Thulaniís love for the mbira


SONGSTRESS Thulani Machisa is lucky that her father Okay is also a musician who understands the industry and the challenges that come with the profession.

The Daily News on Sunday’s Lifestyle Writer Anesu Mirisawu caught up with the Zimbabwe College of Music student who enjoys playing the mbira and below are excerpts from the interview.

Q: Covid-19 lockdown regulations happened at a time when you were about to launch your debut album; how has this affected your plans?

A: Covid-19 regulations greatly affected my plans as I was about to come out fully as an artist through my EP launch and that could have taken my career to a different level.

However, the pandemic has affected everyone mentally, financially and in so many other aspects and at this point I just encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of their health. I am working on something that will excite my fans.


Q: You are young, why did you choose to play the mbira instrument; who inspired you to favour this instrument? Which mbira do you play?

A: I chose to major in the mbira because I am very passionate about it; I understand it and I feel I can communicate through it.

I was inspired largely by Chioniso Maraire and Hope Masike who I feel have made it in the industry. I play the nyunganyunga as well as the nhare mbira.

Q: What are some of the subjects that you cover in your music?

A: Well I am a student at the Zimbabwe College of Music and frankly we are required to be well acquainted with most music aspects such as the saxophone, piano, mbira, marimba, music theory itself, among the others.

Q: What was the first song that you composed?

A: My first song was Samatenga on which I got help from Petronella Matipa (Lalla) a fellow artist.

Q: Your first album, when do you plan to release it?

A: The release date of my first album is still to be decided due to the circumstances hence we are not sure whether it will be done online or during a live function; I have, however, released a single titled Ndini.

Q: Which label are you recording under at present?

A: I recorded under Monolio studios for my song Ndini.

I have also worked with DJ Tamuka for some of my upcoming songs.

Q: Who has been writing and producing your music?

A: I have written my own music except for my first song. My music has always been produced by Clive Mono Mukundu.

Q: How supportive have been your parents in your music career?

A: My parents have been my biggest fans and I am very grateful to them because they have pushed me to achieve my goals; my father being one of my advisors.

Q: How many are you in your family, how many are into music?

A: We are a family of three, me being the oldest. My young sister seems interested in music, she is in the Regina Mundi choir but she has not explored her musical talent yet as she is still in school.

The youngest, my brother is very supportive of his sister, we do not know yet if he is a talent to be unveiled later.

Q: You are still at school, how do you juggle that with your music career?

A: Well for me, school is my music career because I still get to do what I love, we get to work with well-groomed people and follow their footsteps, and it becomes fun and educational too.

On the other hand, I feel I am limited on the performance side because my study is a full time course.

Q: l understand you are an active participant in your church, tell us more.

A: I am in the senior youth and at one time I was secretary of the group.

Church has always been my favourite place because of the people and the environment itself.

I am not hesitant about getting involved in any activities happening in church.

Q: Which church do you attend?

A: Roman Catholic.

Q: Your music has evolved over the years, how satisfied are you with your sound?

A: I am satisfied with the progress I have been making and I appreciate the people I work with because they all contribute to making the brand a better one.

Q: Are you into fashion; who dresses you?

A: Yes, I am very much into fashion, I coordinate some of it myself.

Besides I have Sibongile Chonzi, Colani Makoni, Mutsawashe Designs and Faith Manwere closet.

I love the Zimbabwe touch on my designs because it brings out my origin.

Q: While at home, do you cook; what is your favourite dish?

A: Yes I do cook, by virtue of default, I am the oldest daughter.

My favourite dish to cook is spaghetti bolognese.

Q: Where were you born, when and which schools did you attend?

A: I was born in Bulawayo and I attended Selborne Routledge Primary School, Regina Mundi and Christ Ministries High School.

Q: What would you like to tell young girls out there who might want to join the music industry; what is your advice to them?

A: As a young lady, you need to be resilient and push yourself towards achieving your goals.

Your confidence makes you in this industry, fight for what you believe in and you can achieve anything. It is no easy road but as young girls, we will make it.

Q: Apart from music what else would you like to do professionally?

A: Besides music and school, I am currently involved in an organization called Youth Arts, Culture and Heritage Trust which deals with culture heritage and youths.

Our goal is to preserve arts and cultural heritage through research, performances and exhibitions,  to value, share, promote and depict African cultural diversity, to use arts and culture as vehicles for self-expression and self-knowledge, develop greater understanding of others, giving voice to diverse ideas, uniting people across divides of class and culture, and helping to build stronger communities.

We also aim to use arts and culture to deal with social challenges and for sustainable development.

In future, I would like to keep advocating for young women who would like to join this industry and others so that they can achieve their goals through this organisation and others to come.

I am also working on opening a traditional wear shop which is yet to be finalised but I do promise fashionable and unique traditional wear which I have been working on.

Q: Is it an advantage to have a father who is a musician?

A: Well, first the support I get is genuine because he understands what it is like to be an upcoming artist.

Advice, we get so much advice from him concerning the crucial decisions in my career and what better person to do that than a musician.

He is my role model and I greatly appreciate him as a father and a musician. I could go on and on.

Q: What can you tell parents that discourage their children from being artists?

A: I do understand their concern but they should come to understand that music is a passion that most people cannot run away from.

Look at musicians like Janet Manyowa who is an accountant by profession but has become one of the most successful musicians.

So yes, education is key and it comes first but they should give their children a chance to explore their passion.

Q: How do you see your artistic career panning out in the future?  

A: I see my artistic career progressing into something big, I am working hard to expand my music into international territories and I do hope and pray that it turns out well. It will not be easy but through working well with everyone in the industry, I’ll definitely get there.

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