When Tocky Vibes (real name Obey Makamure) reached a peak in his music journey in 2014, it was a typical rags to riches story.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
His meteoric rise could be summed up in one of his hits Aenda Nenyika where he heralded his inspiring story.
The Tocky Vibes brand, however, suffered drastically when he stirred the hornet’s nest by supposedly routing all ethical bounds in what was loosely translated as egoistic traits catalysed by fame.
The sudden change of sound in his debut album titled Toti Toti where he produced six tracks with a fusion of a contemporary beat and reggae feel attracted mixed reactions among music lovers, with some claiming he had aborted Zimdancehall.
With rising speculation that there is a sharp decline in the Zimdancehall influence owing to reduced shows and decline in impressive material, the Rugare-bred chanter might have made the right move.
Although he still sings on certain dancehall beats (riddims), the new music is an insignia of a more calmly composed approach.
The Mhai singer believes it no longer the beat, but rather impressive lyricism that ensures musicians remain relevant.
“When a genre rises, there is always a rush but there is a moment of reality where people do not really look at the genre but appreciate a good song,” Tocky Vibes said.
“I do not have anything negative I see on riddims but what happens sometimes is that people fail to create songs and only concentrate on riding the riddim.”
Tocky Vibes insists his choice to incorporate a new beat never affected his brand and that it was a transition many “analysts” had not seen coming, hence the criticism.
“I see the same reaction because on my songs, it is all about delivering the message to people, so someone who is touched by the message gives positive feedback,” he said.
The multi-award winner said bad publicity, which he believes as part of machinations spearheaded by detractors, actually inspired him to soldier on and create new things.
“That is just talk from people but the fans sing along, contrary to what the analysts say,” he said.
“When you bring something new people criticise you because they have seen that they cannot do the same, but fans want new material so one’s art has to evolve to avoid monotony.”
The 22-year-old chanter has shot videos for his new songs to “explain some of my lyrics”.
“I did not say that but people take sides in whatever is said and that is how people are,” he said.
“It is just that sometimes you might not have the chance to explain so you just leave it like that.”
There is no doubt his music has entirely evolved, as evidenced by his distinct choice of artistes to collaborate with and choice of producers which he says has yielded desired results for him.
“It is just an issue of giving someone a chance to do what they believe in because true fans will always appreciate although you will always have negatives here and there,” he said, adding that fans appreciated things with time.
Tocky Vibes has also sought the services of a band for live shows.
Meanwhile, the musician has engaged top producers Munyaradzi Viya, Mono Mukundu, Levels and Mt Zion among others for his forthcoming 14-track album set for release soon.
While only time will tell whether he will hit the top spot again with this offering, one thing certain is that whatever the case, he will not quit the art anytime soon.
“As long as I am alive my life revolves around music and that is what I live for, so if I live long, music will continue until I get to my grave,” he said.