HELLO H-Metro readers and mature music lovers.
It feels great contributing to this column in my own capacity as a songwriter, choreographer and executive producer.
I am one such an artiste who is into music for fun but there are lessons I think will help others
In the past 15 years as a musician, I have quite a lot which I hope will inspire others. Read on…
• BRIEF PROFILE
My name is Walter Sonayi simply known as Papa Sodza in showbiz circles.
I was born on the 19th of March in 1983 in a family of eight – six boys and two girls.
Being the first born in my family, both my parents – Mathias Sonayi and Chipo Sonayi – have always had a lot of expectations from me as a kid.
So expectant were my parents that they always wished me to take education seriously even though music was my first love.
For my education, I attend Chabata primary and secondary schools in Birchenough, my rural home.
I then finished my high school at Jonasi Secondary in Seke communal lands around 1999.
Afterwards, I enrolled at Belvedere Technical Teachers College where I studied Technical Graphics between 2000.
Since I didn’t want to practice as a teacher, I left for South Africa where I studied Architectural Drafting in Johannesburg between the year 2004 and 2005.
Afterwards, I returned to Zimbabwe where I worked at ZESA pole plant for six months.
I was also posted to Southerton in spraying plant under ZESA.
Owing to my competence, I was then transferred to the head office where I worked in the drafting office designed sub-stations.
In 2010, I won a contract with a Norwegian firm and worked with them for a year and left ZESA to start my own company Irkane Enterprises.
Regarding my calling as a musician, I can safely say my passion started when I was still in primary school.
As a young kid, I was active in school choir and I would sing along to most of the late Paul Matavire’s songs.
In 2005, I secretly recorded my first album titled Hupenyu Mutoro but I couldn’t release it for the fear of my parents who didn’t want me to pursue music.
Besides my 2005 album Upenyu Mutoro, which I am still upholding, I then recorded another album six years later called Kuumba Magariro.
In the year 2012, I released my second album titled Nzira Yakanaka, which was followed by 6 Bullets (2014), Ujegu featuring Sulu (2015), Sorry (2016), Zino Irema (2018).
In 2019, I released a series of singles namely True Love, Makatisiya Pachena, Teerera, Pinda Ndipindewo featuring Dobba Don, Chiedza Chemoyo featuring Doubles wekwa Marange and Corona.
I wish to add some of these singles on my forth-coming album due for release before year-end or early next year.
My background as someone who was born in Harare but raised ekhaya has a bearing in my career.
One person who inspired me a lot was the late Paul “Dr Love”Matavire who used to perform regularly in Birchenough.
He would visit every December, then April, August, October before he returns in December again.
We would sneak out to watch his performances but we had no access to the show since we could not afford it.
He would perform at Chitambo Shopping Centre starting at 8pm and we were only allowed inside at 2am to watch him for free.
From then, I fell in love with Dr Love who remains my hero and source of inspiration.
I would sing his songs at school and on our way to and from school entertaining fellow pupils.
It made me ease our sorrows since we walked 8 km to school which makes them 16 per day.
To me, Dr Love was original and I have learnt to be original in my music.
• ROLE MODEL
In business Phillip Mataranyika is my role model owing to his humility, hard work and influence.
Musically, I can safely say it’s the late Lucky Dube.
Locally, there is none since those we look up to don’t show us love.
It’s sad that our industry characterised by jealousy, disunity and greediness.
As an artiste itching for recognition and breakthrough, I have endured a lot of frustrations as top artistes don’t like to give us the platform as curtain raisers.
It appears top artistes like Jah Prayzah, Sulu or Macheso have their preferred choice of artistes they want to warm up the stage before them.
In my case, I might be a threat but music is not my source of livelihood since I do something separately as a fall back.
I have also noted that some of the top artistes I have shared the stage with no longer want to deal with me because fans will be demanding that I return on stage.
When it comes to promoters, I don’t think we have any as the new crop we have prefer dealing with established names.
Over the year, music promoters would pluck someone from the back of beyond and make them superstars.
• LOVE LIFE
Regarding my love life, I would say it’s something that is unspeakable.
I would prefer keeping it a secret because the moment that I open up people will start monitoring my movements.
In short, I would say that I am married with four kids – two boys and two girls.
• MEMORABLE SHOW
Despite being a nonentity in the eyes of many, I have had a number of memorable shows in my life.
One of the shows I did alone was at Dandaro Inn which used to be housed at the Harare exhibition Park.
It was my album launch where Andy Muridzo was my curtain-raiser.
I invited a number of top artistes who snubbed me but when they heard that the show was being aired on Star, they came in numbers to support me.
The likes of Sulu, Soma, Peter Moyo and Progress who were having braai at Mereki came and supported me after hearing it was a sold out launch on Star FM.
• WORST SHOW
Like any other artiste, I have had my worst show in Kadoma when we experienced power cuts in the midst of our show.
We had to abandon the show and come back to Harare.
The cancellation of our show was a blessing in disguise for a bar owner close by as fans flocked to his pub to watch Zig Zag Band.
• COVID-19 EFFECTS
With many artistes reeling from the effects of Covid-19, I can safely say I wasn’t affected musically since I have another job that I do.
I was only affected business wise but we are grateful to God that we are still in the game doing exceptionally well. We are grateful.
• SPECIAL THANKS
On a parting shot, I would like to my family, fans and friends for their support.
Without their support, I don’t think I would be where I am today.
We also want to thank our promoters and media – both print and electronic!
• NB: Celebrities or celebrities’ managers intending to contribute to this column and share their stories, contact our Entertainment Desk on 0774119633 (calls/sms) or WhatsApp (0719119633) or email [email protected] .co.zw