It is hard to classify Afro pop star Ex-Q's long-lasting success in the music industry as either due to consistency, hard work or sheer luck, but the Nzenza hit maker has not only survived, but kept a significant percentage of music lovers hooked to his sound.
Like wine, Ex-Q (born Enock Munhenga) is evidently getting better with age and last year sealed his dominance as shown by his heavy presence on the Star FM music awards nominees list.
He has been nominated five times in Best Afro-pop Song, Best Collaboration, Best Male Artiste, Best Album and Song of the Year categories.
"It's an honour being recognised like this from a radio station. Coming up with such an initiative makes us feel privileged because it has been a journey and we have worked hard to be here," Ex-Q said through his manager Samuel Mukondo.
While Ex-Q is the favourite to clinch all the accolades, Mukondo, who describes 2018 as "our year", described getting nominated as a cherished recognition similar to actually taking the gongs home.
"We leave it [winning the accolades] to God and our fans because one of the categories is a listeners' choice where the public will have to vote, but ultimately for us we are already winners through these nominations and we wish all the other nominees the best on the night," he said.
The awards will come to life on Friday at Zimbali Gardens in Harare where about 700 invited guests are expected to witness the ceremony.
"What I love about these awards is that we have youngsters dominating in almost all the categories although there are some legends as well," awards representative Zandile Ndlovu told The Standard Style recently, adding that it had been a headache for the adjudicators to come up with a list after receiving a total of 1 800 entries from artistes.
"It was really tightly contested that some were missing their spots in the categories by just half a mark," she said.
"By just looking at the nominees, I do not think people can dispute that these are the songs that have been doing great rotation on our radio.
This is guided by what has been playing at the station and artistes were bouncing each other off at some point along the year."
Meanwhile, there have been complaints by some sections of music listeners who feel that the nominees selection was not wide and extensive to involve artistes from across the length and breadth of the country, but according to Ndlovu "the nominees are a reflection of our chart shows, so the nominees are artistes that are relevant and are known for doing very well".
"People will always complain, it's normal so for us we have our own criteria where we were not only looking at the popularity of the song, but the production and musicality as well as the commercial side because we are a commercial radio station," she said.