Tatenda Mahachi is one of the country’s emerging gospel artistes and has gained significant traction over the last few years. Outside music, he describes himself as “a very social person”, who loves nature, football and is also passionate about fashion. NewsDay Life & Style Reporter, Jairos Saunyama (ND), caught up with Mahachi (TM), who opened up about his life in the music fast lane. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
By Jairos Saunyama
ND: Some people say you appear more in newspapers than on the ground. What would you say to that?
TM: It’s a fact that I have done many shows outside Zimbabwe, for example, in South Africa, where I command a huge following, but that does not mean I haven’t been performing (here).
I have been doing mainly corporate shows, church conferences and these are kind of performances that usually don’t come out in the papers, but in order to reach some of my fans, I am going to be doing tours around Zimbabwe.
ND: You seem to spend more of your time in Mzansi than Zimbabwe, too.
TM: It’s not always that I am in South Africa, unless I’m having shows there or have private business.
I always get a lot of invitations to perform in South Africa, since my music is on demand that side. I command a following there.
The other reason is that I am the goodwill ambassador of a charity organisation called Thumi Mlilo Foundation, and my work with them demands that I be there.
ND: In other words your music is popular in South Africa?
TM: No, my music is not popular just in South Africa, but in Zimbabwe as well.
I can credit my popularity in South Africa to the high rotation on their radio stations and TV, because my music is on One Gospel, SABC and Ukhozi FM, which is the biggest station in Africa.
My collaboration with (the late) Sfiso Ncwane have also played a huge part in sinking my roots in South Africa, since our track has done very well there.
It should also be noted my music is being played on big stations like TBN and countries like Ghana and Nigeria, so it has always been my plan to go international.
ND: How did you penetrate the South African market given that a number of local gospel artistes are struggling to go international?
TM: In Mzansi, it’s strictly music business. I give credit to God for everything that has happened in my career, so I attribute this to God’s favour, because I just do what other artistes do in taking their music onto the international market.
I chose to be original, believing in myself and I also get comments from fans, who don’t even understand Shona telling me that, although, they can’t understand the language they feel the presence of God when they listen to my music.
ND: Who has been your role model in that regard?
TM: I have simply observed my role model, Oliver Mtukudzi, who chose to be original and has taken the Shona language and culture to the world.
ND: Who are some of the artistes that you have worked with?
TM: I have worked with many top artistes like Tuku, Prudence katomeni-Mbofana, Sfiso Ncwane, Isaac Simpsons from the USA and David Dayo from Nigeria.
ND: Tell us a bit about your next projects…
TM: I have got two collaborations that are coming up in May, one with a local artiste and the other with another big artiste from South Africa, this time it is not a gospel artiste.
I am also set to release a new album mid this year and to launch an event under my company, Tatemusic, to promote upcoming artistes.
ND: You have won a number of accolades. What is the secret behind your success?
TM: The secret is hard work and perseverance. I attribute all the success to God. He has been faithful in my life.
ND: And you have also received some business awards?
TM: Yes, I have been honoured with various awards and even received some nominations for other awards.
I won a Leadership Excellency in Gospel Music Market Penetration Award, as well as a Top Business Brand in Gospel Music Development Award and I was named among the Top 100 Brands in Zimbabwe.
I think it is due to the work I have been doing, putting Zimbabwean gospel music on the international market. I was the first Zimbabwean gospel artiste to be played on the world’s largest faith television, TBN. My music is also played in countries like South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria.
ND: Are you married?
TM: I am not married, but soon by the grace of God, I will be married and you shall be the first to know.
ND: What is your normal day like?
TM: I am a very busy person when it comes to my life. Each morning I wake up I have my breakfast, leave home for the office.
I am busy with my business. I have my lunch like everybody else, but sometimes I have late lunches.
After work I go to the gym to do some workouts and sometimes after the gym I continue working since my business is very demanding.
I usually sleep very late, because (the evening) is the time when I respond to some of the messages from fans. This is also the time I have to compose songs.
ND: And you love fashion, too?
TM: I believe in fashion trends and I have a personal designer, who does my formal dressing, mainly.
I believe, as a role model to many, I should set trends in fashion as well as winning souls not only through music, but fashion as well.