Multi award-winning gospel musician Reverend Togarepi Chivaviro, winner of the annual Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50 charts, has revealed the secret behind the phenomenal success of gospel musicians in the all-genre music charts particularly on radio, attributing it to God's grace that has propelled them to enrich their relationship with their followers after turning them from being mere fans into families.
Chivaviro told The Standard Style that it came as no surprise that gospel music topped the annual charts as the artistes were now proactive holding strategic meetings on market penetration among other issues and implementing measures aimed at further cementing their relationship with their fans.
"If you look at those in the top 10, over time they have built a close relationship with their fans if we were to compare it to other genres,working with the fans in groups with a focus of uniting them through these networks," he said.
"This year we removed them from being fans to become family groups so they go out of their way to support us, so the trend was the same from the beginning of the year and it came as no surprise that gospel music topped the annual charts."
Reflecting on the year's music accolades, youthful musician Best Masinire, who together with his fiancee, Whitney Song Bird, were the top two gospel musicians in the Coca-Cola ZBC Top 50 videos of the year competition, agreed with Chivaviro that the Lord had been so gracious and faithful.
Whitney Songbird was the best female gospel artiste after her hit song Supernatural came seventh and Masinire's Yanaya was number 14 in the same competition.
Last year it was Masinire who came out sixth with Rooted in the Word of God, a duet he did with songstress Whitney Songbird.
At that time he promised to cement his achievements with the release of another exquisite video titled Yanaya.
Gospel music ruled the roost on Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50 charts with the top three songs coming from Chivaviro, who scooped the top prize of $2 500, followed by the industry's lesser-known Admire Nago, who pocketed $2 000, and Mai Patai, who went home with $1 500.
The trio all had two songs each which made up a record seven gospel songs in the top 10 of the charts, leaving popular secular music artistes such as Killer T, Alick Macheso and Oliver Mtukudzi, who made up the rest, an unfamiliar minority.
Popular Zim dancehall artistes such as Tocky Vibes and Winky D found their names in the top three of the Radio Zim Gospel Top 50 charts after being roped into collaborations by Kubatakwashe Choral Group which features Tocky Vibes on the song Muzita raShe, which claimed the top spot while the second was from Vabati vaJehovah which had Winky D on the song Ngirozi.
Wrapping up a record-breaking year, Gibson Makumbe's Voice of Thunder Studios recording label had 13 songs on Radio Zim Gospel Top 50 charts with songs from Trymore Bande, Agatha Murudzwa, Roe Makawa, Olinda Marowa, Mai Shereni, Freedom Sharimo, Rumbie Zvirikuzhe, Rumbie Gatawa, Munyaradzi Munodawafa, Vabati VaJehovha and Edson Mushangwe, featuring Blessing Shumba.