Problem Masau Arts Correspondent
They say dynamite comes in small packages. When he is off the stage, pint-sized gospel musician Mathias Mhere is just an ordinary man.
It is only when he begins to sing that one discovers the powerful voice that has captured the conscience of the nation since Mhere broke onto the music scene a couple of years ago.
He is probably local gospel music’s best find lately. With only three albums under his belt, Mhere finds himself classified among the country’s finest.
His latest album, “Nguva Yenyasha” has already gone viral and indications are that it is one of the new releases that are going to be hits.
Though the 25-year-old is riding high on the crest of success, his musical tale has not always been sweet.
Born and bred in Gutu, Mhere never imagined he would command such influence nationwide.
For a man who started off playing worn-out pots (zvingwendere) in his rural home, sharing the stage as he did last week with his childhood hero, Machanic Manyeruke was a dream come true.
Raised in a Christian family, Mhere has always had a penchant for music. While in Gutu, he would sing in church, herding cattle or working in the garden.
“I teamed up with my siblings and we organised our small band. My parents never took us seriously; they thought it was juvenile delinquency,” he said.
His “partners in crime” those days were siblings Daniel, Miriro and Melody. They called themselves the Gospel Hurricane.
Mhere stayed with his mother Gertrude while his father Fidelis worked in Gweru.
However, as nature would have it, Gospel Hurricane disbanded as the siblings grew and went separate ways.
It was time for the young Mhere to enrol at Matinunura High School in Gweru after completing his primary education in Gutu.
“My dream of becoming a musician never faded. In fact, it was growing strong. I knew that I wanted to be a musician,” said the soft-spoken musician.
He went on to be part of the group “Created to Worship” that comprised of Edmore Mavhondo, Liberty Ticharwa and Allan Makuraro.
The group only managed to produce some demos because of financial challenges. However, the seed in him was growing each day.
While in Form 3, he joined the group “Rock of Ages”. The group released an album “Hakuna Unoramba”.
The group also disbanded and after completing his Ordinary Level, it was time for the gospel sensation to pack his bags for the capital.
Unbeknown to him, music success awaited him in Harare.
He worked in a city supermarket in various low-grade capacities to gain some professional experience. He then got a job as a buyer at Tiger General Suppliers.
The money he got from his modest job financed the recording of his debut album “Tinoda Nyasha”.
“The album was a flop. I knew it was a good album, but I was new in the game. There was no proper marketing and it ended up not reaching the audience,” he said.
It was a great setback for the artiste as he had paid a substantial fee to be recorded by Mono Mukundu. He took a hiatus for the next four years only to resurface in 2011.
“The album ‘Anoita Minana’ was a massive hit. All the songs became hits and everyone was asking who this Mathias Mhere guy is? Opportunities started to open up,” he said.
The album, accompanied by a DVD, propelled him to fame, but he also attracted a certain level of controversy.
“Since I now had the same producer with Blessing Shumba, people thought I was a copycat. Others said I was once imprisoned with him. I was never a convict.
“Shumba remains my brother and I hope I will do a collaboration with him on my next album.
“Three different musicians came to me saying I had stolen the song ‘Favour’ from them. This did not add up because I had performed the song on my wedding in 2009,” he said.
The musician had also courted controversy with some of his lyrics which detractors said contradicted the Bible.
“I have come to realise that some people have their own interpretation of the Bible. If a song is now in the public domain, it is up to the people to give their interpretation,” he said.
Born in 1988, Mhere is married to Susan Dzinamarini and have a three-year-old son Shayne.