Carlos Jiri aka The ‘International Dream’: The Zimbabwean Singer with a Journey of Dreams
Bongani Ndlovu, Online Writer
It is not everyday that what one thought he or she would be when they grew up will come to fruition, but for singer songwriter and performer Carlos Jiri, this is what happened.
The Bulawayo born Carlos Jiri would as a young boy, grip a TV remote, belt out Usher and Backstreet Boys hits from his couch.
That boy was Carlos Jiri, a passionate Zimbabwean singer and songwriter who discovered his love for music at a tender age.
Born on August 17th, 1991, in the vibrant city of Bulawayo, Carlos said his musical journey took flight when he joined the Sunday School choir.
“Singing alongside adults, I realised that music was my true calling. As I grew older, I saw my talent blossom, leading me to join various church groups and bands, honing my skills with every performance,” said Carlos Jiri.
An avid rugby player in his schooling years, it had to take an injury at high school for him to go back to his first love, music.
“It was during my secondary education at Petra College that I faced a crossroad. Excelling in rugby, I was on the cusp of sporting greatness until fate intervened in the form of a serious back injury. I was then forced to leave the game behind and return to my first love – music,” said Carlos Jiri.
In 2014, Carlos formed “The Ecstasy Band,” a group that quickly became a household name in Bulawayo.
Their energetic performances and soulful melodies captivated audiences at prestigious venues like the Holiday Inn Rainbow Hotel and Horizon Lounge.
Friday nights were never the same as people flocked to witness the magic of “Ecstasy Fridays” at Cape to Cairo, the renowned jazz bar.
While success embraced Carlos locally, his heart yearned for an international opportunity.
And then, in March 2016, destiny knocked on his door as he stumbled upon a tattered poster that read, “Sing Your Way Paris.”
The annual competition organised by the Alliance Française promised the winner a chance to tour and perform in the City of Love.
“With only three days to prepare and a song in French to master, I took on this once-in-a-lifetime challenge. Nervous but determined, I took to the stage, surprising even myself with each note. And when the judges announced the finalists, the crowd erupted with joy, including myself in that esteemed group of performers,” he said.
Carlos Jiri said weeks later, he emerged as the national winner, securing his ticket to Paris, France.
“This incredible achievement marked a turning point in my career, solidifying my belief that dreams do come true, albeit in unexpected ways. Music has taken me across the globe to many other distant lands and learned first-hand that the path to success is paved with challenges and doubts, but it is through believing in God, investing time, money and an unwavering determination in prayer that one can truly shine,” said Carlos Jiri.
He said this triumph marked a milestone in his career, proving that dreams indeed come true, even in unexpected ways.
“My musical journey has taken me across the globe, exposing me to diverse cultures and sounds. Through experiences, I have learned that success is not attained without facing challenges and doubts. I firmly believe in the power of faith, investing time, money, and unwavering determination in prayer to truly shine,” said Carlos Jiri.
In 2018, Carlos joined forces with fellow musicians whom he had worked with for many years, forming the band, Ngoma Ingoma.
Their mission was to preserve African sounds, rhythms, and diverse music styles for future generations, inspired by the footsteps of elder musicians who created original African informative music. Ngoma Ingoma has garnered multiple awards, including Skyz Metro Song of the Year 2019, Star FM Best Duo 2020, and ROIL BAA Song of the Year 2020.
However, it was in 2023 that Carlos Jiri experienced the pinnacle of his career thus far. After receiving a call back for acting and singing at the International Arts and Talent Showcase (IATS) in Johannesburg, South Africa, he represented both his agency and country at the prestigious International Models and Talent Association (IMTA) in New York, USA.
At IMTA, Carlos Jiri showcased his talents in singing, songwriting, commercial modelling and acting. His exceptional performances led to numerous wins while competing against hundreds of contestants from around the world, including the overall Best Singer award, Best Songwriter, and recognition for his theatrical headshots. What made this achievement even more remarkable was his receiving the Most Sought-after Talent award because of the record-breaking 25 agent call-backs he received, solidifying his status as a rising star.
Carlos Jiri, The ‘International Dream,’ continues to inspire with his undeniable talent, unwavering dedication, and humble spirit.
As a Zimbabwean singer, he embraces his heritage while transcending borders through his music. Carlos Jiri’s journey serves as a testament to the power of dreams, resilience, and the belief that with hard work, faith, and perseverance, anything is possible.