Plot Mhako Lifestyle Writer
One-hit wonder. You may have heard of such creatures.
A one-hit wonder is any entity that achieves mainstream popularity, often for only one piece of work, and becomes known among the general public solely for that momentary success.
Every year, there are artists and songs that become fast hits, but sometimes artists can’t replicate that popularity and become one-hit wonders. In some instances some musicians have dropped more than one hit but soon fizzle out and fall into the abyss never to be seen or heard from again as if they climbed Mount Nyanga and became one of the unfortunate few.
This is not a phenomenon only associated with the Zimbabwean music industry but it’s a global occurrence.
In the past few years we have witnessed a lot of amazing new talent hitting the roof and vanishing in the blink of an eye. Despite possessing real and great vocal and creative talent they are swallowed but insatiable time and become a footnote on the graveyard of artistic history.
Some become so forgotten they do not even have tombstones in the graveyard of the forgotten has-beens.
I would like to explore ten artists I think had the magic to keep going but somehow lost it. The list could stretch into years and hundreds of artists but I will confine it to a few that hogged the limelight over the past few years.
There are three most difficult stages for any artist; breaking through, maintaining consistency and bouncing back. A few have managed the first two so well that they don’t even need the last element. How they have done it can be curiously fascinating like an act of magic, not the Houdini type of tricks. There is a school of thought that believes one needs 10 percent talent and 90 percent professional management attributes. Over and above the ability to manage the talent and art in a business form.
Sandra Muchaneta Gazi was undoubtedly the most successful hit-making female Zimdancehall artist. She defied the odds and made a name for herself in a male dominated and highly patriarchal music space, winning and retaining the Best Female Zimdancehall artist award for a record two years.
Just like her male counterparts, controversy, scandals and nefarious allegations haunted her from one moment to the other. Despite all these setbacks Squanda’s achievements remained unmatched but sadly the steam ran out. Her most recent offering the 3rd Singles Collection project did not even get any attention. Perhaps even she doesn’t listen to it.
The “Idya Banana” hit-maker is a typical example of a one-hit wonder. His song off the album “Tapinda Tapinda” was a high sounding entry and exit. He had managed to give a resuscitation to a genre that once ruled the nation but could not sustain it despite dropping five more albums that never saw the glory days of his first one. Garakara had a very smooth and charming voice that jelled so well on the sungura beat but unfortunately the trick worked only once. He slipped on a banana peel of fame and down the hole of the forgotten.
At a time when the Zimdancehall genre was at its peak with up-tempo hits dropping, a new voice would emerge from Masvingo to disrupt with scintillating jam syrup. Caleb Tareka released “Tokwe-Mukosi”, a song that moved and touched the hearts of many at a time of the flooding disaster in the area the song is named after. The unique sounding reggae artist stayed in the game long but his music didn’t. Whatever went wrong boggles the mind considering his great talent.
Hip hop could be a popular genre in the country but most would agree that the local material has struggled for years to really take off. At the peak of Zimdancehall, a rapper popped up to mesmerise the country with some dope punch-lines.
For once most people believed this is the continental breakthrough we had been praying for. With a seal of approval from Cassper Nyovest who went on to feature on his remix of Zkhipani, Mgcini Calvin Nhliziyo had done wonders but unfortunately despite dropping more albums and songs he hasn’t hit the high bar again.
I am still trying to understand what happened to the “Mudendere” singer! I still strongly believe he is a ball of creative energy. His style, voice and compositions were a marvel but sadly he didn’t last for a second round. Certainly a one round brother. One hit and a few follow ups then that was it.
Did he lose the zeal too soon? Was competition too tight? Did he assume he had already made it and in the process lose the plot? Plot, this Plot, can only wonder!
The dancehall chanter literary came and owned the streets last year. With authoritative but witty tunes he put Zimdancehall to a lockdown and announced a coup. Interestingly he made a silent exit from the main stage as hits stopped coming. Will he bounce back or that’s it? Time will tell.
“Runonzi Rudo” saw people fall in love, some even wedded after inspiration from the track and it became a signature song.
The duet with Prince Musarurwa became a national anthem. However, as the song took a cue the artist seems to have taken a bow and the radar has not been able to detect her since. The industry is tough but even harder for women who have to face a lot of music before getting to make it.
He came, he rocked and disappeared! His entry smash hit “Seunononga” turned every party into a wild zone as every girl attempted the dance.
Emmanuel Manyeruke instantly became one of the most sought after artists and at every show he never disappointed.
His star was glowing so bright as he released several follow up projects but nothing compared to the initial hit. Today, he still remains as one of the most talented vocalists and I hope fate will see him return one day.
Not many people knew about Glendale until Albert Mushore sent shocking waves throughout the country. Come to think of it, Glendale was so dead one wonders if even people from Glendale knew where Glendale was! ‘‘Kudonhedza Musika’’ became part of the street lingo but in typical bubblegum fashion, the song would soon lose taste.
The artist had two duets that did fairly well, one with Stunner and another with high flying Jah Signal and that was it! A return is inevitable but it will be an uphill task.
Riding on the same Stage Riddim that propelled Boom Betto on to the spotlight, Blot emerged as the baddest lyricist whose wordplay was compelling to the ear. Another Chillspot product.
Word on the street has it that once he left the record label, the hits stopped. He has become a blot in the music history books.
Evidently, making music is anything but childsplay!