AUSTRALIA-BASED Zimbabwean music prodigy Adrian Dzvuke is making waves in foreign lands. Last weekend, he took his career to another level when he performed in front of a 60 000 crowd at Optus Stadium in Perth where he curtain-raised for mega British rock band Coldplay.
Back home, Dzvuke grew up playing in front of no more than 100 people at his local church.
Last year, Dzvuke (27) released the song Fiyah in collaboration with Aussie indie star Julia Stone. The track catapulted him onto the global map.
Dzvuke grew up in Gweru before the family relocated to Australia in 2008 after his dad had landed a job in Perth.
Earliest music memory
I remember “writing” my first song and singing it to my parents whilst dancing around the house with my little sister when I was about nine. I can still remember the melody.
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Finding place in a new society
Just kind of realising that you are different (at school) … when you are back home you just look like all the other kids. I wanted to fit in and I wanted to be like the other kids, finding your place in a new society was a bit tricky.
Getting the opportunity
I had no technical ability, but I had the rhythm. So, I played drums for that one day following the absence of the regular drummer one Sunday at praise and worship and then I just fell in love with it after that. From there I just started to figure out how to write my own songs, and how to produce.
Falling in love with the Afro-pop genre
It is not something that was calculated. I think it was about becoming more of myself and knowing who I am musically. But more importantly, it was about taking two (Australian and African) cultures and blending them together (a mixture of African rhythms, percussion and drums influenced by African flavours).
Inspiration behind the music
I would say hearing different sounds and rhythms inspires my music. I find joy in the process of songwriting itself rather than the actual finished product. It is weird because when I listen back to songs I have written or produced in the past, I can usually tell which sounds I was into at the time.
The Perth effect on sound
Growing up in Perth, I was not really aware of the music scene here, most of my influences were from the United States, it was all I had ever known from growing up listening to a lot of Gospel music before getting into RnB in high school. It is only in the last few years that I have started to understand the Western Australian scene and what it has to offer. I remember discovering Pond and Tame Impala for the first time and being obsessed with the use of synths in their music, and now I have found myself incorporating those sounds into my music as well. I think because Perth is so isolated, artistes can hone in on their craft and create freely without the pressure of sounding a certain way. It's such a privilege to be part of the Western Australian music scene.
Curtain raising for Coldplay band
It was something I didn’t really expect to happen. I was like, oh this would be cool, but then I just kind of totally forgot about it. And then later on I received an email saying that I was on the shortlist, and that was the longest week of my life.
The writing process
The process is quite different every time. Sometimes I start with a melody and record it on my voice notes, then take it to the studio before building around it. Sometimes it comes from a chord progression I have had in my head for a while. I have learnt that the best way to create is to set aside time for it because this allows your mind to be ready. It is important not to force it if you aren't feeling inspired at that moment, though I go with the flow.
Style and approach
I think my style has gone from being heavily influenced by people I admire to whatever feels comfortable but refreshing at the same time.
Advice for budding artistes
I think the first thing is having a vision for your career and believing in it. This usually starts with the music before progressing. Once you have a clear vision, you need a solid team around you of people you can trust and work towards that with. I have been so blessed to have the most wonderful team, and we have a lot of exciting things planned for the future.