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2021: Not a bed of roses for artistes

Standard Style
The new normal meant artists and their fans were confined to their homes and they had to make use of online platforms to create and share content and this gave birth to new sounds, new names and new stars.

By Sindiso Dube

IN a year that saw the shelving of many arts disciplines, 2021 has seen the rise of new names and stars in the culture industry.

After the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020, the arts industry like any other was affected and forced to halt operations and it was only in 2021 when operations were resumed and made to make amendments on operations.

The new normal meant artists and their fans were confined to their homes and they had to make use of online platforms to create and share content and this gave birth to new sounds, new names and new stars.

Not every artist managed to adapt to the new wave as some even went on sabbaticals.

Jah Prayzah went on to release his album Gwara on digital streaming site Gateway Stream, unlike the usual physical launch that would have seen the lanky singer touring across the country dishing out his new music.

Mbeu stopped releasing music for some time and only released his new album Manera in November.

Mbeu revealed that due to Covid-19 restrictions, he and his management had to shelve Manera which was initially set for release in 2020.

“The album was supposed to have been released last year, but we had to hold it back because we are a performing band, if we release our music, we have to follow it up on the market and perform live,” he said.

“So, with the Covid-19 conditions and the restrictions on gatherings, we couldn’t release the album.

“Over the past 20 months, we just released five singles that we spaced so that we keep our fans happy.

“Now that the conditions now allow us to perform live here, we have released the album and have set up tours in and outside the country and sharing the album with everyone.”

Standard Style compiled new names that made the showbiz industry tick in 2021, some released new music, and others brought about new sounds and new arts genres.

Nutty O

Undoubtable the man of the year, Nutty O released an album Mustard Seed, which has been dominating the airwaves for some time now. Last year his name was on everyone’s lips with the hit single Kokai which he partnered with Poptain but this year he has really cemented his position on the high table of local music.

He has chart topping songs and a topping album. He is getting booked across the country and earning co-signs outside Zimbabwean borders and even dancehall king Winky D endorsed the Mustard Seed album.


When everyone thought he was a spent force, with a musical career coupled by controversy, Roki managed to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and created hits and collaborated with regional stars such as Koffi Olomide, Ray Vany and Director Kenny.

Roki managed to resuscitate his career under the watchful eye of controversial and flamboyant preacher Passion Java who runs Passion Java Records. Java has managed to link up Roki with regional collaborations and shows in and outside the country.

Holy Ten

One can’t talk of local hip-hop and not talk about Holy Ten, the award winning rapper who has reigned the hip-hop scene for two years. Last week he walked away as the best male, people’s choice and with the best album gong for his release-Risky Life.

Holy Ten has changed the hip-hop scene and brought in a new flair of flow and messaging. To make sure that he promotes more from the new breed of rappers, he set up Samanyanga Records where he is managing newcomer SaintFloew.

Voltz JT

The Chitungwiza born artiste Nkosilathi Sibiya (22) has managed to popularise a new sound called drill on the local hip-hop scene. He rose to fame with songs such as These Days and How far and he managed to scoop awards at the recently held Zim Hip-hop awards.

Drill is a form of trap music that first originated in the South Side of Chicago. The style is a prominent part of Chicago hip-hop and can be recognised by its violent, dark lyrical content.

Designer Jay Tee

He has managed to make himself the most sought out celebrity fashion designer. He has dressed Winky D and Roki, Koffie Olomide, Ray Vanny in the video for Patati Patata. When lockdown forced many designers to close shop, his shop blossomed and made his threads the most sought after.

Skhosana Buhlungu

Through social media, Nkayi based singer Sikhosana Buhlungu has hogged the limelight since he broke into the music scene with his breakthrough album, Kumnandi, which was released in June last year. The album also earned him the outstanding newcomer across all genres award at the Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAAs) last year.

His latest single Ntethe became an instant hit and has seen fans contributing for the construction of his new home in Nkayi.

Mwendaz we drip man

The 82-year-old from Mufakose has taken social media by storm by educating youths on the dangers of drug abuse and promiscuity in a funny and catchy manner. What excites people is his fashion taste, he is always clad in clothes that are worn by youths, talk in youthful lingo and also rides expensive cars.

Gateway stream Music

Lockdown and covid-19 brought about not just new artists but also new ways of consuming content, Gateway stream is one of the platforms that were created outside social media to enable musicians and fans to connect on the digital space.

The Gateway Stream Music application was launched in December 2020 and is owned by Rainbow Tourism Group. It enables artists to upload, sell, price, perform via the livestream facility and earn revenue through the pay-per-view platform and advertising support.

Gateway Stream Music has also successfully hosted live-streaming shows for Winky D in January 2021, Ammara Brown and Tamy Moyo, Andy Muridzo and Sulu Chimbetu, Poptain and Anita Jackson and Ishan and Nutty-O.

In April 2021 Gateway Stream Music hosted the Worship Experience with guest artist Benjamin Dube which also featured Zammar Ncube, Thembalami Praise, Takudzwa Chihambakwe, Baba & Mai Charamba, Mathias Mhere, Sebastan Magacha, ZimPraise and Gospel DJ Unlocked.

In July Jah Prayzah’s much-hyped 16-track album launch, Gwara, clogged the Gateway Stream Music application as hundreds of fans jostled to be the first to sample the new offering.

Follow Sindiso on Twitter @Sindora_ZW

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