BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
EXCITING gospel songbird Janet Manyowa has hinted that she has started working on a new album — after the release of Grateful last year — and will drop two teasers from that third offering before the year is out.
The award-winning musician, who has been on fire since coming into the industry, said passion continues to fuel her drive, as the music industry could be unforgiving in light of the punishing economic jinx haunting the country.
“It has been more of a resting period after the release of the album, Grateful, late last year. However, I am to return to the recording studio very soon. I have started working on my next album. I may just release a song or two this year, as well as some visuals,” the Nyasha Nengoni hitmaker said.
“We are definitely in trying times as musicians, but it’s the passion that drives us. The economic challenges make it very hard to stay afloat, but we have, in this season, learnt to prioritise and make the most of the little that we may have. We believe we are casting our bread upon the waters and will get it after many days.”
Manyowa — who beat Ammara Brown and Selmor Mtukudzi to the Outstanding Female Musician of the Year award at the National Arts Merits Awards, also indicated that plans were afoot to embark on tours of the United Kingdom and Kenya, among other nations, this year.
“I do have a number of tours that are still in the planning stages. I believe I will have the privilege to tour,” she said.
The musician’s husband-cum-manager, Munyaradzi Manyowa, said in view of the challenges facing many gospel musicians due to the economic crisis facing the nation, it was important for corporates to support musicians.
In a wide-ranging interview with NewsDay Weekender Life & Style, Munyaradzi, however, said it was also important for artistes to brand themselves and produce quality work in order to woo the corporate world.
“I think the corporate sector can support artistes. When I look at the music industry in the United States and South Africa, there is a lot of corporate support. I think we should also get support in Zimbabwe. The reason for this is the arts industry has a big role to play in society, more so, gospel music which touches a lot of lives,” he said.
“But, I will further say that as artistes, I think we also need to show why corporates should support and invest in our music and brands through working diligently, producing good music, working hard to produce quality products and brand appeal. So, it’s a win-win scenario as well.”
Munyaradzi said there was need for artistes to come up with creative ways to circumvent piracy, the biggest demon haunting the music industry.
“Piracy is everywhere. It’s difficult in this age of technology to halt it because people can send each other music through WhatsApp, so it’s now less of the physical CDs. We have been trying to make our music available by distributing it online and on platforms such as iTunes and spotify,” he said.
He discounted the argument that piracy was a function of the poor distribution of music, but could be related to pricing models.
He also bemoaned the lack of large distribution chains, such as retailers, where people can access music.