AFRO-FUSION songbird and mbira player Hope Masike says a lot has improved in the world of showbiz as there were now more women in music. Masike, The Princess of Mbira’s music has its roots both in traditional and modern African culture.
As the world celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD), on Tuesday, NewsDay Life & Style senior reporter Winstone Antonio (ND) caught up with Masike (HM) who shared some nuggets of her experiences in the world of showbiz.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
ND: Some people think you are influenced by ancestral spirits in your music. Is that true?
HM: Who knows?
ND: Where do you get your inspiration and drive to sing?
HM: From knowing that it’s a calling, not a mere gift.
ND: You have been in the music industry for a long time, but some artistes are finding it difficult to keep going. What has kept you going?
HM: I am a full-time artiste. When it is not just a hobby anymore you handle it like a business proper, kunge zai regondo. Meaning, vision boards, business plans, business partners and strategising, et cetera.
I believe it is this constant evaluation of the work and the business, and always working on improving these that keep any business afloat.
The mere genuine passion for ones calling or talent is another driving force. One has to develop a thick skin if they are to survive in any business.
ND: How do you rate the industry from the time you started to date?
HM: A lot has improved, for instance, there were a lot fewer women musicians back then, now there are plenty, with a lot even topping the charts.
We certainly are not there yet, but that we are moving in the correct direction is a very good indication for better things to come.
ND: Do artistes support each other in the industry?
HM: Yes they do. Not just at funerals, but even in day-to-day business. A lot of collaborations are based on friendships, shout outs when the other has a new product, following each other’s pages and so forth.
Many artistes also have projects where they mentor younger artistes free of charge. I think all these are great support units.
ND: Beside music, what do you do for a living?
HM: I am a full-time artiste. I am everything “art”.
ND: How many albums do you have under your sleeve?
HM: Three solo albums, moving to four soon and a few collaborative albums, maybe … around five.
I work with an Afro-Nordic Norwegian-based outfit called Monoswezi. And I am also part of the southern-African Collective, Mahube.
ND: Do you sing in the shower?
HM: You would be surprised to learn how much silence I have around me. Perhaps because I work with sound so much, when I am not working, I appreciate the silence a lot more.
Absolute silence. So no, I seldom sing in the shower. When I am in the mood for music then I carry my speaker with me into the bathroom.
ND: What do you regret in your career?
HM: Ummmm . . . to answer you I will quote this popular one, “There are no regrets in life, just lessons learnt”. And I have learnt a million things so far.
ND: Away from music, what do you often find yourself doing?
HM: I am writing a lot. From poetry to fiction. I am excited to announce that my second poetry book is out on March 21 on World Poetry Day.
ND: What has been your embarrassing moment?
HM: I once spoiled my dress while on stage. I did not have the guts to leave stage mid-song. So I continued to the end.”
It took me years to finally learn that this was not normal and I was in fact suffering from fibroids.
ND: How is your love life?
HM: Not married.
ND: What is your ideal man?
HM: A king from God is the ideal man.
ND: How do you relax?
HM: I am very easy to entertain. A good book and a pot of tea can keep me pleasantly busy all day. I am currently reading Being Human by Ramesh Ramkumar.
ND: What do you like eating?
HM: Organic, natural, traditional food.
ND: Which is your most favourite place?
HM: My heart. I have grown so much, my heart has become one of my most sacred and favourite places.
ND: Your parting shot.
HM: Hard as it is right now, time still waits for no man COVID-19-induced lockdowns or not.
If you have other gifts you never had time or guts to explore, now is the golden chance to focus on them and manifest fresh income streams.
Some of us creatives are lucky that we now have time to explore thoroughly our creative work. Others, perhaps not so lucky, shall have to venture into income-generating projects that they do not necessarily love. Ce la vie!
- Follow Winstone on Twitter @widzoanto