ONE of the most consistent traits of Harare musical audiences is that they pay any amount to watch something new.
Imagine the hundreds of dollars that were paid to watch Akon and Sean Paul, think of Brian Adams or the soon-to-visit John Legend — people part with some huge sums of money.
But one thing is certain, they also know what they want.
At Dandaro in Harare on Friday, the audience seemed to affirm this opinion when Soul Jah Love was on stage.
People appeared to go about their business as if nothing was happening when Soul Jah Love was performing.
His set, close to an hour long, could have been mistaken for a sound check as the musician went all out to appease an audience that would not budge.
Queues at the bar grew longer and for a while, patches of space were created in the packed venue as no one concentrated on the happenings on stage.
Even his ever-in-sync dancers failed to produce the spark.
Could it be the wrong audience?
Soul Jah Love was performing alongside Sulumani Chimbetu at a show that was themed along the Simon Chimbetu commemorations.
It was almost obvious that the audience, by any measure, was infested with the mature revellers.
Considering that of all the top ranked artistes, it was only Sulu who performed in Harare as Alick Macheso and Oliver Mtukudzi were both in the United Kingdom while Jah Prayzah was in Botswana, that was bound to happen.
Yet still, the showbiz audience is the same.
All artistes share the same audience and that is one of the reasons for which flops have been the order of the day recently.
The fact that is indisputable is that Harare music audiences will do anything to get their hands on something new.
The past several months have belonged to Soul Jah Love and his Zim dancehall peers simply because they were new on the scene.
To remain relevant, they should just go the Winky D way of churning out hit after hit.
Dirty lyrics have fizzled out and the time for Gum Kum is over.
Unthinkably, sober lyricists like Tocky Vibes are now making inroads and stage acts now have to be well thought out.
Jonathan Banda, Winky D’s manager who happened to be in the audience said Tocky Vibes had suffered a lot of resistance from fellow dancehall artistes due to his message.
He said whoever sang clean dancehall music had to be prepared to fight a solo fight as the bulk of dancehall artistes thrive on dirty lyrics.
It appears, however, that only time has the answer to the many pertinent questions and of course what will become of Soul Jah Love and peers.
A simple theory may do it for Soul Jah Love — start writing down lyrics and be a bit more organised. Imagine if his rhymes were well-crafted and not hurried, he could be one the most meticulous lyricists around.
Instead of the pomposity of creating songs on stage, he has to realise the importance of jotting down lyrics with all his focus on it. He has to work hard to create new stuff that goes along with trends or forever fight a losing cause against the big boys of sungura that have stood the test of time.