When former Zimpraise choir member Wencilus Makungisa shot to fame a couple of years ago through Musandikanganwe — a hit song that became an anthem — many would have dismissed him as a one-hit wonder. However, Mpostori Wency, as Makungisa is affectionately known, is out to prove his critiques wrong as he has continued to soar into a fully established artist.
the style interview: By Kennedy Nyavaya
His journey dates back to 2003 when he started singing with many established musicians of that time the likes of Sabastian Magacha, Bethany Pasinawako and Mechanic Manyeruke among others. In 2006 he joined Zimpraise Choir, one of the biggest gospel outfits in Zimbabwe where he got the opportunity to lead a song called Vanotenda Munashe in 2011. Two years later he sang another song called Musandikanganwe before singing Weminana in 2014.
Still riding on the crest of fame he got while at the Zimpraise choir, Mpostori Wency later established his solo career. In 2016, he did his debut project — a live DVD recording titled Apostolic Gospel Season 1. Armed with one album to his name, the Zimbabwe Youth Achievers Awards winner is now geared to go global through tours starting next month. During the tour he will perform in South Africa, Kenya and the United Kingdom, sharing the stage with some gospel music giants.
The Standard Style reporter Kennedy Nyavaya (KN) caught up with Mpostori Wency (WM) who reflected on his past and how he felt to have come this far.
KN: Greetings Mpostori. Please tell us more about yourself.
WM: Wencilus Makungisa, popularly known as Mpostori Wency, is a fully born-again Christian born in Zimbabwe in 1988.
I started singing in 2003 and trained as a backing vocalist and I have been consistent with obtaining trends as I continue to re-invent myself through branding myself as the most popular mpostori in the local gospel scene.
KN: In 2014 you released your first project without Zimpraise Choir, what are some of the challenges you have faced in trying to establish your solo career to date?
WM: Well, I do not want to talk about money because everything revolves around it, but as a solo artist, you need connections when you are young and aspiring to get to the top. Sometimes it is hard to attain that because people want to be associated with something already successful so when you haven’t done anything it becomes tough, but I believe hard work will get us more connections.
KN: Is there a solution to these problems you mention?
WM: We need gospel sponsors in the country to get more exposure for young artists like it used to be back in the day through events like Nguva Yakwana and Ngaavongwe, which are now defunct.
KN: How do you feel about getting this far considering that it is always hard for upcoming solo artists to get international tour opportunities and are you confident that you can do it alone?
WM: I believe that everything that I touch works out to perfection. I am not yet perfect, but I am working towards perfecting my act. As a solo artist, through some functions I am spending more time on stage knowing that I am on my own without the Zimpraise Choir. That choir is a very perfect team which produces a lot of stars, so sometimes you relax knowing that your mistakes are covered by others but when you are on your own, you need to work very hard to maintain the same level.
KN: In your own perspective, what attributes should a gospel musician possess and is classifying them through dressing or actions justified?
WM: Gospel music has its own principles that will never change and it is different from secular music and hence there are expectations for gospel musicians. You have to be a born again Christian; that is your ticket to start preaching through music and when you are a Christian what you sing has to be inspired by the word of God. Taking for example when I sing, my music is inspired by the word of God and that is why I call it apostolic music.
KN: You quote the word of God a lot both in conversation and in songs. Is this where the name Mpostori [Apostle] comes from or you are a member of the apostolic sect?
WM: No! I always find it so hard to explain to people, but my name has nothing to do with churches, culture or religion, but it is the type of gospel I minister which is apostolic gospel.
Apostolic gospel is the true message of Jesus Christ, the message of hope and thanksgiving, so I called myself Mpostori because I wanted to remind myself each time I write a song that that is my mission. It is about the great commission mention in the Bible and that is where my message is centred. There are some messages which I do not sing even if I wanted to.
KN: You seem to have all of it figured out. What do you think can be done for people who leave highly esteemed music groups to start their own careers to ensure that they flourish?
WM: Everything that is done with a good motive always survives. If you do things out of competition, it will never go anywhere because you work hard to outclass other people instead of concentrating on your work. I believe whenever you want to do something, you have to approach the leadership so they release you in a nice way; that is my advice to other artists.
KN: What are your future plans?
WM: I believe that my work will do the talking but all I can say is that I am working and my ultimate vision is to grow.