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Parental support crucial in music business

By Fred Zindi

Not many Zimbabwean parents believe that there is a future in the music industry. As a result, many are negative about the prospects of having their children build careers in music. It is, however, crucial to have supportive parents if one is to make a successful career out of music.

I consider myself lucky to have had parents who were supportive of my music interests from a very young age. My father was a drummer, (together with Tsungai, Jethro Shasha’s father) in what they called the Scotch Band. He had no objection to my playing a musical instrument.

However, it was my mother who was really pushy about my musical hobby. For a long time, I did not know that I had a music fan in my mother until one evening when the ZBC programme, Mvengemvenge was being shown on television. She called me aside away from my sisters and commented: “Fred, Thomas Mapfumo is way older than you but I see him dancing with more energy than you. What is going on? You should make more effort and learn to dance with style and better than him!”

That speech made me realise how supportive my parents were about what  I was doing in music and it gave me more confidence to carry on with the musical path I was following.

Earlier, at age 13, my mother, after discovering that I was playing music in a band had told me: “I don’t mind what you are doing as long as you also concentrate on your studies. We don’t want the neighbours to laugh at us saying that you failed at school because of your music. You understand?” I understood.

With the encouragement andconfidence I had gained from my mother, I joined brothers Fungai and Quinton Malianga in a band called the 2D Sounds.

The Maliangas also had a supportive mother, Mrs Malianga, who was the matron at Mutare Girls’ High hostel and she provided us with a rehearsal room and meals.

Everything was always done at Mutare Girls’ High School hostel under Mrs Malianga. I clearly remember how nurturing Fungai’s mother was to what we were doing. Anytime we would come to their house, she would just open the door for us and let us in. She knew what we were there for. This was before we earned any kind of money from music. It didn’t matter what time it was, she would always welcome us. She was the epitome of a great support system for us.

Sometimes the best thing parents can do for a creative person is to give them the space to create. It’s a small gesture, but could be more important than any money or connections.

In the past five years, before the problems with Covid-19 pandemic, I noticed that Jah Prayzah’s parents attended every album launch. That is a positive gesture in showing support. If the parents had not viewed positively at what their son was doing, they would have not bothered to attend. No doubt, they were obviously proud of what their son was doing and came to give him the moral support that he deserved.

It is rather unfortunate that Sam Mtukudzi, who had his father’s great support, died before his dreams could be fully realised.

Sam had the privilege that Tuku had already  started plotting his son’s future in music through the Nzou Nemhuru Yayo project, guiding his heir to the throne like a consummate cartographer.

Tuku and Sam were just about to embark on a nationwide tour dubbed Perekedza Mwana, during which they would play at some of the old venues where Tuku started off, but unfortunately Sam’s death brought this project to a stand still.

With that family support, Sam would have got far in his music career. This was a good example of parental support which unfortunately, was cut short.

Next is Gary Tight, (born Gary Muponda in Mutare, on December 2, 1994), the son of Zimbabwean Afro-jazz musician Willom Tight.  Gary learned to play the guitar from his father, Willom who supported him all the way to stardom. He  also later became a mentee of Mtukudzi. Together, with guidance from Tuku, they did a collaboration on the reggae song, Ndizarurire, which brought Gary to countrywide prominence. With support from both his father, Willom and Mtukudzi, Gary was definitely going somewhere until the Covid-19 pandemic intervened. He is still destined for brighter things in the future.

Another musician who is up to now getting a lot of parental support is Takakunda Mukundu (born in 1998 to Clive and Jean Mukundu). Taka went to Prince Edward School and later on attended Zimbabwe College of Music and graduated with an Advanced National Certificate in Music following his father’s footsteps. All along, he was getting support and guidance from his father and in no time at all, he was a member of a prominent pop group.

Taka went professional in his early teens joining Gary’s band when he was only 15 and still a Form 3 student at Prince Edward. Today, Taka has become professional to the extent that he is booked as a session musician by established musicians and is often seen helping other recording artistes with guitar solos in his father’s Monolio Studios.

Taka still gets support and guidance from his parents and has a bright future.

We probably would not have heard of King 98, aka Ngonidzashe Dondo if his father, the late Thomson Dondo was not supportive of his musical career. Dondo had been the corner stone of King 98’s music career despite his visible talent. King 98 rose to prominence due to his father’s involvement within the music business.

With his father’s backing, King 98 had collaborations with Davido, Nasty C and Diamond Platinumz in his budding career. He even featured Jah Prayzah on one of his albums.

At the Mtukudzi memorial concert organised by the National Arts Council in 2019 where King 98 was a guest artiste, I remember Dondo coming to me after his son’s performance and he said: “That was fantastic, wasn’t it? You saw how the audience reacted to King 98’s performance? Now go and write something positive about this!”

Indeed, parental support was at play here.

Then we go to Tamy Moyo,  who was born on January 1998 in Harare. Her parents, Doris Moyo and  her father, Richard Kohola, aka RK, a radio personality want to see Tamy making a successful music  career. In this regard, they help her all the way and as far as I can see, she is making great strides in this industry.

At the age of seven, Tamy started singing particularly in the senior choir. She completed primary education at Lusitania Primary School and later attended Westridge High School for secondary education.Tamy, who is only 23 and has already achieved a lot in the music industry. At an age of 13 while she was in Form One, she joined with popular artistes Joe Thomas, Mtukudzi, Stunner, Ba Shupi and Alexio Kawara.

Later she became the child ambassador for Childline Zimbabwe, becoming the youngest Zimbabwean ever to be an ambassador. In 2008, Tamy formed the Uganda African Choir, together with three other colleagues in a charity gig at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

She wrote and sang a song, Cry For Help which encourages fellow children to call freephone 116 for help. In 2012, Tamy released her first music album Celebrate Yo Lyf. Then she got the opportunity to perform in biggest Zimbabwean festivals such as Harare International Festival of the Arts and Shoko Festival. She also featured at the National Arts Merit Awards and Miss Tourism Zimbabwe where she performed in November 2016. All these because there were people pushing from behind closed doors — her parents of course.

In 2017, Tamy was invited to play in the film Gonarezhou by the co-producer of the film.  In the film Tamy played the role “Chipo” as her debut cinema appearance. In the same year, she had her first nomination in the Namas for the excellence in her role.

In 2019, Tamy was nominated for the best female artiste from Southern Africa at  All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) ceremony in Ghana.

She was also featured on the international Coke Studio platform.

This year, Tamy was the first Black woman to drive the HavalJolion, a car marketed and donated to her as part of a deal by Zimoco after she was nominated as Zimoco’s brand ambassador.

She would not have achieved all these without encouragement and support from her parents.

Parental support in the music industry is therefore crucial.

  • Feedback: frezindi@gmail.com

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