TOP gospel musician Psalmist Josh Kays’ rise to stardom reads like a movie script.
By Jairos Saunyama
Rated as one of the country’s finest gospel musicians at the moment, with his hit track, Ari Pano, trending in music circles, it is almost unbelievable that the 31-year-old musician once lived on the streets.
Over the past few years, Josh has become well-known for his deep worship music. Our lifestyle reporter, Jairos Saunyama (ND), caught up with Josh (JK), who is currently studying in South Africa, and spoke about his music, among other things. Below are excerpts from the interview.
ND: Why do you specialise in worship music?
JK: I am a worshipper by calling and that’s what God wants me to do.
ND: I understand you had a difficult background. How did you turn around your life?
JK: Sometimes grace is inexplicable. All I can say is, there is God in heaven. Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established and believe in his prophets and you shall prosper. This will always be my answer.
ND: I understand there was a time in your life when you lived on the street. Can you tell us about that?
JK: Yes, I was once a street kid. I would go to Chidarikire, TM and OK Supermarkets and pick food from bins. My friends and I would take dumped chicken and cook in a nearby forest. I lost both parents so I would go to school with torn clothes, but there is God in heaven, and he raised me from the dust.
ND: For how long were you on the streets and how did you rise from that?
JK: I got born again on January 13, 2000 after watching Passion of the Christ movie. I decided to play soccer.
I played for Chirorodziva Primary and Chinhoyi High 2. I then started serving under Potters House before I was taken to Harare by my cousin brother, Apostle (Langton) Kanyati.
ND: The hit song, Ari Pano, was composed under special circumstances. Can you share that?
JK: Yes, it is true Ari Pano came during a crusade in Mbare. We went to preach with Apostle Duncan Manyonda at Noah’s Ark Ministries and after the apostle had preached, he started shouting that Jesus was there.
I was on the keyboard and started singing, Aripano, aripano, aripano, and someone who had been paralysed for years was prayed for and he got up.
Some people who were in a nearby bar came to the church and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. There was also another man who was deaf and started hearing that night. A number of miracles were recorded as we were singing Ari Pano.
ND: How do you compose songs?
JK: Most of them come when I am in church during a sermon or when I am just practising on the keyboard.
Sometimes I don’t just compose a song because I am a worshipper, but I wait on the Lord for a song to come because I believe songs are given to usher in a new season.
ND: What are your major achievements in the music industry?
JK: I have featured on ZimPraise’s live DVD recording. I also did the song Ari Pano together with Bishop Francis from the United Kingdom. We (Worship Impact Team) also scooped an award for Best Song of the Year Permican Awards in 2016.
ND: Why do you call yourself The Psalmist?
JK: (Laughs) Well, it means a composer of one of the biblical psalms. That is why I want to call myself Psalmist. But I am an ordained worship pastor at Global Word Ministries.
ND: When and why did you launch the Worship Impact Team?
JK: I formed the Worship Impact Team in 2009 and we are numbering 25. It was formed to grow more worshippers for the Lord and learn from each other.
ND: You featured on Togarepi Chivaviro’s latest song Maranatha. Which other notable musicians have you worked with?
JK: Reverend Chivaviro! I love that man. He is humble. He just called and said pastor I need you on my song. I went there and featured on the song and it came out beautifully.
I have worked with Takesure Zamah and I am still working with him on some forthcoming projects. I have also worked with Ellard Cherayi, ZimPraise, Pastor G, Bishop Francis (UK), Dr Sherlin Anderson (UK) and Faith Kioko (Kenya).
ND: When and why did you relocate to South Africa?
JK: I came to South Africa in July. I am studying, at the same time trying to push our music onto the international market. For now I cannot reveal the artistes we are working with, but they are big names here in South Africa.
ND: Thank you Psalmist Josh.
JK: You are welcome.