Contemporary musician Jah Prayzah, who turned 29 yesterday, believes hard work and endurance are two key secrets to his successful musical career.
Born Mukudzei Mukombe in the humble environs of Murehwa, the lanky musician’s fortune has grown over the years, joining the top league of the most sought after musicians in Zimbabwe.
Many music critics may want to classify Jah Prayzah under the category of emerging artistes in Zimbabwe, but the contemporary musician — though barely 10 years in the arts sector — has achieved what several local artistes took decades to accomplish.
With four albums and several singles to his name, Jah Prayzah has gonged more than five local awards, toured over 10 European and African countries in high profile gigs.
He has graced most high profile local gigs and remains one of the most sought after musicians for different private and public functions, not to mention the financial fortunes that have come his way.
With several brand ambassadorial roles to his name, Jah Prayzah has got a lot more to celebrate on his 29th birthday than any young man of his age.
He, however, contends that his achievements were not overnight.
“Looking back, I realise that God has been walking with me in every step all he way,” he said in an interview.
With a musical career that started off in church where he used to lead the choir in his rural home in Uzumba, Murehwa, Jah Prayzah has successfully transitioned from being a mere rural chorister to an acclaimed musician.
But how did this all happen?
Soon after completing his secondary school, Jah Prayzah relocated to Harare to correspond for his O-Levels and also join the Zimbabwe National Army.
After several failed attempts to join the army, Jah Prayzah then ventured into music.
With no money to pay for recording and holding regular practice sessions with his makeshift musical band, he knocked on people’s doors looking for sponsors.
Things were not rosy those days because people had no confidence in my music. With the grace of God I managed to meet several people who gave me ideas and financial support,” he said.
Since then things started to take shape though he was still far from glory.
“To be honest, I never thought that I would be one of the most sought after musicians in the country,” he said.
He recounts how he knocked doors of several promoters with Mabla 10 who is one of his close confidantes today.
“My life is a reflection of hard work and endurance because things were not rosy. It is difficult to convince people when everyone else was dismissing me and my music,” he said.
The musician tried reggae music and recorded an album, “I love Reggae”, but failed to make an impact until 2007 when he tried to work on contemporary jazz.
He released the album “Rudo Nerunyararo” but still, he remained way off the mark.
“The songs circulated on several phones but people did not know about me but that was a milestone achievement for me,” he said.
Still convinced that he had what it takes to be in music, Jah Prayzah then recorded the single “Sungano Yerudo” that marked the beginning of serious business for the Murehwa-born musician.
The musician’s dream came true in 2012 when he recorded the album “Ngwarira Kuparara” that had song “Gotchi Gotchi” that became an anthem in most public places.
“Tsviriyo”, which was recorded in 2013, drove the lanky crooner to stardom, followed by “Kumbura Mhute” in 2014. In 2015 he released “Jerusarema”.
“The album has brought me so much recognition and am sure that is the same that will be coming with the album ‘Mudhara Vachauya’,” he said.
Although it is yet to be released, those who have been attending his live shows say the album has the hallmarks of a punchy declaration of intent, aimed to silence all those who still regard him as minnow in the industry.
With the few albums to his name, music fans say Jah Prayzah and several local musicians in different genres represent the future of Zimbabwe’s music.
A birthday bash has been lined up on Friday at Big Apple and musician Ammara Brown will feature at the gig.