Melissa Mpofu, Showbiz Editor
ON Friday, Jah Prayzah will launch his new album a happy man as 2017 has undeniably been a good year for the contemporary musician whose legendary status as Zimbabwe’s next great superstar seems more certain now than ever.
As talk of whether the international collaborations route he has taken continues among music critics, on the ground, the endeavour seems to be paying off as the artiste keeps scoring big deals.
While some are yet to appreciate his change of sound and new style of pushing international collaborations, Jah Prayzah has clearly achieved what he sought to do last year.
Since the history-making night in Durban where he became the first Zimbabwean artiste to win an MTV award for Listener’s Choice, he has proved to have a healthy appetite to conquer the continent. After winning the award, he made it clear that he was on a mission – a mission to make a name for himself outside Zimbabwe and months down the line – Jah Prayzah seems to be on the right track judging by the calibre of events he is being invited to perform at and the artistes he is rubbing shoulders with. His local followers have been starved of his performances as most of his time has been spent in studio outside Zimbabwe.
Early in the year, he travelled to South Africa where he teamed up with afro pop band, Mafikizolo for a collaboration on a track they titled Sendekera. To date, the track produced by DJ Maphorisa has been rotated on a series of international music channels and has close to two million views on YouTube. This collaboration opened more doors for Jah Prayzah as he rode on Mafikizolo’s fame and got links to Nigeria’s Davido. He collaborated with Davido on track My Lilly which also has close to two million views.
His efforts did not go unnoticed as Coca Cola was watching and gave the artiste a slot on this year’s edition of Coke Studio Africa – a popular musical show which saw him collaborating with America’s Jason Derulo. To be part of the musical show, producers will have identified immense talent showing how much Jah Prayzah has built a name for himself and proved his worth.
Just recently, he was roped in on another track titled, “Song for Africa”, that features big names such as Akon, Youssou N’Dour, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Fally Ipupa and P Square. Once again, with this track, Jah Prayzah will be exposed to a bigger global audience when it is released.
To seal the deal, Jah Prayzah is now getting invites to perform at some of the biggest platforms in Africa – a privilege that has over the years been reserved for and enjoyed by Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi. Taking over from Tuku, Jah Prayzah was invited to perform at the Baseline Festival as well as the MTN Bush Fire Festival in Swaziland where he wowed audiences with his performances and military attire.
Most recently, last weekend, the Mudhara Vachauya hit-maker was invited to perform at the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) in South Africa alongside Mafikizolo, Davido, Prince Kaybee, Busiswa, Ringo, Tshepo Tshola, Amanda Black and Sipho Mabuse. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, Jah Prayzah performed his tracks with Davido and Mafikizolo in front of the thousands who attended the festival.
While Jah Prayzah is not the first artiste to perform outside the country’s borders, it is the relevance and magnitude of events that he has graced that makes his story different from the rest who often perform at nightclubs for Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
His manager, Keen Mushapaidze said it was humbling to note that his artiste was right on track.
“We’re excited to be given opportunities to perform on big stages outside Zimbabwe. This has always been our dream, to have our music accepted and appreciated in other countries besides our lovely Zimbabwe that has made us who we are today,” said Mushapaidze.
On their MACUFE performance, Mushapaidze said it was great sharing the stage for the first time with Davido as it also prepared them for the Friday performance where Davido is expected to perform with Jah Prayzah.
“For the first time, we shared the stage with Davido, something which gave us a feel of what the atmosphere will be like come Friday at the HICC when he’ll come through to perform at Jah’s album launch.
“The vibe in South Africa was great, the event was well organised and people there enjoyed his music which was really encouraging for us.”
Back home, Jah Prayzah has more achievements to celebrate as he set up his own studio and record label – Military Touch Movement which has also fared well on the local music scene. With the help of video producer – Vusa Blaqs, the stable has led the way in producing quality music videos.
With artistes – Andy Muridzo, ExQ, Tahle, Chiweda, Nutty O and DJ Tamuka signed under the label – Jah Prayzah has indeed proven that he is a force to reckon with as the label seems to have gained corporate trust and is getting slots at notable gigs such as the OK Grand Challenge and now the Castle Lager National Braai Day. On Friday, the stable’s artistes will help Jah Prayzah unveil his Kutonga Kwaro album at the HICC.