Urban grooves sensation Cindy Munyavi, who recently released a new video for the hit single Dai, has made a bedazzling comeback on the musical scene. The budding businesswoman who entered the music industry at the turn of the new millennium and made a grand entrance on the stage with her debut album titled Kukuda/Loving You was nominated in the same category with legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi at the 2006 National Arts and Merit Awards (Nama).
the style interview By Nicola Gibson
The Standard Style reporter Nicola Gibson (NG) caught up with Munyavi (CM) last week where she opened up on her business, love life and music. Below are excerpts of the interview.
NG: Let’s start with your business. How long have you been operating your clothing business?
CM: I have always had a passion for fashion. Before I had a shop, I was in the business of buying and selling clothes, so this is something I have been doing for 10 years. But the store has been in existence since 2014.
NG: What have you learnt from being an entrepreneur?
CM: What I have learnt from being any entrepreneur is to be responsible. The level of responsibility that you show as an entrepreneur is different from that you show as an employee. I think I have developed a thick skin and I have learnt to follow my instincts.
NG: Which details are you mostly excited about in the collection from your shop?
CM: We mainly cater specifically for the young, hip and fashion-forward young woman. I enjoy collecting unique pieces for the shop. Our goal is to make people look glamorous. Our motto is, “Go Glam” because we believe people should look good all the time.
NG: How do you feel about the role of a businesswoman?
CM: Like I said, the responsibility is massive. At the end of the month people need to get paid and you are creating employment, which is something I’m proud of, considering the prevailing economic situation in Zimbabwe, though it’s a huge burden to carry.
NG: What do you wish to accomplish in your life?
CM: I want to be recognised in the region by taking my music outside Zimbabwe. I want to be a continental showbiz icon, fashion and music wise. Once I accomplish that, I can take my stuff globally.
NG: You seem to rock Harare with Kumabhebhi gig. What made you decide to come up with such an event?
CM: Kumabhebhi is a networking platform for women to come through and have fun, get entertainment, dress-up in a female-friendly environment and at the same time get entertained by female artists. We realised that female artists sometimes wait for promoters to hire them, which is not ideal for the business. Kumabhebhi was a way to empower and emancipate myself as a female musician and to enhance my income, at the same time reaching out to women. I started the show in 2013 with my partner Clare Nyakujara who is a jazz musician.
NG: What’s the importance of your brand idea and self-love of women coming together?
CM: Kumabhebhi is meant to unite women because they find it hard to work together, but so far Clare and I have been very successful at that and we also want to promote self-love among women. We want to empower the girl child into believing that she can do a lot more on her own. I think our society is patriarchal and the boy child is expected to achieve certain things in life more than the girl child. Things have changed and women are now go-getters. So I’m hoping my brand teaches the girl child that she is a go-getter and she can get whatever she wants.
NG: Whenever you write a new song, it generates a catchphrase. Is that something you think about?
CM: Yes, whenever I’m writing a song I always think of catchphrases. The point is that the songs stick in people’s minds, for example Ndidzorere Moyo Wangu is very self-explanatory. The message behind the song is about a heartbreak. I think coming up with catchphrases comes into play during the creative process because you want the song to be remembered.
NG: What’s the message behind Dai?
CM: Dai is about a girl with a crush. It’s about not being able to express that you feel a certain way for somebody and this is typical of Zimbabwean girls because society views it as taboo when women approach men with messages of love. In this song, I talk about a girl who has a crush on a certain guy but is not able to tell him.
NG: Do you have a new project coming up?
CM: I have got a new album called MVC. The album is ready, but I’m waiting for the opportune time to release it. It has songs like Dai, Mubvudzo, Parere Moyo and Kutsvaga Mari.
NG: How did the creative process for Dai begin?
CM: The creative process for Dai begun with a crush and I was able to express myself in the song.The song was recorded in Malawi by a producer called Manje and the video was shot in Shamva. Everything was organised by my producer and manager Elton Brice of Brice Nation.
NG: Do you feel pressure for perfectionism? For example, saying to yourself “at this age, I should have a perfect marriage, family and achieve successes”.
CM: I don’t feel any pressure at all because I set my own goals and do things in my own time. Though certain things happen in God’s time not according to my plans. I’m not under a lot of pressure.
NG: You are an icon of women empowerment and you sing mainly about love. What does love and relationships mean to you?
CM: I think I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, which is why I sing a lot of love songs. I am also a very imaginative person and I guess I write my own fantasies. I also write about other people’s experiences because I’m a very good listener, so when I listen, I get inspired though I first ask for permission before I record or sing about other people’s experiences. I just don’t do it out of the cover.
NG: You are always on the go. Do you ever get downtime?
CM: I’m a bit of a workaholic and I rarely take breaks and that’s my biggest flaw. I would like to learn to take a break. I love working and yes, I am also a perfectionist.
NG: What has been your milestone on the way up?
CM: I managed to establish a successful music career as well as a successful fashion business. I think for any girl child, that is inspirational and I am very grateful about my successes. I thank my parents for supporting me all the way up. It was not always rosy and it’s not easy either, but I managed to stay motivated with the support from home.