AFTER releasing two albums, Ishe Vanoziva (2003) and Topa Mbiri (2007), gospel musician, Victor Sibiya (37) went silent for about 10 years, following his relocation to South Africa. In December, the former Celebration Choir member bounced back with a new album, New Day, which has the potential to put him on the limelight.
By Jairos Saunyama
NewsDay Life and Style Reporter, Jairos Saunyama (ND) caught up with Sibiya (VS), who spoke on his music career across the Limpopo, as well as back home. Below are the excerpts.
ND: Tell us your experiences, as you try to market your music back home, while living in a foreign land?
VS: The main challenges are getting gigs, financial constraints and enemies of progress bent on taking me down (Laughs).
It is a challenge to get gigs because I am not well-connected musically in South Africa and I also face financial challenges, when I want to tackle big projects. It is not easy.
I am releasing albums in Mzansi, because that is where I hustle for a living. But I am determined that soon I will be securing some gigs and expanding my territory.
ND: How do you work and engage with your fans back home?
VS: I connect with them via social media and I also come back home every now and then.
Technology makes it easy to spread your music and I witnessed that when I released the latest album.
I shared the tracks via social media platforms and by the time I returned home after a month, a number of people had listened to the album.
ND: So you haven’t staged a live performance since you released your latest album?
VS: I haven’t had any shows since my album release.
I only had one, but it was cancelled due to reasons I cannot disclose.
However, plans are underway to join forces with other artistes here in South Africa to stage live shows.
I cannot say I have a band but I have session musicians that I work with, when I want to hold shows.
ND: Why did you take long to release another album?
VS: I wanted to produce a quality album, not a half-baked one. I believe in excellence and don’t entertain mediocrity in my work.
Moreover, gospel music is not for financial gains, I sing as a response to my call to put rhythm to the word of God and bring hope to a despairing world and to promote the Christian faith on which I stand upon.
ND: And you think your latest album is better than the previous two?
VS: Yes, it is a masterpiece. I gave the album a global appeal as I did some songs in English.
When the album hits the market in Mzansi, even South Africans bought it.
Right now, it is available on Jukebox machines that play music in Gauteng and Limpopo province.
Many artistes have shown interest in working with me in the near future and some individuals, who wish me well have taken steps to help me create my brand.
ND: Why do you say New Day is better than your previous albums?
VS: I learnt song-writing through worship seminars, with Celebration Choir, internet resources and also through exchanging notes with other artistes in my inner circle.
I also did vocal lessons with coach Martha Krienke.
I also sing in church and do renditions of songs by internationally recorded artistes.
As for stage performances, I learn through watching other artistes perform and observing what makes them unique and, through my vocal coach, who is a great vocalist and performer, who was nicknamed “Tracy Chapman of Zimbabwe” during her heyday.
My mentor, Willis Wataffi, also gave me valuable advice. Then I also have industry friends like Dereck Mpofu, whom I consult when doing business.
ND: Who are some of the artistes you have worked with?
VS: I worked with Prince Mafukidze and Kudzai Sevenzo on a Harare International Festival of the Arts gig.
I have also worked with Jonathan Mgazi several times, since he is also my producer.
I worked with Ebenezer “King Fangz” Mupinda and Tapiwa “Slex Tace” Chikoo on a collaborative track, I wish to record with Willis Wataffi.
On the album New Day, I worked with my sister, Patience, and Rhoda January as backing vocalists.