CONTEMPORARY Afro-fusion artiste and Shades of Black frontman Alexio Kawara last week said although the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its subsequent lockdown has hampered live shows, it has afforded him the opportunity to work on his marketing strategies.
BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
Kawara, who has largely kept a low profile in the fast lane of music, was one of the few artistes who held live shows virtually every weekend.
The musician told NewsDay Life & Style in a recent interview that he had turned to social media for succour following the indefinite lockdown put in place by government as part of measures to fight the spread of the virulent COVID-19.
By Friday last week, the country had recorded 942 COVID-19 cases and 13 fatalities following a recent spike in new infections.
“With COVID-19, I have not been able to host shows but on the positive side, it has given me an opportunity to restructure my strategies to reach a wider audience through social media,” he said.
A number of musicians have since pursued the social media route, staging online shows to keep their fans in the loop, although that has also sidelined fans unable to afford data.
Almost all mobile telecommunication companies have hiked data charges to contain operational costs as the Zimbabwe dollar continues to tumble against major currencies.
Kawara said he was also working on his next project although he was still in the early stages with the ideas still to fully coalesce.
“I am currently working on my next release. Unfortunately, the ideas are still all over the place for me to give any release dates or titles,” he said.
The Shaina hitmaker said although he had faced several challenges in his largely fruitful career — with the 2014 accident particularly a sore point — he had embraced them as lessons that have helped him grow as a musician.
“Personally I like to view setbacks as lessons that are necessary to grow me and I have had a couple of those and expect more in my journey. I cannot really pinpoint which ones were major but if I were to pick, I would say in 2014 I had an accident which brought my career on hold for a while,” he said.
Kawara, who is a full-time professional musician, said he did not see himself doing anything divorced from music.
“Music is what I do. If I have to do anything else, it would be coming from that and I’m sure whatever that is, it will be musical too,” he said.
The musician said he was currently working on a joint production with the hugely talented but controversial Roki — titled Chakaipa — as well as an up-and-coming artiste called Jonso.
“I have a collaboration that I have worked on with Roki and another with Jonso, an upcoming artiste from my neighbourhood, Glen Norah, Harare. I am hoping to do more. I am sure fans know that I am an easy going person. I try not to complicate my life with unnecessary drama,” he said.
Kawara said although music had rewarded him financially, he felt he could still do more and he was aiming higher.
The musician, who recently signed up with online music platform, 321 beatz, said the prospects were bright and he was hopeful that it would be hugely beneficial.
“It’s fairly new and it’s promising to be very beneficial to us local artists because of the convenient paying platforms. I have so far earned a few bucks from it,” he said.
Kawara began his professional music journey in 1999 as part of the group ?uess (Guess), during which they released the blockbuster track, Amai, which became the soundtrack for expressions of love to mothers.
He decided to go solo in 2000 and has since dropped six albums and bagged a similar number of gongs, including a National Arts Merit Awards silverware for Pfimbi Yangu (Outstanding Album) in 2007 and Best Afro-Jazz Album nomination for Tose in 2011.