Singers helping other singers get their big break into the music business is both desirable and valuable, so when singer-songwriter Takura Shonhai gave his input to the current DStv talent show Old Mutual Amazing Voices, there was more than a measure of gratefulness among the contestants.
He’s a popular hip-hop performer, but he regards himself as versatile in terms of his spread of styles.
“I don’t like to box myself in,” he said.
“I’ve done hip-hop, I’ve done Afro-pop and I’ve done Afro-swing, a sound that is almost like dancehall. I feel I can do anything. Right now I’m working on different projects with very different sounds from everything that people have heard before. So I’m just a versatile artiste who is not afraid to try new things and learn.”
He joined forces with the organisers of Old Mutual Amazing Voices to be one of the selectors, identifying the most suitable candidates to take part in the show, which is now running on Zambezi Magic channel on DStv, in the 5pm time slot each Sunday.
“My experience was great because it’s something I have only done at a much smaller scale,” he said.
“This time it was all very professional and i enjoyed it. I enjoyed meeting all the entrants and giving of my experience in pursuit of their success. I actually learnt a lot, too.”
Takura believes it is important for Zimbabweans to take up the opportunities that come from platforms such as MultiChoice .
“It opens doors for you and helps you improve. It’s something that opens our minds and we learn from it. It will help our industry to grow,” he said.
He felt Zimbabweans could learn a lot through television, especially reality shows like Old Mutual Amazing Voices.
“Reality TV is something that people love to watch, as we have seen with Idols and similar shows. They give hope and inspiration because they are real.
I have been in competitions such as Idols before and when you see someone else go in for it, you say: ‘I can do it.’ It gives young people hope that they can go out and pursue their dreams.”
Takura is a busy performer and is at present working on his Relationship Goals 2 album.
“We did the first one two years ago, the one with the song Mai Mwana, so we are doing a second one and it’s going to have five songs.
It’s going be a whole new side of me, something that people have never even imagined that they could ever see from me. So I’m pretty excited about that.”
Not content with being a performer, he sees himself as a mentor for others.
“I know things when it comes to music. I’m a person who learns a lot. I learn a lot from everyone I came into contact with, whether they are in the industry or not.
I’ve been through a lot in life. I left home when I was 14 years old to go to South Africa on my own. That kind of struggle builds character,” he said.
“So I’ve gone through a lot in my life and I never used to understand why, until I became a performer and I realised that God has a purpose for me.
I’m one of those people who love mentoring upcoming artistes and performers, even if it’s nothing to do with music. I love teaching and I hope anyone listening to my music will find it motivational.
“I’m always trying to help. I love giving advice and I feel that when I do it through music people hear this advice, because sometimes I can say something to people and I just know they hear it. I love helping people as a mentor.
I know I must work hard and so must the other performers coming through.”
In his album Stripped he talked about life and what he goes through on a day-to-day basis.
When I first came into the industry I was introducing myself. Now I am talking about my past and about where I am trying to go. I would like to do Stripped 2, probably in 2020. Most of my music is about real things that go on in my life, love or whatever.”