Her entry into the mainstream music industry was marked by a single titled Mudiwa Ndinokuda — an RnB track which she did with Shinsoman. Today Wanai (born Wadzanayi Ndudzo) says she has found new love.
By Abigail Matsikidze
Wanai, who released her second album titled Shinga last year, told The Standard Style that she has fallen in love with Afro-pop music and believes she has what it takes to be one of the most-sought-after Afro-pop stars on the continent.
“My inspiration was from Zahara, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Brenda Fassie. I remember my dad buying me Brenda’s CDs but perfection and confidence came along the way when l was a backing vocalist at the Sounds of the Motherland [Progress Chipfumo’s band],” she said.
With two albums — Book of Love (2014) and Shinga (2016) — under her sleeve, Wanai is slowly winning the hearts of many, thanks to her recently-released musical videos titled Ndiye Uye and Kana Ndinewe which are proving popular among music followers in the country.
Like many artists whose songs reflect society, Wanai draws inspiration from her surroundings.
“The Zimbabwean society inspires me a lot. I write my songs based on how people survive and I highlight the problems they face in their day-to-day lives,” she said.
At 29 years old, the bubbling singer has shared the stage with top local music stars who include Progress Chipfumo, Shiga Shiga, Alick Macheso and Jah Prayzah, among others. She has also worked closely with Willlis Wataffi of Afrika Revenge and was a popular feature at the Sister’s Open Mic Shows.
“On my first album, l was helped by the Willis Wattaffi mentorship programme, which motivated me to rebrand myself to Afro-pop. I also attended many musical workshops which also assisted me to familiarise with the music industry,” she said.
Backed by the youthful outfit — The Blue Band — Wanai has become a much-sought-after musician since she left the Sounds of Motherland in 2012. She said it has been an amazing journey for her although she came across obstacles along the way.
“It was indeed a long and meandering journey. But I think we are almost there although we face a number of challenges. These days shows are hard to come by as a result of the poor performance of the economy,” she said.
A great admirer of Brenda Fassie, Wanai has managed to woo crowds during live performances where she plays her own music and cover versions of local and international artists, with Brenda Fassie’s music constituting the bulk of her playlist.
Wanai ventured into music at a tender age when she was part of the Dudley Primary School choir before she moved to the music-crazy Waddilove High School where she was a key member of the choir.
“My first project was an urban grooves song titled Mudiwa Ndinokuda which I did with Shinsoman. I have, however, fallen in love with Afro-pop, which is music for the mature and which I see as one way of preserving our African culture,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to doing more shows across the country and I am expecting to do collaborations with Ammara Brown and Cynthia Mare.”
The singer said apart from the stage, she was actively involved in charity work. She partners ChildLine Zimbabwe and the United Nations to reach out to communities by doing shows whose proceeds are channelled towards the less- privileged.