FOR Kudzai Sevenzo singing is not something to which she was formally introduced, but something that came to her as naturally as the urge to speak orÂ walk.
“I don’t remember not singing,” she says. “My nursery school report says I was the lead soloist in the class. Maybe they meant I was the loudest!”
Whatever her minders’ interpretation, it is apparent that Sevenzo’s is a life of song which saw her forming a group in her childhood with three of her friends which they called Sait – an abbreviation for the members’ names – and then becoming the Zimbabwean candidate in the South African reality TV show Project Fame.
Having enjoyed rave reviews on her debut album On a Day Like This, Sevenzo says that she has to up her game on the subsequent album so as not to disappoint her expectant fans. Consequently she has been compelled to evolve musically, incorporating various influences and charting her own individual style.
“In terms of the sound, my debut album was a great way to discover my strengths as a songwriter, vocalist and even experiment with different genres, helping me decide the direction I want my next album to take.”
Whilst on her first album there was a deliberate attempt to frame her music in the RnB and urban ballad styles of such acts as Mary Mary, Leanne Rhymes and Celine Dion, there is a clear gravitation towards a more ethnic, African sound. Drawing inspiration from Africa’s musical icons such as Miriam Makeba, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Oliver Mtukudzi and Salif Keita amongst others, she believes that Africa has something unique to offer the rest of the world.
“My second album reveals how I have grown as an artist. It has a richer sound because it’s live instrumentation with the likes of Adam Chisvo, Sam Mataure, Clive Mukundu, Andrew Baird, Dominic Benson, Bobby and Tich Makalisa, to name a few. It definitely has got a richer African sound, which I am so excited about.”
The yet-to-be-named album will also feature collaborations with CBZ A Academy winner Jonah Sithole and Oliver Mtukudzi in the song Pole Pole.
According to Sevenzo, the album delves on the themes of life’s ups and downs, hope, love, unity and puts primacy on celebrating being African.
“There is a reason I am an African, a Zimbabwean, a woman, and a believer. That’s what I celebrate in my music!”