UK-based musician returns to Zim


HARARE – Upcoming musician Pearl Natasha Waungana Doherty, who has made waves in the United Kingdom (UK), is back in Zimbabwe to work on her debut album titled I/U.

The 22-year-old Pearl, whose album is being produced by some of Zimbabwe’s top producers who include Begotten Sun, Take 5, FTR and Squash, believes her country of birth provides a better launch pad for her budding career.

Buoyed by the success of her recent online release Take Control/Ndiwe, Pearl feels she is now better prepared to make a competitive entry into the music world.

“I was in the UK for 12 years but I was born in Zimbabwe,” the Zimbabwean songstress told the Daily News.

“I went to the UK and now I am back on a semi-permanent basis to work on my debut album. I came back (to Zimbabwe) in September and I returned to the UK for a few weeks but I am back in Zimbabwe now.”

The budding musician, whose parents relocated to Derry, Ireland when she was a young girl, believes Zimbabwe offers better opportunities for a fledgling musician like her.

“The music environment here is very friendly, people are so receptive. They are more than willing to work with me and when you approach them they will give you time. In the UK they are so busy; they don’t have time for others.

“I feel that the music here is being done in the right way because you can afford to do live instruments while in the UK it is expensive to assemble a band. In the UK It is mostly digital as it is less costly. I think there is potential in Zimbabwe. I think if artistes take music seriously as a career they can make it. What it needs is commitment and drive,” added Pearl.

Despite receiving rave reviews in the UK whenever she performed as a supporting act to touring Zimbabwean stars like Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Winky D, Suluman Chimbetu and Jah Prayzah, Pearl believes she is not ready for the UK market.

“Penetrating into the UK market is difficult. You must have some huge corporate backing to be accepted. Getting it on radio is also difficult. While here you can approach the radio stations and when they listen to your music they tell you where to correct it or improve,” she said.

Pearl who describes her music as “pop crossover”, has already set up a backing band.

“I have actually assembled a band with keyboard players, guitarists and others. With my band I am
targeting everyone; I don’t have a specific audience that is why I am involving the live instruments.”

The holder of two academic degrees from Leeds Metropolitan University broke into the music world in January this year.

“I released my first song online called Autumn Sky at the beginning of this year and my second song Free was released in August and has been playing on Star FM.

“My music is folk/pop. I love singing; I wanted to see what it was like recording. When I did record I got a certain hunger to keep on recording that’s when I decided to really pursue music.”

Pearl a fan of Tracy Chapman and the late Brenda Fassie has collaborated with artistes such as hip-hop star Tehn Diamond and dancehall star Dhadza D.

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