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Allanah: From abusive marriage to hit maker

By Kennedy Nyavaya

High-riding reggae-dancehall songbird Tiny “Allanah” Machivenyika has opened up on how surviving an abusive marriage for three years shaped her blossoming music journey.

For many, the first encounter with the Chitungwiza-bred singer was last year when she did a cover version of Obert Chari’s hit track Mebo, while others have had to catch up through her recent smashing duet titled Fadza Mutengi with Poptain. But, Allanah’s meteoric rise to stardom is nothing short of a bitter-sweet tale.

In an interview with Standard Style, the 24-year-old, who turns a year older next month, detailed how she almost gave up her music dream as a result of the toxic matrimony.

“After getting married in 2015, I lived a rough life and my husband then did not want me to be a musician whereas he was pursuing a career as a music producer and so I had to stay at home,” she said.

“I would hustle by all means, including buying and selling goods, but I was still impoverished to the extent of wearing rags and people would call me names until I got violent to the point of getting arrested for confronting some of them.”

Although the Ndotenda Ishe singer’s way out came through a friend in 2018 after she had borne the brunt of violence, she claims to have drawn long-lasting life lessons from it.

“It affected me physically and emotionally, so it basically changed me, but if it were not for God I would not be here. As part of my healing, I went back into the studio and wrote a song about it and this is what caught the attention of my manager and the limelight to my work afterwards,” Allanah revealed, adding that young women should avoid the mistakes she made.

“Young women should never give up on their dreams for anything because I did and suffered as a result but there is always hope beyond rushed marriages that might not work, one always needs to self-introspect and see of that is the path that you want to take.”

The song Ndiwe is still to be released, but one titled Mboko Last details of the dark love story she endured in full.

“I appreciate what I learned from that episode of my life, but now I am in a new exciting chapter,” she said, referring to her new-found fame which has seen her stun crowds virtually and on live stage performances since last year.

“The reception has been exciting and I am grateful because I never thought people would listen to me, it came as a wave that I am struggling to believe to date,” gushed Allanah.

Turning to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Allanah, who draws inspiration from her favourite artistes in Jamaica’s Alaine and US’s Rihanna, bemoaned how the scourge had slowed her momentum.

“Things are not the same now and although I am okay I am not doing what I love, which is performances and that has affected the wellbeing of me and my band members who are at home, but we could have been somewhere better had it not been for the pandemic,” she said.

Meanwhile, she is recording more music and working on releasing it during the course of the year.

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