By Edwin Nhukarume
Popular Gospel diva Mercy Mutsvene, who once eclipsed the likes of Amai Olivia Charamba, Fungisai Zvakavapano and Shingisai Suluma during her peak in the music industry, is still making music and she declared she will not throw in the towel.
Mutsvene has been one of the heavyweights on the local gospel scene since her entrance in the music industry in 2002 with her first album titled Ngatimukudzei which carried a track named Musandipfuure Jesu that stayed at the top of Radio Zimbabwe Top 20 for more than three months.
From 2002 up to 2009 Mutsvene released albums that came with hit songs and she was a force to reckon with despite her young age and the controversy that shrouded her personal life and musical journey.
Her musical journey can be described as a sweet and sour escapade.
In a wide ranging interview with H-Metro, Mutsvene opened up on some of the misunderstood experiences she encountered in the past and she boldly stated that she is now stronger than ever before and she will keep on releasing music.
“I was born a musician. I grew up singing and for that reason I will keep on stay in my lane in this profession of ministering the word of God.
“Gospel music is what I was born to do. I am now much tougher than before in dealing with problems and many situations and no obstacles will take me down.
“Mercy is still who she is, her talent is still there and I am making music because that is what God has directed me to do,” said Mutsvene.
The award-winning artiste has been through controversial encounters in her peak of the career despite the success she enjoyed during that time.
Mutsvene said the stories about her personal life that were misunderstood at most times and got published by the media deeply affected her.
“Those were the difficult times during the early years of my music career.
“I would feel out of place or weird especially during show performances. You know people would be saying there she is, she is the one and it would be all over my head making me feel uncomfortable.
“It was really hard for me to deal with the media and people because of the bad image of me being a bad girl as mostly written or reported by the media,” she said.
“However, I would like to point out that the experience made me a strong spiritually and I am now stronger person than I was before,” she added.
Mutsvene said fellow gospel artistes played a major role in comforting her during her bad experience.
“Through those difficult times, I would like to thank fellow gospel artistes.
“They stood with me. Let’s remain united as artistes.
“Not forgetting my real music fans, they also comforted me.
“I am still going on and I will never stop as long God still wants me to,” she told H-Metro.
Mutsvene, a mother of four, at one point in time was reported to have been married thrice and having three children from different fathers.
Mutsvene denied the claims and dismissed them as misinformed rumours with no truth.
“Firstly, I have four children. Two are from the first marriage and the other two are from this second and current marriage.
“I was also surprised when it was alleged that I got married to a Zambian man after the breakup of my first marriage.
“A relationship with a Zambian man never existed. It could have been someone trying to tarnish my image with falsehoods,” said Mutsvene.
“In Zambia it was all about business & trading, church meetings as AFM Zimbabwe and Zambia have a good relationship so they invited each other.
“I also traveled to Zambia in relation to singing and I have some collaborations with some Zambian artistes.
“And up to now AFM Zimbabwe and AFM in Zambia still have good relations,” she added.
One of her main controversial highlights in her music career was her wrangle between her and the popular South African gospel diva Rebecca Malope.
Locally the media mainly accused her of imitating and plagiarising Rebecca’s work though many music lovers fell in love with her music.
It is also on record that Rebecca denied having links with Mutsvene as the latter claimed they were working together so she can reproduce some of her songs.
However, Mutsvene still maintains there was an arrangement between her and the South African gospel diva.
“About this issue between me and Rebecca, there was an arrangement made between Ngaavongwe Records and her studio.
“On this one Mr Vhori under Ngaavongwe Records can explain it better. It was a case or a matter of the studios that arranged it,” she said.
Despite all the challenges and controversial experiences she went through, Mutsvene – who is the first born in a family of five – has inspired one of her siblings to follow her footsteps. She also said they are united in their family.
“I am the first born in our family and we are five.
“I am glad there is someone who is following the path I am walking in right now.
“As you all know that my brother Kuda Mutsvene is also into music and recording gospel tracks,” said Mutsvene.
“Our family is united and we give each other advice.
“We comfort each other during the time grief and troubles. I thank God for placing me in a loving and united family.
“My parents are also very supportive, they give counselling when necessary and they are very helpful,” she added.
Mutsvene said her first born Tanatswa is also into music and she is proud of him.
“My first born Tanatswa, a seventeen-year-old could also be following my footsteps.
“He is also into music and he plays a lot of instruments. I am proud of him as he is doing it within the church,” she said.
As a mother she wishes her children a better life when they become adults.
“I hope my children will take life with a positive attitude.
“Some things I cannot control them as a parent, we have our limits and I will leave it to God.
“I want them to be strong and overcome obstacles they face with a bold heart,” said Mutsvene.
Mutsvene did not pick her favourite gospel artiste locally but she said they are all doing great work. However, she has mentioned some of the international artistes that she respects.
“Locally I cannot pick who is the best but they are doing a tremendous work. I also learn from them as an artiste.
“Internationally I like Ron Kenoly. In South Africa I am inspired by Rebecca Malope and I also like Hlengiwe and Joyous Celebration.
Mutsvene released her last album in 2015 and currently she is doing shows overseas while she is an ambassador of a charity organisation called Ruth Pasi Foundation.
“My last album is titled Murwiri Wangu which I released in 2015.
“According to my own assessment the album did well especially to the audiences in United Kingdom.
“When I do shows there they request songs from that album and that has prompted me to think about making a DVD album that carries some of those songs from that album,” she said.
“Recently I have been in UK for a worship night where I performed.
“I will also be in Australia on a show to raise funds for the less privileged in society and the albinos courtesy of Ruth Pasi Foundation.
“I am also an ambassador of that foundation. There are also upcoming shows that I am billed to perform in USA and Canada,” she added.
In 2007 Mutsvene was rewarded with a Platinum award as she had sales that surpassed 60 000 mark for an album released in the period of 2005 and 2006. In that period she was the only female gospel artiste that reached those sales outwitting other female artistes such as Amai Charamba, Fungisai and Shingisai.
Mercy Mutsvene has eight albums to her credit that include Ngatimukudzei, Tiregerere, Handingabvumi, Nyika, Iko Kumusha, Tichasanganiswa, Tongai and Murwiri Wangu.
She is currently working on her ninth album set to be released in October or November this year. H-Metro