Music star  Mannex reminisces Mannex Motsi

Ivan Zhakata Arts Correspondent

IF it was in football, Emmanuel Motsi, popularly known as Mannex, would easily have been a utility player.

He is multi-talented.

The veteran singer burst into the limelight as an urban grooves artist in the early 2000s.

Along the way, he found himself fronting an all reggae outfit Transit Crew and years later he has transformed himself into a jazz crooner.

Our news crew caught up with Mannex who shared his musical journey, saying it takes hard work, honesty and integrity to achieve one’s dreams.

Mannex, who gained ground in the showbiz industry after clinching a wide range of shows across Harare and beyond, said persistence has paid off in his musical career.

The decorated singer described his journey as tumultuous, from the time he was part of Bootkin Klan in the early 2000s.

Bootkin Klan was formed in 2002 and released their first hit song “Tsamba” which featured on Zimbabwe’s top 100 as number 2 in 2003.

The group was formed by five guys from Warren Park namely Lozy Fresh, Sammy Tee, Shuuz, Mr 2Bwoy and Mannex who fronted it, before joining Transit Crew.

The album “Anoti Nyo Ndiani?” took Bookin Klan on tours and national concerts around the country.

“Bootkin Klan faded in 2005 due to the hardships sometimes associated with being a group. Promoters were also struggling to pay us fully, aided by economic challenges that prevailed back then,” Mannex said.

“At that time, you would not be able to buy any groceries for the family. From Bootkin Klan, we separated with some members going to the diaspora while others got into daily jobs, I found myself under the tutorship of the Pied Pipers, a jazz band from the 1980s who released hits like “Ruva Rangu”, “Simukai” and “Pemberai” with famous vocalist Jonah Mutumwa.

“They groomed me to start my journey as a live band performer which was a dream come true but still reggae was always my passion. I did one year under them then began my solo career releasing a 10 track album under Kingston’s and Ndugu Records.”

Mannex said the album was titled, “Ndiri Munhu Mutema” and it was complemented by a video that was released on YouTube.

He said after releasing the album, he toured the country, meeting different music producers and promoters who helped him to further develop his musical career.

“I started travelling around Zimbabwe on my own performing with a backtrack. While doing shows in my neighbourhood, Warren Park, I met Dumi Ngulube in 2007 who is responsible for making me a sound engineer up to today, setting up equipment for his shows. I became a curtain-raiser for his shows.

“Ngulube later introduced me to Andy Brown and Cde Chinx Chingaira. I further got so elevated in music because of these two elders and what they left in me. May their souls rest in eternal peace in Rastafari,” Mannex said.

He said in 2008 he was called up by one of the great economic analysts who was then managing the Transit Crew when they had a dispute with Mic Inity.

Mannex said the invitation to join Transit Crew was a real dream that came true as his passion for live reggae band performance was fulfilled.

“I haven’t looked back since then,” he said.

“I recorded the album Unity with Transit Crew at Mono Mukundu’s Monolio Studios and the song “Rozi” was an instant hit.

“It was complemented by a video and more videos and since then you can find them on my Channel Motsi.”

He worked with Transit Crew for five years before leaving for Ghana for a year-long course in Entrepreneurship.

While in Ghana, Mannex said he recorded a song there with Opoku Mensah and Delah Botri called Super Transformation.

“I came back to Zimbabwe in 2010, created my own band Mofamilee and recorded two more albums “Rwendo” and “Mo Love”. Transit Crew called me back from 2014 to 2015 then I left to create ZimReggaestra, the band I have today.

“I have been recording lots of singles since and last year l was number 17 on top 50 StarFM, Diamond in the Rough was the hit song. Now I have been working on my new release called “Uri Kure” and the video is almost out with three more videos in the pipeline,” said the jazz maestro.

Meanwhile, Mannex has released a love song titled “Ndide” featuring urban grooves artiste Pauline Gundidza.

He said the song was dedicated to lovebirds as we draw closer to Valentine’s Day which is celebrated next month and is known as the “month of love”.

“The song was inspired by love as we go towards the month of love when we celebrate Valentine’s Day,” Mannex said.

“I thought I should write lyrics for a guy who loves a girl and wants to show her how much he can do for her if she just gives him a little time. However, women always have second thoughts because of heartbreaks so they tend to put barriers, making it hard.”

Mannex said he was happy with the production quality after engaging new producers.

“The producer’s name is Good Kid who created the riddim and recorded me and Pauline at the newly established Afrotonic Sound Studio where Fuzzy L is the chief director. As for the video, we are working on it as fast as we can and it’s definitely on the way,” he said.

Mannex has also hailed Pauline as a professional urban grooves songtress.

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