By Edwin Nhukarume
Musician Ernest “Nesto” Manandi believes urban grooves music has grown and changed the shape of the local music industry.
Nesto is of the philosophy that urban grooves gave birth to Zim dancehall and other genres like Afro Pop that are now popular in our country.
He said urban grooves is the future dominant sound of the local music.
In an interview with H-Metro, Nesto – one of the pioneers of the genre – shared his views on how urban grooves contributed to the local music industry’s growth.
“Urban grooves was a movement and an umbrella term given to a mixed bag of sounds during the late 90s and early 2000s.
“They are sounds that had always been there before, but only became prominent at that time.
“As for its future, it is now! What is known as Zim dancehall, Afro Pop, (Zim) Hip Hop and others are all offshoots from what was known as “urban grooves”,” said Nesto.
“With the term ‘urban grooves’ having so many offshoots, I wouldn’t say as a genre that it is lagging behind.
“Zimdancehall is now the most listened to music at the moment, Afro Pop is doing well and Hip Hop is finding its legs.
“I just feel as Zimdancehall did, in terms of finding an effective way to distribute their music or find a method of reach to their target audience, it is the same thing that needs to happen to the other offshoots and by the existing and emerging artists.
“Visuals that are of a high quality have also come into the conversation, they cannot be ignored. This can only breed a healthier local music industry,” he added.
Nesto said the music being selected on radio stations has changed the way promoters do their business.
“I wouldn’t say promoters are shunning ‘urban grooves’.
“First and foremost, Zimbabwean promoters are mostly in the game for business, so as a result they will go with what is vibing the most.
“Urban grooves pioneers are still producing good music, but what I will say is, there are dynamics that have changed, like airplay.
“Radio stations do not play these names as they did before and with this it is an opportunity for the artistes to be more creative with the business after producing the music,” he said.
SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE
Nesto has, however, said that social media platforms are playing a big role to disseminate music but exorbitant data charges are now stifling their efforts.
“Digital platforms are aiding in this, although there hindrances like high data charges in the country, for everyone to access internet on a broader scale,” he told H-Metro.
NESTO MODUS OPERANDI
Nesto has confirmed that he is still doing music though he has been quiet on the local airplay.
“I am still full time with music.
“You’ll find that even globally, the biggest artistes like Jay-Z have their hands on dozens of business ventures.
“So it is always about striking the right balance, with the right team of people around you, and I am still in the game,” said Nesto.
He said he is currently working on some new projects.
“We currently have visuals and we have already started.
“We are completing other visuals and there are singles that we will be releasing periodically,” he said.
Nesto said he still maintains his good relationship with other urban grooves artistes.
“I have a cordial relationship with most of urban grooves artistes.
“I’m always trying to suggest new ways of approaching the industry with the fellow artistes.
“It was a pleasure working with Taurai Mandebvu on this song and brand new video Bidibiba. It wasn’t difficult at all!”
The urban grooves musician has a passion for farming and football, but he said he is managing to balance all those activities with music.
“The balance between music, football management and farming is quite easy.
“Music and football have always been a huge part of my life from when I was young, so that isn’t difficult.
“Farming is still something I’m learning and looking into,” he said.
Nesto said he has a lot of artistes that he looks up to, but he has high praise for the sungura ace – Alick Macheso.
“It would be a lie to say I have one role model. I am inspired by a lot of African legends.
“The late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick Macheso, Salif Keita, Youssou N’ dour, just to mention a few.
“Macheso inspires me, because of how he approaches his heart, from rehearsal (which he once invited me to see how they go about), to recording of his music, down to his thrilling live performances.
“I also admire his philanthropic work,” he said.
Though his love life has been reported to be involving a local songbird, Nesto refused to share more about his bedroom affairs.
“For my love life, everyone knows who I am with.
“I like to keep this part of my life as private as possible, whilst showing as much as possible to the public eye,” said Nesto.
Besides being an artiste, Nesto is looking forward to managing artistes in the near future.
“I have always said that a career is not a day, a month or a year, it is your whole life and sometimes beyond that.
“I am trying to leave a legacy by being unique in how I deliver my music, continue to do more in being an established festival artist.
“Management of artistes’ products is what I’m slowly venturing into,” he said. H-Metro