Godwin Muzari Arts Editor
Denial is a dangerous state of mind. It steals time to implement pertinent remedies to a condition going bad. The results can be disastrous.
As he works on his upcoming album, Jah Prayzah should seriously keep this in mind.
His blunt determination to keep moving away from the traditional beat that made him popular is reaching disappointing levels.
Many articles have been written warning him to avoid drifting away from his fans. The fans that supported him as he went up the music ladder from humble beginnings.
A bigger section of these fans have also registered their disapproval over how Jah Prayzah is getting carried away with borrowed glitz of associating with the likes of Davido, Diamond Platnumz and Jah Cure among others.
Even his band members have complained about his globe-trotting habit that affects their remuneration because their shows have dwindled. It was among reasons cited by some members that left the group.
Yes, Jah Prayzah is right in trying to make his brand international. Every artiste wants international glory, but the route he is taking might not take him to his desired destination.
Yes, he has won recognition at international awards and has been on prestigious platforms like Coke Studio Africa, but he is pushing too much on that front and risks losing his identity in local showbiz.
The route he is taking might not take him to the best destination. He might be ecstatic about the little stars at night and forgetting the sun that lit his day.
The likes of Davido and Diamond Platnumz will pull crowds when they come to perform in Zimbabwe. It is obvious that Jah Prayzah will not get similar recognition in Kenya or Nigeria, yet he seems too obsessed with expeditions in those areas, forgetting that he has a crowd that has stood by him over the past years back home.
Maybe the adage “all that glitters is not gold” has been overused to make sense to Jah Prayzah.
Yes, Davido and company have the gold because they rule in their territory. But it is their territory and Jah Prayzah may later realise that what he touches in that golden territory might end up turning to ashes.
And the sooner he realises it, the better.
If he continues stuffing all sorts of objects in his ears to ignore advice, time will not stop ticking.
It might be too late when he decides to return to his people. He has been told about this many times, but he is in denial.
He is refusing to accept that his international forays are eating out the flesh of a body he made with the aid of that small mbira he brought from Uzumba. That mbira is the weapon he should have used for his international offensive.
It is the same mbira instrument that took the late Chiwoniso Maraire to great international stages. It is the same mbira instrument that has taken Thomas Mapfumo to prestigious world festivals.
Local traditional music is powerful. It does not need glittering foreign ornaments to make a mark beyond our borders.
Jah Prayzah possesses the most powerful traditional music weapon for international offensive — the mbira.
It is traditional music that has made Mokoomba a big name in Europe despite being little-known back home.
It is traditionally-inclined Katekwe beat that has made Oliver Mtukudzi the biggest local star on international stage.
If Jah Prayzah wants to test the waters, even on an international stage in Europe, he should play “Goto” after “My Lilly” and he will understand why while the afore-mentioned artistes have made it abroad.
He should make use of such examples to reshape his sword. He has the potential. He is a hard worker, but he might lose it on both ends if he is not careful.
Already, mumbles of disapproval are getting louder at home while nothing much has been achieved on his international route.
He has promised to release a new album this year. He is already working on it and he should seriously consider the signs around him. They do not look good.
People want the music they have known as Jah Prayzah’s style from the time he started to get recognition.
If he does not change his fast-growing style of arrogance, he might regret in the near future.
If a musician like Alick Macheso can listen to his fans’ comments and make music according to them, why does Jah Prayzah think otherwise?
Macheso got a serious backlash for his two previous albums because of the way he was beginning to change his style.
Then, before releasing his current album “Dzinosvitsa Kure”, he admitted he had bowed down to pressure and factored in people’s suggestions in creating it.
Today, the big numbers are back at Macheso’s shows. That is all Jah Prayzah needs.
He should listen to his fans and make sure that his upcoming album speaks to the souls of their music taste. Otherwise the young man still has the energy and vocal prowess. He should not crush his great potential carelessly. It is not yet too late. The ball is still in Jah Pryazah’s court.