Afro-soul musician Plaxedes Wenyika-Joka is out to prove her transcending flair to any sceptics in the new 10-track album, which she launched in Harare on Friday.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Coming from a generation of urban groovers, an early 2000s pop movement with the majority of its pioneers irrelevant now, the Wadarirei singer’s new project titled Metamorphosis is a defining moment for her career and it will test her relevance after a near decade on-off sabbatical.
In an exclusive interview with The Standard Style, Wenyika-Joka said she was out to correct a perception that her generation of artists shot to fame not because they were talented, but as a result of government policy of 75% local content on the airwaves.
“I did not make it because of the 75% [local content policy]. A lot of people have that misconception, but government realised after we had made it that there was talent,” she said.
“I always wanted to correct that perception that urban grooves started as an underground movement because it is not like we just woke up and our music was played instantly; we earned the right to be heard on radio.”
In her early 20s there was no doubt she was one of the undisputed best with not only a melodious voice, but good lyrics as well.
However, a lot has changed even in her life, so just how much leverage does the new material have to jumpstart her career?
“Experience makes life more interesting and richer. So, clearly life can only get better, the older you grow. I think that is why they say wine gets better with time,” she said.
Perhaps rightfully so, when one listens to the two released songs off the album, Sweetest of Love and Beautiful Song featuring ExQ, which have done well since release early this year.
Wenyika-Joka also points out that it has been a long journey to finally put together her studio album, but she said the unparalleled work will explain “what Plaxedes is about”.
“When I chose the title, it felt right in terms of even the direction the music takes. The statement felt right even in my path in terms of artistry and I felt I had now come into myself,” she said.
“I am now really comfortable in my skin, that’s the whole thing, getting to a point where you are fully who you are in all aspects as a person, artist, woman.”
The album — produced by DJ Tamuka, Reverb 7 and Simba Tags, among others — is a promising work of art with tracks like Nobody, Mind Games and Never Gonna Give You Up being songs to look out for.
Wenyika-Joka noted that her experience working with a new crop of music makers had both inspired and impressed her.
“I have been working with these young producers and they are not tired. They do not know past problems, so they have this energy and wave. I feel like it was the same when urban grooves began, everyone was like ‘let’s do this’ the passion was still there,” remarked the married mother of two.
With local musicians starting to make waves in the region and continent as a whole, Wenyika-Joka said she believes this is an opportune time for her to join the bandwagon once more.
“I think we are in exciting times. We have been behind but they have no idea we are coming. If you listen to the stuff that is being made right now, people are tired of these other sounds, but there is a movement, which I cannot explain but the local sound is coming together,” she said.
With over 15 years in the music industry, the successful businesswoman, actress and marketer is not under pressure to make music that woos promoters to frequently hire her for shows or any of that hustle, but she insists this is the best of Plaxedes, without any filters.
“I have done a lot even in terms of self-actualisation aside from being an artist and I am in my comfort zone,” she said.