenue to a better future, so when I went to college in the UK, I was introduced to a certain record label, but ufortunately the project failed because the chief executive officer of the company fell ill during the process,” Mare said.
The songbird joined hands with famous British producer Krunchie who helped her release songs such as The Diet Song and Catch Me When I Fall which were released in 2010.
Catch Me When I Fall was a hit in the country and also popular among Zimbabweans based in the UK. It got favourable airplay on local radio stations like Power FM.
“The song Catch Me When I Fall helped me win many awards, including a gong at the BEFFTA [Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television, Arts and Sports Awards] in 2011 where I was voted Best Afro Caribbean Female Entertainer. I was also voted the Female Musician of the Year at the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards in 2012 and that same year, I won the Best Female award at the Zim Award.”
Mare also hogged the international music limelight when she embarked on a UK tour with world-acclaimed artists Buster Rymz, Sean Paul and Akon. This introduced her to a larger audience.
“In 2009, I came to Zimbabwe and I was a supporting act at the Sean Paul and Akon gig in Harare, which also opened more avenues for my career. I managed to have collaborations with Winky D on the song Born Champion. I also had projects with Jusa Mupositori, Bkay and Kazz,” Mare said.
Another achievement in her career was when she worked with UK rappers, Young Don and Scorcher on the song Going In. She said the video of the song had a fast and furious theme and it was played on the UK’s MTV Base and other popular channels.
“Going In opened a lot of opportunities, like working with Tuface and Devious Manager. I also performed with Tiwa Savage at the MTV awards ceremony in Nigeria,” Mare said.
In 2010, the songstress engaged the experienced Taponeswa Mavhunga as her manager. Mavhunga had worked with American global record company Warner Music for 10 years.
“Working with Mavhunga who had lots of experience within the UK music industry was a step in the right direction. She facilitated my shows, including a sold out show I had with Sean Paul in Bristol. Mavhunga also facilitated extensive coverage of my music in the UK media,” said Mare, who permanently returned to Zimbabwe in 2011.
That same year, she lost her mother which left her heart-broken.
“That sad experience inspired me to work on a new project which was a tribute to my late mother,” she said.
“The album was titled Songs My Mother Loved and it included the song Zuva Rimwe which I co-wrote with Joseph Madzire,” she said.
Zuva Rimwe was a hit and propelled her to stardom.
“My mother’s death left my heart broken and I dedicated an album to her. The song Zuva Rimwe which was on the album changed a lot of things in my career,” she said.
Having established herself as one of the top musicians in the country, Mare turned on to her other dream of empowering women. With support from the British Council and UKAid, she released a single titled Moto Ngaubvire, which was part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
“The song was aimed at empowering young women to believe in themselves and their own self-worth, especially after surviving abuse,” she said.
The song was well-received in the country and earned her a gong at the Zimbabwe Music Awards last year.
Mare, who is a brand ambassador for gender-based violence campaign for World Education Incorporated Bantwana, has attracted the attention of several corporates who have roped her in as their brand ambassador.
She is the face of Zimbabwean mobile telecom company Gtel and also internet provider ZOL. Black Things, an African wear company has been officially dressing Mare since 2014.
Apart from singing, the songbird had a stint as a presenter on the ZTV show Coca Cola On the Beat Zimbabwe and she also starred in the Starbrite Talent Show (Zimbabwe’s equivalent to South Africa’s Idols).
Last year, she recorded her third album titled Shinga, which was produced by Humphrey Domboka and recorded at Jah Prayzah’s studio in Belvedere. The album was launched late last year at a colourful ceremony at 7 Arts Theatre which was attended by fellow artists Hope Masike, Victor Kunonga, Donald Kanyuchi and Tytan.
She recently released a new single Idondi Keya which features Mukoko hit singer Tytan.
Mare said she was hoping to continue inspiring and empowering people through music.