Harare - Just a decade ago, Zimbabwe’s Jah Prayzah (real name Mukudzei Mukombe) was working the live show circuit and happy to get a handful of people to pay to watch his set.
Living on handouts and getting stage time by asking for favours from established musicians so that he could be a curtain raiser, the boy from rural Murehwa, about 130km east of Harare, faced the reality of becoming another one of many young people whose dreams end as just that – dreams.
Then came a song titled “Sungano Yerudo” in 2010. Knowing this well could be his Last Chance Salon, Jah Prayzah put together a solid video for the song and people started taking notice of the lanky, dreadlocked singer who seemed to vacillate between reggae, traditional sounds and Afropop.
Now, Jah Prayzah is doing collaborations with some of the biggest names in African music.
“Doing collaboz has helped me a lot. It is easier for me now to tap into new markets through people already established in those markets, and it is usually a win-win situation because I also have a market.
“Collaborations are also good in the sense that they promote culture exchange. I have seen the end result of working with artistes from other countries and so definitely there will be a lot of collaborations in the future.
“I believe that no man is an Island and hence we constantly need to work together so we can grow together.” Jah Prayzah said.
After working with Botswana’s Charma girl on “Dali Wangu”, he really hit the big time with Tanzania’s Diamond Platinum on “Watora Mari”. He has also worked with the likes of Mafikizolo and Makhadzi (South Africa), and Mr Bow (Mozambique), among others.
And now Jah Prayzah seems to make a point of including an artist from Southern Africa in all his albums, which number 10.
“My music is loved in my country, I have a commendable fan base in Zimbabwe and I appreciate my people for their love. But I must as well admit that collaborations with regional musicians, I mean musicians from the Southern Africa region, have played a big role in creating the Jah Prayzah I am today.”
Recently Jah Prayzah released his 10th album and in less than a week, most of the songs on had more than 10 million views on YouTube.
And yes, the latest album has a collabo, this time with South African superstar Zahara on the song “Kana Ndada”.
“Our recent collaboration with Zahara has done well around the region, it is still on the top trending playlists on Apple Music and numerous other digital music platforms. The feedback we have received from her team on how people are loving it in South Africa is also amazing.
“However we have not yet released a video of our song with Zahara because we have not yet worked on it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as borders open I am sure it is one of the first projects we will be doing. We had planned the shoot before the release of the album but the lockdown slowed down everything.”