Melissa Mpofu, Showbiz Editor
From begging music promoters and show organisers to include him on their line-ups, Jah Prayzah’s story has changed as he is now a sought-after artiste and record label owner, whose itinerary is almost fully booked for the rest of the year.
Most promoters worth their salt locally want him to perform at their shows and they are not the only ones, even those abroad are now on his case. If he is not performing at the HICC or Bulawayo Amphitheatre, then he will likely be in SA, UK or Canada which have become his playgrounds.
To his credit, the lanky artiste, at most shows he performs, commands a full house showing how much his popularity has grown.
But this did not happen overnight according to the artiste. It took a lot of hard work, teamwork and commitment to make his brand appealing.
“There was a time when people didn’t know my name and when I got slots at shows, not much attention was given to me. But that did not deter me as I kept on pushing. But now, my hard work has paid off as I’m at a level where my work is now speaking for me. I’ve so many people calling me for shows and it’s unbelievable,” said Jah Prayzah.
His wardrobe has also changed as he is following international trends, moving away from abusing his military attire which he wore even at award ceremonies.
The Military Touch Movement boss who is currently in Nairobi, Kenya, at the invitation of Coca-Cola where he is collaborating with Mozambican star Mr Bow in the Coke Studio said he was glad that finally, his works were being recognised, especially internationally.
“Being invited by Coke to collaborate with an international artiste shows how much I’ve grown as a brand. I’m honoured to be part of this African musical project with one of Mozambique’s finest artistes,” he said.
To him, the collaboration has not been ordinary as he has also discovered talents he never knew he had.
“The Coke Studio has taught me a lot and I’ve discovered talents I didn’t know I had. At times when people listen to music or watch videos, they never know the amount of work that would have been put into that project. Mr Bow and I composed and recorded a song from scratch and also, I’d to sing one of his songs and he’s also doing a cover version of Mudhara Vachauya.
“The most challenging thing is that you’re taken out of your comfort zone. I’ve had to learn his language in order to sing his song well. The producers as well are very strict as they want perfection so this recording is no walk in the park,” said Jah Prayzah.
Once complete however, Jah Prayzah will be smiling all the way because the tracks will likely see him gain popularity in East Africa where the videos will be flighted as well as in Mozambique.
But after all these accomplishments, Jah Prayzah is incomplete as he misses his family. Nowadays, he spends most of his time abroad, either performing at shows, some as far as UK or in studios.
He has however come to terms with the fact that nothing much can be done about it as he has to chase the paper in order to be able to fend for his wife and children.
“These days,” he said, “I’m constantly away from home and obviously miss my family. But, in life, there’re some things that one can’t avoid and they understand that I’ve to work in order to provide for them.” To make up for all the time he will be away, Jah Prayzah says he always makes sure he takes his family out upon returning.
“During the limited time I have with my family, I make sure I take them out to secluded places so that we get time to catch up and bond before going back home,” he said.
Jah Prayzah who departs from Kenya on Sunday for SA is expected back home next Friday. In South Africa, he will be in studio for a couple of recordings.
“I’m working on my eighth album which I’m hoping to release in September this year. It’ll feature a couple of international collaborations which I’m currently pursuing.
“This year is a very busy one because from South Africa, I’ll be going to Uzumba for school sports tournaments there. I’ve gigs lined up for Australia, Canada, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana with more still being finalised.”
Riding high on his latest collaboration with SA’s Mafikizolo, Jah Prayzah has done duets with African music giants Diamond Platnumz and Tswana songstress Charma Gal. Other than Mr Bow, Jah Prayzah is also set to do a cover version of an up-and-coming Ugandan artiste’s track. Last month, Jah Prayzah and Nigerian music star Davido announced plans to do a duet with more lined up.