By Melissa Mpofu,
Urban grooves artiste, Rockford ‘Roki’ Josphats who had relocated to South Africa in search of greener pastures is back in Zimbabwe.
Roki who had been staying in the neighbouring country for the past two years said he was glad to be back though he was sad to have left his new love he had hooked up with in South Africa.
“I had a girl in South Africa who’s a daughter of someone who works at SABC. But now that I’m back home, it seems our relationship is over, not because either of us did wrong, but because she understood that I needed to come back to be with my children,” Roki said.
Media reports suggested that Roki who lost his mum last year, had skipped the country in 2016 after he allegedly assaulted his then girlfriend Nyasha Valerie from Zimbabwe and as such, was on the run.
This, Roki said, was now water under the bridge as he had made peace with his former girlfriend.
“The case has since been talked over as it was a terrible misunderstanding with my ex-girlfriend. We’re good friends now after the cops suggested that we do peace talks and we obliged.”
On his relationship with his children’s mothers who include Pauline Gundidza, Roki, who is popular for siring a lot of children with different women, said he had no plans to get back with any of them, although he has good relationships with them.
“I’m very involved in my kids’ lives so I don’t want to be giving them sudden changes by hooking up with their mothers as that’ll rather be too extreme,” he said.
The artiste, a former Big Brother Africa contestant, who is always on the go said he was planning to spend at least five years in Zimbabwe as he wants to change the local music industry.
“I’d gone to SA to look for opportunities there and I’m glad to say I made some inroads.
During my stay, I met Da Les, Cassper Nyovest and Maphorisa but I realised that these people will not respect you if you randomly walk up to them and say you want to have a collaboration with them – you first need to work on your profile in their country so that you’re known – then they’ll take you seriously,” Roki said.
“As such, I spent most of my time getting into these artiste’s circles with the hope that they’d realise that I’m part of them as they really don’t like outsiders.”
To try and make a name for himself there, he worked on a couple of tracks which he hopes to release soon as part of efforts to build his profile in South Africa.
Among these works is a collaboration with DJ Stavo on track The Journey which has been well received as it is getting a lot of airplay on SA channels such as Trace Africa and Channel O.
“I’m planning to release an Afro-Fusion album that I worked on while in South Africa which I’ll use to market myself there. I’m here to record those tracks as it’s cheaper to do so in Zimbabwe. I’m also planning on working with some up-and-coming talented artistes from this end.”
Reflecting on how his music career began, the multi-talented Roki said he owed it to his uncle who discovered and nurtured his talent.
“I come from a musical family as my uncle was in the legendary Bhundu Boys where he was a drummer. He’s the one who nurtured my talent and I have big shoes to fill as I don’t think I’ve done half of what he did.”
On his runaway hit track, Chidzoka that was released in 2008, Roki, a choreographer said he composed and produced it during his last days at Chamhembe – a flagship urban grooves movement that launched his career as well as several artistes.
Chamhembe that was led by versatile producer Tatenda Jenami popularly known as Take 5, Roki said is where he developed his music career.
“Chamhembe was a movement that was built by artistes who were signed under Take 5’s studio. Over time, Chamhembe ended up being the name of the studio and I was one of the artistes.”
He said working at Chamhembe was very strenuous compared to nowadays recording companies though it was all worth it.
“Working at Chamhembe was different from these days as we were staying at Take 5’s house where the studio was. All we did there was eat and record music for about two years. I’d sleep on the floor and there’ll be guys working on the beat. When one tires, I’d wake up and do a song. This was the routine daily and the computer was never switched off,” he said.
After working so hard, people who had heard Roki singing while recording started convincing him to perform in public and they agreed to do so as a group.
“At first, we weren’t performing that much as we focused more on recording music. People encouraged me to perform and before I knew it, I was the one leading the group (Chamhembe). We performed quite a lot together and our stuff got popular, something that took us by storm,” narrated Roki.
From there, they released Chamhembe Volume 1 and the follow up Chamhembe Plus in 2006 which all fared well.
Soon after, Roki started a solo career as well as other artistes from the group which led to the demise of Chamhembe. This is when Roki released hit track – Suzanna.
Quizzed if Chamhembe would reunite someday, Roki said anything was possible.
For now, Roki, other than working on recording his music, is choreographing and producing songs for other musicians – skills he acquired during his days at Chamhembe as well as his short stint in South Africa.
On live shows, Roki said he wanted to first release new music for local fans which he will use for the performances. He hopes to work with renowned producers Oskid and DJ Tamuka for his new album. The Chronicle