By Kennedy Nyavaya
Music producer and lyricist Simba Tagz believes lack of aggression in promoting local music is a hindering ceiling for local artistes keen to make an impact beyond the country’s borders.
Tagz, who recently joined a group of revered producers from across the world to form a talent-nurturing panel as part of Nigerian Afro-pop music star Mr Eazi’s Empawa Africa master class in South Africa, is known for working with a number of high-riding artistes (including Mr Eazi) on the continent.
Reflecting on his journey in an interview with Standard Style, the Zvakanaka singer said relentless persistence was part of the recipe for foreign appeal.
“Look at how Nigerians are so aggressive. They will go to whatever country they need to go to make sure their songs are being played, you know, to the extent where you hear people in Zimbabwe speak pidgin English,” he said.
“Just look at how they have sold their culture from movies to music — it shows.”
Born Simbarashe Tagwireyi, Tagz, who is working on a project with South Africa’s Lady Zamar and Nigeria’s Phyno, also bemoaned lack of financial backing for local musicians.
“Once you put out a project, you need the money to back it up and publicity, but our market doesn’t really make it high on sales, so we aren’t really making money from our music except shows, which also aren’t as frequent,” he said.
However, he has pledged to use his wide network extended during the three weeks of collaboration in SA to empower local talent by linking them with global music influencers.
“My involvement with the Empawa team is really not to do with my own career, (but) what we are trying to do is to point to the lives of all these upcoming artistes,” he said.
According to Tagz, establishing these longstanding relationships would facilitate the empowerment of other potential stars.
“There are some things we have been setting in place even meeting people like DJ Edu [from BBC Radio 1Xtra], who was talking about how he loves Zimbabwean music, but just had no way to get to listen to it,” he explained.
“One of the ways to inspire the growth in our local scene is obviously for us to be played internationally, so with these kind of links where I can be giving him what’s hot in Zimbabwe, it could help things out a bit.”
Meanwhile, Tagz hailed Mr Eazi’s effort at developing young talent on the continent while also applauding compatriot and rising beat boxer-cum-rapper Union 5 for making it into the top 10 young artistes for the mentorship programme that registered over 10 000 applications.
“The project is definitely achieving its goal, you know. Speaking with Mr Eazi he says from here into the future he is not going to cut ties with these artistes, he actually wants to do true nurturing, checking on them and following up on what they need,” said Tagz, adding that Union 5 had presented himself well.
“I can’t wait to work with Union 5 in the future, we are both based in Zimbabwe, so I would love to spend more time with him just working. He is a producer as well and he makes some really good beats, so the world is his oyster.”