3 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Pastor G - Preacher With a Musical Passion

With a physical stature that is both intimidating and welcoming, the musician (real name Stanley Gwanzura) is one unique artist whose genre of music marries many others but remains different and equally appealing.

He churns out a hit each time he visits the studio and his latest album Indestructible is laden with tracks such as chart-topper Mabiribobi, Tose featuring Pryminister and the title track Indestructible.

"Music is part of my calling as a Christian communicator," he told Standardlife&style in an hour-long interview over a cup of coffee last week.

"It has been a growth process, an outlet for my creative passion that chronicles my experiences. It has opened a lot of avenues for me and given me a greater audience than when I would have been preaching only," he said.

"It has also been a means of survival. As you may know, very few musicians in Zimbabwe can survive on music alone, but it has provided a stream of income for me."

Pastor G has managed to release eight albums over the years and music has enabled him to appease his passion to nurture young artists and youths in general.

That passion has driven him to work closely with various non-governmental organisations on projects to do with peace.

He however expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), which have been the sole broadcaster until just a year ago, has dealt with musicians' royalties.

"ZBC's monopoly over the years has let every musician down. They owe musicians millions of dollars yet they have been buying expensive cars and building big houses. because of this, musicians are suffering," he said.

"We eagerly wait for June 1 so we can see if the new commercial stations can do better."

He gave a number of reasons why he believes Zimbabwean music lagged behind other countries.

"In the period between 2006 to 2009, record labels were adversely affected by the economic downturn and today most of them are yet to recover," said Pastor G.

"So today we face challenges in marketing and distribution and artists have to do multiple tasks as composers, singers, marketers and distributors, which is not a good idea. It kills the brand because when you are supposed to be signing autographs, people see no value in you, yet that is the only workable scenario in our environment.

"There is also piracy and I hope the new constitution addresses the legislative challenge we have in as far as that is concerned. There is inter-connectedness on the issues, for instance there is not going to be an end to piracy when the police are hungry. We need a proper rule of law where the law is imposed without impunity."

Pastor G lamented the lack of proper management and unity among musicians, which he blamed for failure to get endorsements from corporates.

"In most countries a communication company, a financial institution and a beverages concern will be scampering for endorsement deals with an artist. In Zimbabwe however, maybe because there is little competition in the respective sectors, they are not keen to market.

"Mobile companies have not come through like what we see the likes of MTN doing in different countries and the same can be said about banks."

He discouraged the begging bowl mentality that arts promoters have been using to approach corporates.

"It needs to be done on a large scale and the concepts have to be well-packaged so as to afford a win-win situation after engagement," said Pastor G.

"Consumers of music also need to cultivate a culture of buying original music rather than piracy so that we can make sure that the artist gets something out of their work."

He said he would be releasing his ninth album around August after tours to the United Kingdom and United States of America.

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