25 May 2016
. . . welcomes competition
. . . Â 21st album in July
. . . blasts local awards
Hello H-Metro readers and Zora music cadres/fans at large.
Itâ€™s an honour contributing to this column in my own capacity as Leonard Zhakata, the Zimbabwe All Stars leader.
I have been longing for this opportunity to share my vision and I am glad I finally got my chance to enlighten my fans.
In this column, I will share with you some of my plans and clarify a number of issues that have been raised over the years.
In short, you will hear it from the horseâ€™s mouth. Read on…
â€¢Â NEW PROJECTS:
I am currently working on my 21st album due for release in July.
We are also planning a proper launch where we have invited fellow musicians, promoters, old and new Zora cadres among others.
The album carries 11 tracks like Moyo Wekutenda, Zuva Rake, Wauya Nei, Mutunga Dzese, Kuzvarwa kwemuprofita among others.
It appears fans have since fallen in love with the track Zuva Rake that we have been playing during live shows.
I have also featured a number of artistes in this album in some of the tracks and I hope fans will certainly fall in love with it.
â€¢Â ALBUM DROUGHT
I am very much aware that my last album â€“ Zvangu Zvaita â€“ was released in the year 2013 and fans still wanted more.
Shortly after releasing that album, we were deserted by some band members â€“ drummer and bass guitarists â€“ prompting me to groom new people to fill the void.
Itâ€™s not easy grooming new people considering that we have a huge catalogue, which they should master.
I took my time grooming the new boys and I can safely say they are now gelling with the rest of the band members and right now we are in the studio with them.
As an artiste you emulate your elders who started long before us and try to correct where they might have under-performed.
Penetrating international markets is another key area where I am still working on despite all the years I have in the industry.
By the way, there is a huge difference from being popular beyond borders than penetrating those markets.
In short, I just want to be a force to reckon with internationally and establish my brand both locally and abroad.
To ensure that I meet this goal, I will continue giving fans quality stuff which meets international standards.
â€¢Â MEDIA BLACKOUT
There are no more complaints on my side and how you handle yourself as an artiste matters most.
In my case, I have seen it all but what is important is for us to embrace each other â€“ both the media and the artists.
In fact, we need each other and there is no way we can afford to avoid each other.
Put simply, we are definitely pleased with the media coverage we are getting and it shows that the media still recognise us for our efforts.
My heart bleeds for copycats because they continue living under the shadows of those who created a certain brand.
Over the years, I have seen the majority of them falling by the wayside or simply failing to realise their full potential.
I simply urge fellow artistes to be original and fully utilise their potential.
In my case, I like competition because itâ€™s healthy for the growth of the industry. I do embrace the new crop of artistes who are doing very well.
I think some of them have managed to capitalise because they have proper structures out there.
There are, however, some that I think are not valuing their works by dishing out free CDs to fans for recognition.
Now matter generous we might be, I think artistes should value their works and make money out of their sweat rather than dishing it out to people for free.
Like any other business entity, we cannot realise our full potential without marketing.
In my case, I have set up a special marketing team which doing the job ahead of the release of my 21st album.
I have done a number of collaborations with upcoming musicians and I feel we as established musicians, we should help them, hatifaniri kuvavharira panze because we had had our time to shine as well.
I am one artiste who does not believe in awards because they are not being given on merit in most cases.
It appears these wards are meant to push somebody and pull down others.
I appreciate it when fans are given the opportunity to vote as is the case with radio and television end of year awards.
A lot has been said about this scourge but we can only eliminate it by addressing the issue of the scarcity of the product as well as pricing.
Scarcity of the product will always benefit the pirates while pricing is key.
It evolves with age sand in my case, we used to wear those shiny costumes but we have since changed with age ad time.
However, one has to be unique in showbiz in the way that we present ourselves.
Well a lot has been said that i was quitting music to serve the lord. In fact, I am serving the Lord while at the same time doing my music.
If you look closely, there are some pastors who have other jobs and still continue to serve the Lord.
Itâ€™s all about balancing your schedules and in my case I am serving both the Lord at UFIC (under Emmanuel Makandiwa) while at the same time preaching the same gospel he (Makandiwa) teaches me of goods news at pubs where I perform.
I have benefitted a lot from his teachings and I also share them through music.
I have managed to teach and record some of the inmatesâ€™ music during my visits at prisons.
I would donate instruments and teach some of them and so far we have recorded three albums, which is a plus.
Some of them have been released and are now doing music out there while others are honing their skills in prisons.
Well, I am currently coordinating the Hand Wash Campaign and I also work closely with the Friends for Environment in towards the end of year in the tree planting campaigns.
Itâ€™s not easy finding a passionate manager who shares the same vision with you. In most cases, the majority of bands have coordinators and not managers.
A manager should bring value to the band and respect the artiste as the same time.
A manager must have authority and make bold decisions that benefit both the band leader and members and this is the person I have right now.
I have a loving family which has been supportive to me over the years.
The eldest son Chamu, 24, is now studying at Africa University in Mutare while the youngest Kanotonga is now in Form 2.
Kano plays keyboards and marimba and there are signs he might follow in my footsteps.
As for Chamu, he hardly show me whether he would follow in my footsteps or not since he is reserved.
I would like to thank all Zora cadres who have been there for me, music promoters, the group, media (both electronic and print) and of course my family.
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