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Macheso’s missed opportunity

Firebrand sungura musician Alick Macheso on Friday released his first single in 22 years titled Zuro Ndizuro with the hope of replenishing his purse following eight months on the sidelines due to the ban of live shows as part of Covid-19 regulations.

By Moses Mugugunyeki & Takemore Mazuruse

His legion of followers were expecting something from him before Christmas and, of course, he dropped the single, much to the delight of his fans, both at home and in foreign lands.

For Macheso and his Orchestra Mberikwazo, the idea was to refill their empty pockets after months in the wilderness, but surprisingly it looks as if the envisaged windfall was a mirage.

The Madhawu singer could have missed the opportunity to utilise available revenue streams and monetise Zuro Ndizuro.

As of Friday, the day the single was released, everyone who listened to the song had it on their fingertips. The song was everywhere, but in monetary terms the musician had nothing to cheer for.

A mistake happened somewhere. The song was supposed to be released on various online music platforms such as iTunes, YouTube, Sasai and Gateway Streams, among others, at 11am on Friday, but, alas that was not to be.

The song went viral and almost everyone keen on sampling it had the song way before it was released. All the hype, the build-up and the inquisitiveness came to nought.

A certain radio station played the song on Friday morning, hours before it was launched.

As of yesterday, Zuro Ndizuro had 1 274 views on YouTube, something that is not expected of Macheso’s calibre.

“His [Macheso] team messed up by giving the song to a ‘few’ guys just before the launch,” said an arts journalist.

“The other problem is that the single does not have visuals and platforms like YouTube becomes useful when songs are accompanied by visuals.

“Look at how the duet Ngaibake with Freeman shone on online platforms. It had visuals and everone was talking about Macheso’s shirt. That is the power of visuals. Macheso should come out of the cocoon and utilise these digital platforms. He needs the right people to do that for him.”

Close sources to Macheso said the sungura musician and his band members were failing to cope in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns.

They said the singer, who thrives on live music shows, was now relying on support from well-wishers.

Macheso has promised more music as he awaits a conducive environment for a proper album launch.

“I am hearing a good report from my team. The fans are generally excited and happy with the single and this gives us cause to give them more,” Macheso said.

“We have a full album ready for the market, but in as much as we have embraced online music marketing, we would be happy to have a proper launch with our fans in attendance, hence the delay. The single is just but a taste of what’s to come and if it is to be on the full album, it will be a bonus.

“Should conditions and logistics allow, we wouldn’t mind releasing another single even before year end just to treat our treasured fans to some good music.”

Macheso, however, bemoaned the Covid-19-induced lockdown, highlighting that he was dying to be back on stage.

“I really miss the stage and though I am happy to have given my fans something to cheer about, I feel saddened by the fact that we can’t be playing the music live,” he said.

“We just can’t wait for a return to normalcy, but in the meantime we can only make do with the prevailing situation. Covid-19 is real and we urge all Zimbabweans to continue observing the set measures.”

His publicist Tich Makahamadze said Zuro Ndizuro was released ahead of other crowd favourites that have been sampled at live shows, but fans should get ready for more exciting productions.

“We sampled many news songs before the Covid-19-induced lockdown and though our fans and even band members had their own preferences, we have more surprises awaiting them on the yet-to-be-released album,” Makahamadze said.

“We just had to cherrypick Zuro Ndizuro, but I am happy that it’s receiving good feedback and favourable airplay. We value our fans and we are taking every feedback and criticism seriously.”

He said they were in the process of engaging stakeholders and a videographer to produce a video to the single.

“We have embraced the new and we are happy with the feedback. The song is available on iTunes, Amazon Music and our official Alick Macheso YouTube channel,” Makahamadze said.

“We, however, have plans to produce a quality video to it and we have engaged stakeholders and a videographer to get the work done.”

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