JAH PRAYZAH (JP), born Mukudzeyi Mukombe, needs no introduction, having dominated the local music scene for much of the past decade while taking his sound to the region and beyond. From his Sungano days in 2007, he has become the contemporary musician comfortable in his own sound.
He speaks to Weekly Digest (WD)’s Winstone Antonio about his journey to become the pre-eminent voice of his generation.
WD: Describe your journey so far?
JP: God’s grace, passion, hard work and amazing support from my dear fans.
WD: What are the most difficult things to do in music?
JP: Consistency, focus and maintaining a balance between the family personality and the celebrity personality
WD: Who is your biggest influence?
JP: No doubt the late Mdara Tuku (Oliver Mtukudzi) was my biggest influence, but I have many though and cannot list them all.
WD: Which song would you say is the best you have released and why?
JP: Lol, my songs are just like my children, I cannot pick my favourite because they are all so special to me in their different forms.
WD: You have done collaborations with both local and international musicians of various genres. Have these collaborations been of benefit to you and how?
JP: Yes, they have. It is easier to build together than apart. I have penetrated so many markets locally and internationally because of collaborations.
WD: How was it like working with the big international artistes?
JP: It’s always a pleasure and honour; you get to learn how they go about their business and get to implement some of these strategies too. For me, it has worked well.
WD: Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
JP: There are so many of them, I would not want one to read this article and be like: “aww so it’s not me he wants to work with first!” lol.
WD: Do you sing in shower?
JP: Lol, that surely is everyone’s talent, yes, I do at times!
WD: You are one of the most endorsed artistes by corporates, what is the secret?
JP: Know your worth and always remember you are a brand. That will always remind you to carry yourself and your business in a way that attracts other brands and businesses. Also being humble and disciplined is an icing on the cake.
WD: For you what is more important, the music or the money?
JP: The money came after I was well into my musical journey, I had other options that could give me an easy way out but I chose music. So it will always be music first.
WD: Some people think you are influenced by ancestral spirits in your music and that you spiritually get possessed during live performances? Is that true?
JP: All I do is perform to my best and if people believe that supernatural powers only can give you the best performance then I can’t take that away from them. It’s just flattering that they think the best of my ability looks somewhat supernatural, lol.
WD: Your response to the purported beef with the ghetto president, Winky D.
JP: Winky D is my brother! I have always said it again and again and will always do. He is a great artiste and as mentioned earlier we can do more for the industry together than apart, hence I will always have nothing, but love for all players doing well in the industry.
WD: How did you meet your wife?
JP: Very long story, but all I can say is, I wasn’t proud to be walking around and telling people I am Jah Prayzah then. Zvanga zvakaoma! (It was a tough time!). In fact, she was in a much better state than I was financially. If I would use one of the teenage phrases I would say she was out of my league. lol.
WD: What does love feel like?
JP: Love is a beautiful thing, it is not explainable but certainly is the best feeling one can ever get.
WD: What was your most embarrassing moment?
JP: One night, I had finished a show at Jazz 105, it must have been in 2011. I was seen walking to the kombis by one of the fans who was like: “ah Jah haana mota” (he has no car). I was very embarrassed, but at least it pushed me to do more as people saw me as being way above the level I personally thought I was.
WD: What is top of your bucket list?
JP: To win a Grammy award.
WD: What’s your favourite food?
JP: Sadza and T-bone steak
WD: Away from music, what’s your favourite pastime?
JP: There are very few times I am away from music, but I do always make sure the spare time is spent with family.
WD: What makes you unhappy?
JP: I am one big enemy of laziness.
WD: Your most unappealing habit?
JP: Lol! I am sure those who are always around me would know best. If I knew I would stop the habit lol.
WD: What do you owe your parents?
JP: If I could give them the world I would, they made me who I am today. They gave birth to me and raised me in such a way that reminds me that to make it in this world, you have to fight.
WD: What are your weaknesses?
JP: Being a workaholic has been good for my career, but most of the times you end up neglecting other things that matter in life.
WD: If you could go back in time, where would you go?
JP: I cannot imagine life without my family, so maybe I would only go back to early 2020 before COVID-19 so I can work some more haha!
WD: What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
JP: Nothing good comes easy and nothing good stays easy.
WD: What is the weirdest question you have ever been asked in an interview?
JP: Are you a politician? In my head I am always like, if I was, why would I not go into it full-time, why should I hide?
- This article was reproduced from Weekly Digest, a sister paper to NewsDay Weekender