Bongani Ndlovu Showbiz Correspondent
When something progresses from being a mere hobby to a consuming passion, one can take that as a sign that whatever they are doing is a calling. Some people get into a profession such as music and do not make the cut. They suffer more from the failure as they fail to see other opportunities around them that they can exploit.
At least video editor and producer Vusa “Blaqs” Hlatshwayo, who does video filming as a passion producing quality music videos, was able to see the opening that others were blind to. One of his productions was House Rebels’ Godobori that catapulted the group to international recognition, leading to a performance at the Miami Music Conference.
This week Saturday Leisure correspondent Bongani (BN) had a chat with Vusa (Blaqs), who has also produced a music video for Iyasa, about his trade.
BN: Tell us about who you are?
Blaqs: Vusa was born in Kwekwe and grew up in Bulawayo. He went to Mbizo Primary School then Luveve High school (O-Level). He studied Theory of Music (Majored in Classic Piano) while at Luveve. He met Polite Sithole while there and they started working together to groom young artistes. He then went to Foundation College for A-Level. There he was introduced to Creative Writing and Poetry.
BN: How did you get interested in video filming?
Blaqs: I was a musician at first but after several failures in the industry, I went back to one of my old friends Handsome Ndlovu (a photographer and video producer who runs Digiworld Studio) for help in sourcing funds. I found my calling on that day. As soon as I walked into Handsome’s office, the first thing that caught my eye was an old Minolta camera mounted on a tripod with a zoom lens screwed on. Right then I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do, I made my intentions clear to Handsome and I was hired on the spot as an assistant cameraman.
In that setup I worked on my Photography, Videography and Video Editing Skills. Without sounding conceited I think I became the tip of the sword as the company grew. Learning every skill as we went, Handsome and I were mavericks. We graduated from funeral videos to television adverts and documentaries. Doing work for the likes of World Vision, Miss Zimbabwe, Main Protective Clothes, Astra and many other corporates.
BN: Interesting, tell me more about your musical career.
Blaqs: After completing my A’ levels I went straight into the music industry working with different artistes who were also trying to break into market. My first studio experience was with Joe Maseko at House of Rising Sound. My best friend Polite Sithole and I produced tracks that attracted the attention of Joseph “Man Soul Jah” Nhara who was then riding the wave of his Mr Government Man song. We were both signed to Icons Music as producer and artiste respectively.
I was pushed into the music scene by friends who admired the fact that I was actually trained for it, but the truth is every time I picked up a camera, whenever I could find one, I was fascinated by the different perceptions I could create just by turning my camera this way or that, it was amazing, it reminded me of poetry.
BN: Which projects have you worked on?
Blaqs: To date, I have worked on several music videos for such groups as Iyasa, Born Free Crew Bulawayo, Umguza Choir but the production that got me noticed was Godobori for the group House Rebels. After that video was released I was overwhelmed by the response I got from all over the world, a lot of people generally loved it. I wanted to do more and more.
I recently produced another video for Thorne and Spinx for a track called Heatwave which was well received as well. On the cards is a TV show, a movie, and a documentary. I can’t reveal any more details as these projects are still in the planning stages. All I can say is they all will be released before the end of the year. I also worked on a music video for award winning hip hop musican P.O.Y for his song Dirty Game and Xmile’s Click Song.