By Blessing Masakadza
Talented gospel musician Mathias Mhere has triggered a storm within the Christian community after producing steamy videos that feature slay queens and models.
The singer recently released two hot videos; “Matables” and “Panogara Nyasha” which some Christian fanatics say border on secular music productions.
But Mhere is not moved by any negative comments about his productions saying he loves working with beautiful women just to show that everyone can worship and praise God.
“The idea is to change the narrative that gospel music videos should just be those monotonous under the tree productions of people mourning all the time.
“I believe there is time for praise and we should also portray that praise,” he said.
Mhere is also one of the finest celebrity dressers in the music industry, known for his taste in designer clothing that even socialite and businessman Genius ‘Ginimbi’ Kadungure gave him thumbs up by making reference to his designer suits and shoes.
And the singer says it is sad that there are still some people who believe gospel musicians should just look poor and troubled.
“We have to change that narrative because there is nowhere where it is written that for you to be a gospel musician you have to be scruffy.
“I believe in singing and praising God with all that we have and a good sense of dressing is one thing,” he said.
Mhere has been very active on social media and he believes musicians should take advantage of the platform.
“We should move with time and embrace new technologies in as far as marketing our work is concerned. Let’s explore all the avenues to ensure that we meet and engage with the people, get to know their needs and ensure that the music gets to the people,” he said.
His latest album “Panogara Nyasha” has managed to hold its own with songs such as “Matables” making it big. He believes this is one of the best projects to come from him.
“The album has been well received, we have been in Mozambique, Masvingo, Chegutu and Kadoma and people were singing along to our music.
“We did a number of road shows locally and again the reception was overwhelming,” he said
Mhere’s rise has, however, often been met with challenges, some of which he prefers not to talk about.
He has also been found mired in political debates with him posing for photographs with politicians.
At one point he invited Nelson Chamisa’s to the launch of his album “Panogara Nyasha” while he also appeared on pictures with the First Lady Auxilia Mangagwa.
“I’m a musician and I interact and relate with people from various backgrounds. I have always invited Chamisa at my album launches. He is a pastor and we fellowship together at AFM.
“I have also had former parliamentarians before such as Walter Mzembi, Webster Shamu, Samuel Undenge, Chinoz and many others.
“At the launch of ‘Old Testament’, we had Saviour Kasukuwere, Kudzi Chpanga. I have also had pictures taken with the First Lady,” he said.
Recently, Mhere cancelled a performance at the Family Peace Festival fronted by Korean lady Moon following some controversial comments on social media.
“I’m a member of AFM and I subscribe to what they say. They were not part of the event and do not agree to the beliefs of the lady, hence I had to pull out just like other gospel musicians who did so,” he said.
Mhere is also alleged to be a copycat of Mutare-based Blessing Shumba but says he has nothing against Shumba and respects him as a brother and minister of the word of God.
“We have no problems as far as I understand. I have great respect towards him. He does his work and I do mine; ministering of the word of God. At one point we were both judges at a musical function in Gweru. Some of those wars are peddled by people with their own agendas,” he said.
“Controversy arose because of similarities in our early works but I think that has changed and people can see it. My music has changed, if you listen to my sound and vocals, they have changed.
“I also blame piracy for all the noise. They would take one’s works and put a name on those pirated discs, confusing the people. At times one producer would do our works and it would be difficult to distinguish identities,” he said.
Following the release of his latest album “Panogara Nyasha”, another musician Liberty Ticharwa came out claiming that Mhere had copied his song.
“Liberty is an acquaintance from way back. Unfortunately, he never approached me with the issue, only learning about it through the press.
“I believe if I have an issue with someone I approach them not the press. The agenda then becomes malicious. I believe the Bible is big and we can all sing about it and no one can claim ownership of it,” he said.
Mhere has been in the game since 2012 and says he cannot talk about material gains as he claims he is not in the industry for financial gains but believes his talent should look after him.
“The Bible is clear that your talent should sustain you. For me music is a calling and the primary objective is to minister to the people. Also I have a band and those people have families to look after.
“They all need to be paid for their services, hence we need money. Being paid for the services is different from being in it for money,” he said.
While critics are of the opinion that gospel music is taking a nose dive and would be a thing of the past, Mhere believes there is need for new strategies to revamp the industry.
“Creativity has been lacking in our industry which created monotony. People were doing more of the same and there is need for new strategies. I have done my part, coming up with contemporary videos to attract new audience,” he said.
Mhere is one of the most travelled artistes in the gospel music industry having been in several countries in and outside Africa. Daily News