3 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Gemma Promises Big Things for Zimbabwe

The visuals of Winky D's song MuGarden featuring soul singer Gemma Griffiths may have broken all success records in the country, reaching a million views less than two weeks after release on February 14, but most music lovers are still undecided over what tickles their fancy.

It could be the stunning graphics, including lush green flora and live fauna, or the effortless blend of the duo's voices.

Amid all of it, however, is the undoubtedly endearing persona of Griffiths which, when fused with Winky D's apt lyricism, complements the latter's attempt at becoming the new king of motion picture in the music scene.

Although already an established artiste, the gifted pianist was a stranger to a significant number of local music followers until Valentine's Day over a fortnight ago.

Standard Style reporter Kennedy Nyavaya (KN) caught up with Griffiths (GG) from Tanzania, where she is in search of new inspiration, to get her narration of how the rollercoaster ride has been so far and what her growing fan base can expect from her.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

KN: You have been in the music industry for a long time now but you have not received as much attention locally as you have since the release of MuGarden, how does it feel to command such immense influence back home?

GG: It's been absolutely incredible to see the response to Mugarden. The support and love has felt so present, even though I am currently not in Zimbabwe and I feel truly humbled by each and every comment and message I have received.

KN: It's only been a fortnight now, but has this new-found fame brought any positive gains to your career so far?

GG: Yes, absolutely. I have met so many new fans via social media, and been blown away by the messages I have received.

KN: How did you end up in the studio with Winky D and how was the experience of working with him?

GG: It was all a bit of a whirlwind chatting about the track and then all of a sudden being in the studio. He is absolutely fantastic. We worked really well together, and he is such a humble, downto-earth artiste, who really knows what he is doing musically.

KN: In your career, you have worked with other international artistes much to the benefit of your career, but can we expect more collaborations with local musicians?

GG: Only time will tell, but I would absolutely hope so! Zimbabwe is filled with incredible musicians that are world-class. The music they create is authentic and I genuinely love it. Zimbabwe has so much to offer and I am privileged to be a musician in this scene.

KN: Some of your new followers are startled by the idea of a white lady singing in perfect Shona lyrics, would you by any chance release more Shona tracks in the future?

GG: Yes, Shona is stunning, especially to sing in. It is a musical language that commands such power when mixed with melody.

KN: What are some of your own projects people can look forward to this year?

GG: I am working on some tracks at the moment -- as I travel through Africa. I am writing, recording and creating what I hope will be some new music to release.

KN: How many albums/EPs (extended plays) do you have so far in your career?

GG: I have one EP so far and that is my debut titled My Town, which you can find on iTunes, Spotify, Apple music, as well as on YouTube.

KN: Considering that you are not in the country most of the times, do you have any plans to meet your growing local fan base?

GG: Yes, I will definitely be coming back to Zimbabwe soon and would love to do a show and meet everyone for sure. I will announce my travel plans on Facebook and Instagram.

KN: There is this local belief that female musicians find it hard to make it to the top without a male's assistance. What is your take and possible advice to other female musicians who believe that notion?

GG: I honestly believe music can stand apart from gender. If you make music that is real, is good and is true to you as an artiste, it shouldn't matter if you are a woman or a man, are young or old, or have dark or light skin. If we focus on making authentic and beautiful music, that is what will shine through.

KN: If you have any more comments, perhaps to your fans, please feel free to say them.

GG: I want to say a huge thank you to every single person who has supported this project (MuGarden) and the music I am making. I have been overwhelmed by the incredible messages and comments I have received, and feel blessed to be a Zimbabwean. I feel the love so much. So, all I can say is maita basa (thank you).

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