Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Kudzai Sevenzo: What’s New and What’s Next?

There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power. Honore De Balzac

I believe that Kudzai Sevenzo has been blessed with both, great will power and great talent! I have had the amazing privilege of working alongside the sensational singer and actress Kudzai Sevenzo, as a flautist in her band and I must say, it has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Working with Kudzi was always interesting, challenging and a lot of fun, and being a part of her band was one of the highlights of my life.

I decided to do a Skype interview with Kudzai Sevenzo, a one-on-one with her, touch base and see the plans she has in the future. For those of you who do not know Kudzi, she is a Zimbabwean singer and actress who has played an important role in the local and international music, film and art scene, through composing, singing, writing and acting. The result is a determined woman producing musical and artistic wonders, driven by a strong will power and character, great singing talent and a well harmonized voice backed by rich afro-jazz sounds and fusions of a talented band. The captivating singer/songwriter and actress discovered her talent at an early age and began participating in singing contests and talent shows then. Since then, she has grown tremendously in her career. 

Kudzi has accolades as an African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) nominee, National Arts Merits Awards (Nama) nominee, NEA nominee, M-Net’s Project Fame contestant, M-Net’s Studio 53 presenter and Zi-FM radio presenter.

Talking to Kudzi was an ideal interview experience, an enjoyable one, and one I will remember for time to come.

Me (Q): When was your first desire to become involved in music & from whom have you have learned the most secrets about music?
Kudzi (K) I loved music since I was in creche, I just always loved singing. I have had great mentors in my life such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Ringo Madlingozi, I look up to Judith Sephuma and my producer Andrew Baird, played a huge role in my development as a singer.

(Q): How/where do you get inspiration for your songs & what do you think is the main characteristic of your personality that made you a songwriter?(K) I am inspired by my own experiences, as well as those of others close to me. 

(Q): Which has been the best moment of your career and which was the worst?(K) Best career moment is always on stage, I have had many. Worst I haven’t had yet.

(Q): What are you thinking when you are on stage, how would you describe your contact with your audience when you are on stage? What compliment do you appreciate the most after a performance?(K) I sing like it’s my last performance. Like I’ll never sing again. So I give it my absolute all. It’s a real gift to be able to do what you love, and I can never take an opportunity to sing for granted.

(Q): Who are some of your role models and why?(K) I am weary of putting any human being on a pedestal, because, inevitably there will be disappointment. So I see different qualities in different people that I admire and I celebrate that. God is the only constant really, He is consistent.

(Q): Who is the one artist you would want to do a duo with?(K) Ringo Madlingozi 

(Q): What other Zimbabwean musicians do you admire? Rest of Africa and Internationally?(K) ASA from Nigeria
Angelique Kidjo
And Sade (yes I am a bit biased towards women)

(Q): You are actively involved in a number of community development projects. Would you like to mention a few, why you are passionate about these and if you have some upcoming community events?(K) I am brand ambassador to PROUDLY ZIMBABWEAN FOUNDATION that has done extensive clean up campaigns across the city called Bin-It, eliminating litter and instilling a sense of ownership of infrastructure in local communities. Its YOUR STREET, so keep it clean. We realised that litter was a mindset issue. So we are fighting against litter in towns across the nation.

(Q): How has been your experience with your acting career?(K) Fantastic. My first movie Playing warriors, earned me an AMAA nomination, which was great encouragement for me.

(Q): How would you compare acting to singing?(K) Acting is HARDER. It requires much more of you. Singing is second more second nature. But they somehow compliment each other, because its all performance.

(Q): Is there one you enjoy more than the other?(K) I love a challenge, so I have my eyes on Acting right now, but Singing will always be my first love.

(Q): What do you enjoy most about your career? (K) It’s versatility. I am a singer, songwriter, radio and tv presenter, voice over artist as well as an actress. It’s exciting how many dimensions I can explore of entertainment.

(Q): You recently traveled to Denmark. What did this experience mean to you? 
(K) It was my first date with a European audience, and I was so well received, it was special. It started a bit of a domino effect, will be in Switzerland in September again, so am really excited and looking forward to it.

(Q): Where do you see yourself in the next five years? (K) Happy with an adoring hubby, happy babies and a healthy furry dog.

(Q): How do you cope with all the success, demanding career and fame? Does it ever get stressful? (K) I just try to live my life the best way I know how. I am a private person who happens to be a public figure because of the career I chose. When it’s time to work, I work. When it’s time to shut out and enjoy time with loved ones and family alone, I do just that. Life is too short to waste getting too caught up in what people think about you, because chances are: they aren’t thinking about you. Lol!

(Q): What do you think has kept you grounded as an artist?(K) Relationship with God, Anchors like my family, close friends and spiritual mentors in my life.

(Q): What role has your family played in your career?(K) They are honest with me. That’s important to have people you are accountable to.

(Q): Why do you feel it’s important to be a role model? (K) Not everybody chooses to be a role model. But once you are, you have an obligation to your fans and the people that look up to you. You try to make a positive impact.
Onto something much more light-hearted :-)

(Q): What can you not travel without? (K) WET WIPES, LIP BALM AND MOISTURISER

(Q): What is the weirdest fan experience you have had? (K) Signing someone’s boxers after a concert(he was wearing them)

(Q): How long does it take you to get ready for an event or a show? (K) An hour on a good day

(Q): What do you do when you have some time off? (K) I spend the day in my pyjamas and read a good book

(Q): What message do you have for African girls pursuing their dreams?(K) You CAN do it! You don’t need a sugar daddy to finance you. Build your dreams, go to school, work hard, you can do it! When you are empowered, you will make the right choices in life and in love.

(Q): What can your fans look forward to in the next coming months?(K) Some great performances. A new single.

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