People might say it’s not that rosy to make it in the cut-throat music industry, but for Zimbabwe-born rapper Metaphysics, it is creativity and originality that can propel one to international stardom.
BY TAWANDA TADERERA
Born Hebert Qwela Schwamborn, Metaphysics is one of a handful Zimbabwean artists who have made it on the international scene.
He is famous for being a member of the multi-platinum selling German music group Söhne Mannheims (Sons of Mannheim) and is also the founder of Gandanga Music Zimbabwe, a recording label based both in Zimbabwe and Germany.
The rapper, in a recent interview with The Standard Style, dismissed claims that Zimbabwean music was failing to meet international standards, saying those were utterances from artists who were limiting themselves to the domestic scene.
“That’s a myth. We have many talented Zimbabweans doing amazing things internationally; both Tinashe and Takudzwa “TK” Paradza — the guy who produces for Beyonce — are doing well,” said Metaphysics.
“It’s just that a lot of Zimbabweans limit themselves to the local music scene and market.”
He said Zimbabwean music was unique in its own way and there was need for artists to be creative.
“Zimbabwean music has its own unique beat and tapping into that is the most important thing that we can do,” he said.
“There are a lot of genres that are typically Zimbabwean which are very entertaining and nice to listen to.
“Most guys in Zimbabwe are really great artists and very talented. It’s unfortunate that the great number of artists in the arts sector are not strong enough to make it.”
He said Zimbabwean music had its own identity that made it distinct on the international arena.
The singer, who was instrumental in the formation of music outfit Peace of Ebony in 1991 alongside Tony Chihota, Keith Farqhuarson and the late Chiwoniso Maraire, urged local artists to focus on innovativeness and originality.
“My advice is that artists need to stay focused and find avenues to generate income from a project, whether it’s a cross-branding or live show or internet sales, whatever it is,” he said.
“Even though there are millions of producers and artists, I think the most important thing is for the artist to find his or her own identity and then you have to compete for anybody’s space.”
While some artists are crying foul over piracy, others say it was a blessing in disguise as it made them popular.
“Piracy is an unavoidable obstacle and in fact, it is not an obstacle anymore. If we follow the Nigerian template, it can also be the best way for an artist to be exposed and getting his music out in turn, generating a lot of fans and following for your live performances,” he said.
The artist said he was open to work with upcoming artists and doing collaborative work.
“I am always open for collaborative work and almost everyday upcoming artists are sending me new material for consideration,” he said.
“I am collaborating with new artists almost daily and it’s just part of my work because it keeps me fresh as well. I never limit myself.
“Right now I am shooting two music videos that will be ready later this month. I will fly back to German where I have a couple of tours.”
The veteran artist said he would be back in Zimbabwe in October for a number of events.
The artist has proven to be an entrepreneur after he indicated that he would soon introduce branded drinking water.
“I am in the process of starting my own brand of water called Coolwater. I will also set up Coolwater Academy for arts. I am talking to Rick Ross about it and I want him to be the brand ambassador for Africa. He has shown interest in the project,” he said.