Urban grooves musician Pauline Gundidza says her dream has been fulfilled through her tenacious endeavours in the music industry.
Pauline, also known as Mai Skye, revealed that her aspiration since childhood was to become a human rights lawyer, probably influenced by gender based violence she witnessed and experienced in her life.
The 34-year-old said through music she is now working with organisations that advocates for human rights.
In a wide ranging interview with this H-Metro Entertainment Reporter EDWIN NHUKARUME (EN), Pauline (PG) opened up on several issues about her life and she also announced the bouncing back of the group Mafriq after more than six years quiet on the music scene.
EN: When did you start music and what caused you to become a musician?
P G: I started music in 2001 as a solo artiste looking for an opportunity.
I later joined Mafriq. I always loved music and my talent was nurtured through school and church choir. I also played marimba and mbira in high school.
EN: Was it your childhood dream to become a musician?
PG: My childhood dream was to become a human rights lawyer. Music overtook along the way.
EN: What is it you can say you have gained from music at the moment?
PG: Through music I am achieving my dream of working in human rights as I use music as an instrument for positive change.
EN: As one of the pioneers of urban grooves music what’s your assessment when it comes to the success and failure of the Urban Grooves.
PG: Urban grooves was a revolution that opened doors for alternative artists as our generation had a different approach to music. It gave artists a new creative energy that was not limited to the traditional way of doing things.
In this we succeeded. I am proud of all the urban grooves who are still practicing music as we faced many challenges to be here today.
EN: What is it you are aiming to achieve with music?
PG: Music is my calling and I follow my heart. I know my potential is for greatness and I strive to achieve that. I believe we can all make a difference in this world and as an artist that is my goal.
EN: How do you rate yourself compared to other urban grooves musicians whom you started with?
PG: I cannot rate myself. The fans are the ones who can do that. What I know is that I have made a worthy contribution with my music and I will strive to continue to do so.
EN: Do you feel music business in Zimbabwe is a well-paying profession? Give reasons?
PG: Yes music business is well paying. When I went to music school,l we learnt how to treat it as a business.
Through experience I have also seen many different ways of making money as a musician.
The profession is not limited to the stage only. Musicians can be integrated into other sectors where they can serve a purpose and they have to be visible and well branded to do that.
EN: As a female artiste who has been in the music industry for more than a decade, what are the challenges being faced by female artistes.
PG: Female artists need to be more aggressive to progress in this industry and this stands for all women in any sector.
In music the fans decide who they want so we must push ourselves to be on top of our game.
We must also take responsibility for our careers as it is very competitive and if you slumber you lose. It takes focus. It is hard to balance the responsibilities of family and those of work but if you want to achieve your goal you have to put in more effort.
As an activist I am against the attitude of some men who view female artistes as prey, toys, trophies and sexual candidates. It affects us as we are not free to operate in peace and it makes us susceptible to gender abuses. It is wrong to withhold services or opportunities for sexual favours.
EN: How many albums have you done?
PG: As Mafriq we released two albums. As a solo artist I have released 17 singles.
EN: Do you have any awards or nominees in your music career?
PG: Together with Mafriq we have a ZIMA music award for most promising artist 2004 and I hold the Honesty Oscar award 2016 for a human rights collaboration with various artists.
EN: Any projects you are working on at the moment?
PG: Yes as Mafriq we are soon to release a new single which we did with Houz of Gruv titled Ndamuwana, then I have a new single called Angelina and a video for one of my singles Ndakakumirira.
EN: So can we say Mafriq is back and when did you last record as Mafriq.
PG: I cannot say for certain but more than 6 years since we did our last recording. Ndamuwana will be our first single after regrouping and there are many more to come.
We will however retain our solo projects and with Mafriq we will be working as a collaboration outfit.
EN: As an artiste, what part have you played or are you playing during this lockdown period?
PG: There is a song I did titled Tigarisane. The song addresses the situation we are in with the Covid lockdown. As people are spending more time at home with all the uncertainty and pressure around us some will fail to maintain peace and restraint in their relationships.
So this is a promotional song for Musasa project to encourage peaceful living and discourage gender based violence during lockdown.
And I also features on a song of covid-19 awareness called No Touching No Loving with artistes such as Albert Nyathi, Fuzzy L, Thelma and Ras Caleb.
EN: These days you are mostly focusing on gender based violence, what is it that has pushed you to be more active in that area?
PG: I grew up around gender based violence and also experienced in my adult relationships. This affected me negatively for some time but I eventually overcame the effects of the various abuses I encountered. As a result I am now a full time human and women’s rights activist. Through music and other platforms I advocate for a safe living space for women.
EN: Can you please share about your love life?
PG: I am in a relationship.
EN: How many kids do you have?
PG: I have two daughters, Skye 15 years old and Minana 10 years old, who are promising artistes in their own right.
EN: What do you aspire to be in your life?
PG: I aspire to be a globally acclaimed artiste and activist.
EN: Where are you staying these days?
PG: I live in St Martin’s.
EN: If given a chance to go back in the past, what is it that you wish to correct in your life?
PG: I would have been more responsible during the onset of my adult life.
EN: Which musician do you adore and why?
PG: Chwioniso Maraire is my favourite artist of all time.
EN: It has been a pleasure having an interview with you.
PG: Thank you. H-Metro