HARARE – Jah Prayzah, clearly Zimbabwe’s hottest musician at the moment, surprisingly got lowly positions 45 and 50 on the 2017 Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50.
Kutonga Kwaro, the title track of Jah Prayzah’s latest album which has dominated the airwaves and dance floors since veteran nationalist Robert Mugabe resigned late last November, earned position 45 with Ndini Ndamubata landing the last position on the lucrative annual chart.
In the run-up to the delivery of the highly-anticipated chart on New Year’s Eve on Radio Zimbabwe, music fans had tipped Jah Prayzah to follow in the footsteps of Zora icon Leonard Zhakata who pocketed $6 000 after dominating both annual Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 and National FM charts in 2016.
But as has been the case over the past three years, the Watora Mari hit-maker has once again found the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 to be a difficult hunting ground.
The Uzumba-born artiste’s top-placed on the chart garnered just 3 326 votes, a far cry from the 140 256 votes attracted by gospel star Blessing Shumba’s hit Changa Chajaira.
The gulf between Shumba and Jah Prayzah on the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 will predictably generate debate.
Kutonga Kwaro and Ndini Ndamubata cumulatively got 5619 votes while Mutare-based Shumba got a massive combined total of 278 585 for his two songs that topped the chart.
Surprisingly, Jah Prayzah, Zimbabwe’s representative on the Coca-Cola-sponsored Coke Studio Africa 2017, was outvoted by several upcoming and fairly less popular artistes who made it into the top 10.
Apart from Shumba’s Changa Chajaira and Tariro Ichiripo, which the gospel star $4 500 after coming first and second, the annual Radio Zimbabwe chart included Lucky Kumene’s Clicker Rudo on position 4, Gift Amuli’s Masvingo (5), the second hit in the top 10 Tariro (6), Abantwana by Martin Sibanda (7), Vabati VaJehovha’s Tivavarire Denga (8), Enia by Tendai Dembo (9) and Gift Amuli’s second hit in the top 10 Georgina on position number 10.
Jah Prayzah’s dismal showing was hinted by the sponsors of the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 last week who revealed that the music star was struggling to amass enough votes to break into the top 20.
While acknowledging Jah Prayzah’s current popularity, Coca-Cola senior brand manager Vee Chibanda, was quick to emphasise that the annual chart is determined through votes and not perceived popularity.
“2017 was a unique year as Zimbabweans saw a new political leadership in November. Our very talented and Coke Studio 2017 representative, Jah Prayzah, was riding high with his new “prophetic” album — Kutonga Kwaro.
“It was released soon after Coke Studio but before the revolution… listeners seem to consider he will win the song of the year.
“From available votes from January and current voting indications so far, he is pushing but may not even be in the top 20,” said Chibanda.
She added that it was important for music fans to understand how the annual Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 is determined.
“The show uses all weekly SMS votes to come up with the annual chart show.
“The Coca-Cola Top 50 is a reflection of the songs that have been hits throughout the year, from January to December.
“The Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 starts with Coca-Cola Top 20 which plays every Saturday between 1200hours -1300hours.
Listeners send their favourite five songs to the number 0778 230 493 in the format:Song#Song#Song#Song#Song#.
The songs will be in the respective order, from number one to five.
“Our experience shows that when we ask listeners to vote for the top five songs of the year, they tend to forget songs that were released early in the year and focus on current hit songs only.
“So to give all artists equal opportunities, we combine all the votes an artist garnered during the top 20 weekly programmes and tally them with the votes sent specifically for top 50.
“This gives artistes who released their songs in the beginning of the year a chance to be considered,” she said.