Harare – On its release a few weeks ago, the song “Zvandofarira” became an instant anthem and propelled its 14-year-old Zimbabwean singer to overnight stardom.
When the song reached one million views on YouTube within weeks of release, it made Mukombe Mupelo Herman the youngest musician in Southern Africa to attract such a following on the video sharing platform.
Despite his age, he shows a level of musical dexterity that has eluded many older artists, especially during the COVID-19 era where the audience is unforgiving and pedantic.
Going by the mononym Herman, the young artist is able to sing in English, Shona, Swahili and French, making it easy for his work to appeal across borders, cultures and tastes.
Explaining how he came up with “Zvandofarira”, Herman said, “I was inspired to write something related to the topic and I sat down to put the song together. Luckily, it worked out and people like the song.”
Some of the lyrics he sings appear nuanced for his age.
“The lyrics are mine. Every time I get an idea I write it down then I get help from William Aberioh; he is a family friend and a musician as well,” said Herman.
He said he grew up in a family where there were a lot of musical influences and this fed into his choice to become a musician.
Despite still being in school, Herman has caught the attention of Chillspot records, who are the leading urban music producers in Zimbabwe right now.
“I want to fill up stadiums one day. I am driven by my targets, there are things I want to achieve and it is only a matter of time. I know I will get there.”
When he first emerged, others thought he was a fluke but his follow-up records Fantastico and Chocoloco show that he actually has talent in abundant quantities.
Quite a loverboy, most of his music is directed towards women and the comments on YouTube show that he is connected with the demographic he seeks to serenade.
Not surprising as he says he is inspired by American singer Chris Brown who made a name by producing love songs and has women dominating his fan base.
Herman is nothing like the Zimbabwean music market has experienced.
If asked to describe him, perhaps his sound and persona would be a culmination of Diamond Platinumz (Tanzania), Fally Ipupa (DRC) and Roki (Zimbabwe).
He has promised to continue on his growth trajectory, though he kept a tight lid on the exact work he is currently producing.