BY SINDISO DUBE WHEN Andy Muridzo went under his mentor and supposedly his rival’s wing, Jah Prayzah, the musician said he had a bigger picture that no one was seeing.
Despite being warned by everyone about the dangers of being overshadowed by Jah Prayzah at Military Touch Movement (MTM), a haughty and obstinate Muridzo insisted that the move was going to bear fruits that will take him to international stardom.
Despite his close friends and fans blowing the whistle to Muridzo, and signaling red flags about the move, he was about to embark on, alas all was noise to the ears Andy.
“I have a bigger picture. People did not understand why I joined MTM, but this is my way of breaking onto the international market.
“Very soon we are going to Tanzania to work with artists under Diamond Platnumz’s stable and that is an important step for me,” said Muridzo in 2017 before failing to make a single hit track under MTM.
Both artists grew up in Uzumba, attended the same school, Mushanhi secondary school. Jah Prayzah’s music teacher then noticed Muridzo and influenced the christening of the name ‘Andy Muridzo’.
Born Kudzai Andrew Ngwenya, Musimbe in jest named him Whistle (Muridzo) because the singer would express his excitement through whistling at events.
“We all hail from Uzumba. Jah Prayzah is my uncle, like he is family and he is the one who helped me come to the city (Harare) to pursue my dream. My first album was recorded in his studio and produced by him,” said Muridzo on The Denny J Show, podcast.
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In January 2017, Military Touch Movement was set up, the movement housed Nutty O, DJ Tamuka and ExQ who had a stint at Kenako Music which was owned by Peter Gwaza. Also part of the movement was Andy Muridzo, Daniel Chiweda and Tahle WeDzinza, the troop was led by Jah Prayzah. However Muridzo made sensational revelations that a well-resourced Jah Prayzah hijacked MTM, a brain child of ExQ.
“MTM was ExQ’s idea, but Jah Prayzah was well resourced at that time. He had studio equipment we then used to set up everything. He made us believe that there was no way we could buy equipment yet he owned a studio,” he said.
After the folding of MTM, ExQ and DJ Tamuka went on to establish Mushroom Media where they have produced Nutty O’s hit album Mustard Seed.
Touted as Jah Prayzah’s rival and future replacement, Muridzo said he never wanted to take on his mentor but wanted to forge an alliance and take on the world together.
”I never said I wanted to be on top of Jah Prazyah but it’s the fans who would say so. He was never my rival, we then sat down and said we should create something that will take Zimbabwean music far and that’s how I joined MTM. I was not under Jah Prayzah but MTM and Jah was also under the stable,” he said.
Jah Prayzah had a successful run with international collaborations. He did songs with Yami Alade, Davido, Jah Cure, Mafikizolo and Harmonise.
Neck deep and masking in the ocean whilst the MTM ship steered by Jah Prayzah was cruising in regional waters, Muridzo realised he had been sold a dummy. The dreadlocked artist said that’s when he started to ‘see the light’ though it was too late and believed the theories that MTM was strategically established to scuttle his growth.
“At MTM the tall guy (Jah Prayzah) took everything. He took all the collaborations in a bid to better himself alone. What are we supposed to do as your people and your children if you taking everything? He once organised a feature with Ray Vanny but it never came out as Ray Vanny started shutting me out from nowhere.
When Harmonise came, it was supposed to be me doing a song with him. I was ready but when I got to the studio, I was shocked when I was told that he was going to do the song instead. After everything happened, I came to believe that MTM was created to scuttle my progress. Everything I did at MTM was a total flop and its only Emma that I did with Jah Prayzah which went on top.
Everybody had told me it wasn’t a good idea joining MTM, even my managers did so but they couldn’t stop me as their boss. When everything went to him, when he took all the collaborations and the accolades that’s when I realised I had made a mistake, even some of my fans moved on and stopped following me,”
It came to a point where I was emotional and realised we were being used. I then decided to leave the stable. I was ready even if they took me to court for breach of contract,” he said.
Muridzo said he no longer sees eye to eye with Jah Prazyah whom he described as ‘greedy’.
“As much as he is my uncle, and family matters but to him its money that matters. We don’t talk anymore and I have tried to call him but I was shut out and that doesn’t bother me anymore. I have moved on and re-building my name. I don’t wish to work with him again,” he said.
After three years, in June 2020, Nutty O published a post on social media indicating that he was leaving MTM, but quickly deleted it. After two days, Jah Prayzah announced the closure of MTM and the termination of all record deals associated with the label.
“I would want to let the whole of Zimbabwe and other global music lovers who have been following our journey that it is now time I let these superstars go out there to conquer the world in music and I have so much confidence in their ability to do so.
I have done my part in putting in the little resources I had at that time but I do feel the artists have outgrown the label and though it is painful, I feel it is the right time to release them and also terminate all contracts that were in place,” he wrote on Facebook.
Responding to Muridzo’s sentiments, Jah Prayzah’s manager, Keen Mushapaidze, threw Muridzo under the bus. Commenting on a social media post which generated debate, Mushapaidze claimed Muridzo was never contracted to MTM.
“Vane makore vabuda muMTM wani in fact ndovakatanga kubuda, by now vangadai vaita take the world vega. Big shout out to ABX who shines in and out of the stable.
“I dare this guy to show the world his signed MTM contract. He is the only artist who was in the stable, whose contact was not signed. Vakangopihwa draft contract hatina kuzoiona futi takangotanga kuvaonawo mumaphotoshoot nemasong. He was never officially a part of MTM,” wrote Mushapaidze.
- Follow Sindiso on Twitter @Sindora_ZW