ON a certain night while sleeping, he had a dream. He woke up and started worshiping the Lord. In the middle of worshiping he began saying words and he didn’t know where they were coming from. Perplexed by this, he turned that dream into a song — Mapisarema.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Today Blessing Shumba is one of Zimbabwe’s gospel music kingpins having changed the face of the gospel music scene with his distinct type of music that has seen many others copycating.
In a recent interview with The Standard Style, Shumba said he dreamt the song Mapisarema that is found on his successful latest album NdiJesu that is currently rocking the airwaves.
Besides having dreams, Shumba, who was born at Takavarasha Clinic in Buhera in March 1979, said the death of his father also inspired him.
“When my father died, I sang a song for him — Kurwa Kwakanaka — and many people were touched by the song. It became so popular that people encouraged me to record it. I recorded it and it became a hit,” he said.
“My father was a pastor and I grew up singing in the church He always wanted us to present new songs as a choir. This is how he made me become the composer that I am today,” said Shumba, who is a member of the Mugodi apostolic sect.
To date, The Holy Psalms front man has released four albums —Ishe Wazvose (2009), NdiMwari (2011), Shongwe (2012) and NdiJesu (2015). NdiMwari, which features plug tracks Mufaro, Hama and Ndichauya Nei, was voted outstanding album at the 2012 National Arts Merit Awards (Nama).
Perseverance and determination kept Shumba’s musical soul alive.
Shumba, who has suddenly became a hero in Zimbabwe’s gospel music scene with his unique and highly inspirational products, different from the conventional gospel music that is prevalent in the country.
And he owes his success to God and the people of Zimbabwe who have been supporting him throughout.
“Looking back at my background and humble beginnings, this all shows that God is so generous. He is a faithful God. It is so overwhelming to be regarded as one of the best. I appreciate everything what my fans have done and showed to me. It is so inspiring to hear your music being played on the radio and everywhere. It is so awesome,” Shumba said.
There have been many rumours doing the rounds that Shumab was once a prisoner, but, he clarified the issue by saying: “That’s what people think. But let me put the record straight.”
He explained: “I was a guest artist on the musical project featuring prisoners. I featured on the album Munamato Wangu. I produced the album to promote the upcoming group into mainstream music.”
He added: “I joined 16 inmates and eight prison officers on several tracks, and I wrote the seventh song — Murairo Wangu — and rearranged the entire album.”
Commenting about his perceived fall-out with Matthias Mhere, he said he was not angry over the release of an album with striking resemblance to his beat.
Mhere’s album titled Anoita Minana become popular since its release in 2012 and it was initially mistaken for Shumba’s project.
Some music pirates sold the album under Shumba’s name and picture in the initial days of its release following striking vocal and sound arrangement similarity between the two.
“This is something you cannot hide in this ministry, even during Bible times prophets would be likened to one another,” he said.
“We worship the same God, that is what I am sure of. That is what is common between us. What follows about the similarities in our songs, I cannot judge on that one.”
The two musicians recorded the albums at Lyt-On House Studio with the same producer, Lyton Ngolomi.
Ngolomi has also been accusedfor confusing the market after producing beats that are similar to Shumba’s album NdiMwari and Mhere’s album Anoita Minana.
“I am aware that Ngolomi worked with Mhere. He is a producer and he worked with various artistes even before me. That is his source of livelihood and we cannot stop him from doing his work,” said Shumba.
After the incident, Shumba changed the studious and dumped Ngolomi as his producer.
Shumba then set up his studio and hired a South African producer who has produced albums Shongwe and NdiJesu.
“We set up a studio in Mutare. It is convenient and brings out the best for us to record whenever we get a song, than to wait for the opportune time in Harare,” he said.
“The guys based in Mutare are as good as those in Harare, hence, there is no need to go to Harare to record.”
Shumba was in 2013 appointed brand ambassador for the Manicaland National Blood Services Zimbabwe to encourage a culture of donating blood regularly.
Shumba hopes to become a music producer and his recording studio will help those who have no money to record.
Shumba is married and has four children.