ACOUSTIC guitarist and talented vocalist BATSIRAI SHASHA has every reason to smile for his patience.
After years of perfecting and honing his skills under big names and learning from the best, his time has finally come.
His latest single – Ndinotenda Amai – has been endorsed by many in jazz circles.
The affable crooner, who is set to drop his second album this year, has a number of show bookings lined up which run till mid next year.
Like the proverbial prophet who has no honour on homeland, Batsi – as the crooner is fondly known – is in demand in other countries where jazz music is still a culture.
H-Metro reporter TAONGA NYEMBA (TN) caught up with the young crooner (BS) who reflected on his musical journey. Read on…
TN: Can you give us a brief background about yourself?
BS: I am Batsirai Shasha and I am 23 and I am a jazz musician.
TN: Which artistes have you worked with?
BS: I have worked with Alexio Kawara and Diana Samkange on different projects and hopefully I will work with them again.
TN: Do you have a band?
BS: I work with the Mtaka Band which I built from scratch last year August.
TN: Who inspired you to become a jazz musician?
BS: I have been fortunate enough to not face many obstacles except the not so favourable economic environment which makes music business not so profitable at the moment because people are not financially liquid.
TN: Which artiste did you grow up looking up to?
BS: I grew up listening to Ringo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Hugh Masakela, I think they are the reason I went in deep with jazz.
TN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
BS: With more albums; more collaborations regionally and internationally.
I look forward to having more appearances with a global influence, I see myself as big as can be.
TN: What can you say about the current state of jazz music in Zimbabwe?
BS: Jazz music in Zimbabwe is still fighting to keep its place although there has been fierce competition with Zimdancehall.
I have also noticed that the consumers of Afro jazz are the mature adults, which makes it quite interesting.
TN: Is jazz getting fair airplay?
BS: There are big names like Victor Kunonga, I think they have been getting fair airplay, challenge comes to us the upcoming ones.
It’s difficult to get airplay but, as for me I cannot complain.
TN: So, are you still on the market?
BS: l prefer keeping my love life to myself but l am not married and l am not getting married anytime soon.
TN: What was it like being in the recording studio for the first time?
BS: My first Studio session was the best experience, hearing myself through the speakers l could not believe that was me.
TN: Worst moment as a jazz musician?
BS: I’m yet to get a bad experience as a jazz artiste so far, for that l thank God.
TN: What’s your best moment as a jazz musician?
BS: My best moment as a jazz artiste was on stage in Tafara this past weekend….it was an amazing experience; the audience were charged it was the best show.
TN: Why do you think jazz has less audience?
BS: It’s like when people hear about jazz music they think of boring slow music, what people do not know is jazz is the most comfortable genre which you can get to be real to yourself and everyone else.
TN: How long have you been doing jazz?
BS: It has been a year since I have gone professional, I studied music at the college of music.
I also graduated from the Midlands State University.
TN: Which instruments do you play?
BS: I taught myself how to play a guitar and I am learning to play a few instruments.
TN: Have you been doing live shows?
BS: I have been doing a number of live shows and I have been getting huge followership.
Next month I will be touring Kenya alongside other locals there.
I am also fully booked till the first quarter of next year.
TN: How many singles and albums do you have?
BS: I have a number of singles and I released my first album this year in February and I am likely to release my second album late in November.
TN: How supportive have your parents been during your musical journey?
BS: At first it was difficult for them to support my dreams, but they came to a point they realised I was good at music.
From then my mother has been my manager.
TN: How is it like being managed by your mother?
BS: Being managed by your mom is very awesome, I know there are no hidden agendas and she is very strict when it comes to my music.
TN: What can we expect from your forthcoming album?
BS: It’s like the best, it’s an album where I got to showcase who I really am with a different jazz sound.
TN: Which jazz artiste do you look forward to working with?
BS: I would like to work with Alexio Kawara, I have worked with him before, he is really good in the studio.
I also look forward to working with Tahle WeDzinza I really like her voice.
TN: So, besides music what else do you do?
BS: I am professional I do music all day any day.
TN: What do you have to say to other upcoming jazz artistes?
BS: I think our genre is one of the most despised genres but as you are up and coming you just have to push through the pain. Trust and belief is the key.
TN: Any special shout outs?
BS: I would like to shout out to everyone who has been believing in me since day one and my parents for finally allowing me to follow my dreams.