SNEAK PEEK: Freeman Makopa
Zimdancehall chanter Tocky Vibes, real name Obey Makamure, shot to fame following the release of tracks such as Mhai and Tocky Ayenda Nenyika a few years ago. NewsDay (ND) Life & Style reporter Freeman Makopa spoke with the chanter regarding his music and personal life. Below are excerpts from the interview:
ND: In 2014, you released the song Tocky Ayenda Nenyika, which spoke to your high popularity ratings. Do you think you still command that popularity?
TV: At that time, my music was being played locally, but as we speak, I am commanding much bigger crowds now. I have taken my music to other countries. Just by merely looking at the figures of my fan base, you realise an increase. I am rising every day.
ND: Many Zimdancehall chanters have been accused of singing meaningless songs. But songs like Mhai and Zvitori Nani carry strong social and political content. Why did you choose that direction?
TV: I am different from other artistes because I sing music that has a lot of meaning and my songs are usually targeted at addressing societal issues and also teaching people on how to address problems that they face in life.
ND: A few years ago, you shifted slightly from hard-core Zimdancehall and experimented with a new mellow sound. How did that affect your career? Do you have any regrets?
TV: This has actually improved the quality of my music … on having the shift, we were trying a combination of styles to add a new flavour to our work and this has made my music unique. I don’t have regrets because I am regarded among the best when it comes to producing mature music.
ND: A lot of young local musicians have been accused of parroting their Western counterparts. What can you say about that?
TV: You have to choose your own way of expressing your message and not to copy international artistes. We will never be like them. All we need to do is to be able to teach other cultures about our culture through music.
ND: Your parents at one time wanted you to focus on your studies rather than music, what is their position on that now?
TV: They are very supportive of my works now, and they always say to me: “Go, go Tocky, until you reach the uppermost limit.”
ND: Your wife is currently expecting, would you encourage your child to pursue Zimdancehall as a career?
TV: I will give my child a free will, just as I was given that same free will by God. So my child will have to decide whether or not to do Zimdancehall and follow my path or do other things which are different. There are no restrictions.
ND: You recently went on a United Kingdom tour with Jah Prayzah, Winky D and Jah Signal, what does this mean for your music career?
TV: Yes, we recently had a tour in the UK and it was exciting. We usually go on tours together and it’s not a new thing and we are looking forward for bigger things ahead of us.
ND: You have also been releasing a number of YouTube videos which have attracted a lot of positive responses, is this part of your marketing strategy?
TV: That’s our role to produce quality videos that meet international standards and also it helps those who don’t understand our language so that they can be able to realise the meaning of the songs through visuals. And we are promising high quality videos in future.
ND: How do your fans access your music?
TV: Fans can access my music at Officialtockyvibes on Instagram, or get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org
ND: Do you have new projects you are working on at the moment?
TV: We are working on our new album. It will be different this time because in my previous works, I talk of problems facing other people, but this time around, I am focusing on my life, and you shall come to know some things you didn’t know about Tocky, because the album will explore a lot about my personal experiences.
ND: What’s the main message in that album?
TV: It talks of where I came from and where I am heading to. So, we should thank God for what He did with my life and how He has transformed my life. That’s the main message in my upcoming album which will be out at the end of this month.
ND: Since you are married, how do you handle female fans that throw themselves at you?
TV: Yes, I have encountered such a scenario where girls throw themselves at me, but as a married man, you have to control yourself. But we can’t push them away because they are our fans and they were there even before I got married. So if they love me, it doesn’t mean they want to be my wives, but they love what I do, which is giving them the best music. I love my wife and she respects the fact that I love her.