The 29-year-old Gokwe’s charismatic Afro-Jazz musician Anna Rumbidzai Taonezvi Marecha has become a star with a lot of targets in life, but financial constraints sometimes derail her progress.
Speaking in an interview with this reporter she said music for her started when she was growing up. She had a dream that motivated her to start music at a tender age. Each time she release a song she would have dreamed about it and so she did not have any difficulties in compiling the songs.
“I started music when I was in pre-school. I was a member of the ‘Percussion Band’ when l was in grade one. I also used to play cymbals so from then I started to like presenting and standing in front of the crowd. While I was in form one I had a dream, and in the dream, l was invited to join a certain choir which l did. The following morning, a song popped into my mind, it was new, something that l have not heard before and that is how l started making my own songs using a Godly-given Talent.
She explained what motivated her to venture into Afro-Jazz music saying that it is something that is born from within her.
“I just love the sound of Mbira and the rhythm of my songs have Mbira rhythm. I did not choose it but it is just a manifestation of something that is from within me. Like l said before, music to me is something that comes naturally. l do not have to think about the theme to sing about talking less of the rhythm, the melody, and the lyrics, I just get it as a full package.
“l am more like a receiver from someone who is creating it. For example, if you give me a theme of your own, l just register it in my mind, and then the theme gets processed and l receive it back as a song,” she explained.
Being just a natural musician was not enough for her, and she had to upgrade herself by majoring in a course in musicology. Listening to other renowned local musicians has also enhanced her skills in music.
“I started taking my music seriously in 2018 when l did my one-year course on National Certificate in Music at Zimbabwe College of Music to strengthen my talent and get experience in music.
“I am also thrilled by listening to other local artists including the famous Jah Prayzah, and I like his song, ‘Dzirere pwere’. This song keeps reminding me that l have to do something tangible, meaningful, and remarkable in this life,” she said.
She also told this reporter that she dreams about becoming an internationally recognized Jazz musician. Though she is yet to release an album, she already has ten single tracks to her name. However, she is currently working on an album that has a mixture of social and gospel songs.
“My biggest dream is to be an international musician, and this is what l am working towards right now. For met is not a matter of having enough resources, but defining my end from the beginning. So in five years, I will be an international Afro Jazz artist representing my country worldwide. I would also love to collaborate with musicians who include Mbeu, Feli Nandi, Zahara from South Africa, Pah Chihera, Prudence Mabhena, and Chipo Muchemwa. This is because l love their creativity and their type of music is not so much different from my own.
“I don’t have any Album yet, but l have done ten tracks so far including Wariona here? I declare, President, Ngatibatanei, Wabvanepi?, Svitsa, Are you sure?, Moyo wangu Mwari, Munondivengerei?, Nguva dzese and all of them are available on my YouTube channel @Anna Rumbidzai Taonezvi. My favorite song among those single tracks is called, ‘Wabva nepi.’ This song is a love song and it is so attached to me because it has a lot to do with my love life.
“My music is all about motivation. l motivate the public to have self-esteem, to be courageous and go for their dreams, to be morally upright, and to be patriotic citizens. It is the kind of music that engages all ages. My songs can be listened to by all age groups at one place or occasion because most of my lyrics are motivational and listeners take away different things from my songs because they are of different perspective people want.
“I am currently compiling an Album which is versatile, you will find Gospel songs together with social songs all in one,” she noted.
However, Marecha aired out some of the challenges that she encounters in the music industry including not being accepted by the community just because she is a woman, and financial constraints as well. But appreciates some producers who have assisted her musical journey.
“Being a female jazz musician on its own is the toughest thing ever. This is a male-dominated industry. It is like you are a Kudu in Lion’s Den. So in order to win this battle as a female artist, you are forced to be tough, and be very much principled.
“There is also an aspect of financial constraints for recording. Music demands a lot of money to start from the studio to the videos and it is more of a dream or a vision, something that is already bigger than the one who is carrying the dream. So it really needs assistance in terms of getting sponsors and promoters.
“I tried so many times to quit because l could not afford to record. Furthermore, l had no links to market my music, but l always find myself back in the industry miraculously until l recorded up to ten tracks. I was once advised wrongly to leave music and find another trade. I felt pain deeply because at that time l was desperately looking for assistance, but then someone had to suggest the idea instead of quitting instead of helping out my desire.
“Currently l do not have a band, but l work with different producers depending on where l am and the kind of song l want to release. I worked with producers including Anthony Gasani, Takesure Chari, Gabriel’Seku Bee’Gwini, PV, and Marly,” she said.
She further stated that the music industry in Gokwe and Africa as a whole is still tense and hard for upcoming artists.
“The music industry in Gokwe and Africa as a whole is so tense and hard because sponsors and promoters mostly look at those who have already made their names. So it makes it so hard to work it out on your own until you create your own name. On the other hand, talent shows focus more on those who have the capacity to imitate someone’s content with a big name already rather than focusing on the individual’s abilities in his or her own content. This lowers self-esteem in individuals’ own abilities. They will end up focusing on being somebody else and end up forgetting about themselves in the process.
Marecha gave some inspirational words to the upcoming artists saying the music industry needs something to do for support.
“A musician has to remember that music needs to be invested into other projects which can be run without his or her presence just in case there’s a situation that he or she is no longer performing, there can be a stable source of income.
Music is a profession that can give you a living and fulfillment at the same time but it needs commitment, passion, discipline, and focus,” she encouraged.