“I can’t really tell you when I started singing because I don’t actually remember when I started! It was just something that I always loved,” she told IndependentExtra recently.
After contesting in Mnet talent show Project Fame which culminated in her debut album On a Day Like This, along with anchoring the magazine programme Studio 53, the Harare native finds herself grappling with high expectations for her upcoming project.
So just who is Kudzai Sevenzo? For one thing it is quite obvious that she is a highly ambitious and optimistic person. On her website she outlines her vision thus: “To create excellent music that celebrates Africa, music that is positive, and music that challenges conventional thinking.”
“I would describe myself as outgoing and loud when I am with family and a little shy when I’m with people I don’t know that well. So it really depends which side of the coin you flip.”
Any conversation about her music, she says, has to start with her breakthrough at age 17. After entering a music competition at the Ghetto Blues Jazz Club and managing to get into the semi-finals, Sevenzo started “seeing that I had something unique to offer in the music industry”.
Her next major breakthrough came with her inclusion in Project Fame. “I learnt so much and I got an endorsement as a songwriter because I was able to perform my own song for the duration of the entire show. Only three people were given that opportunity.
“I also met with some huge names in the music industry; Oliver Mtukudzi, Mike and the Mechanics, the late Lucky Dube, Judith Sephuma, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Earth Wind and Fire, among others.
As an anchor on Studio 53, she got an opportunity to travel and explore Africa.
“I travelled to Eritrea, Cameroun, Liberia, Kenya and Zambia. It was really great representing my country and showing the rest of the world that there are some positive things happening in Zimbabwe. We covered stories on Great Zimbabwe, The National Arts gallery, Dominic Benhura, Oliver Mtukudzi, Patrick Mavros and many more.”
One of the greatest highlights of the show, she says, was interviewing the first female president of Africa – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whom she describes as “an amazing woman”!
Now staying in Harare again, Sevenzo routinely performs at the Mannenburg and private functions in addition to working on her soon-to-be-released 12- track album.
She readily praises her new project, stating: “It’s a rich album with live instruments played by some of Zimbabwe’s best musicians.”
“It includes a duet with Oliver Mtukudzi,” she adds, “and was produced by Andrew Baird.”
It is the first project in which she is executive producer. “Many times I was tempted to take shortcuts and compromise the quality of this project in order to release it earlier but thank God, I didn’t. I really believe that this is my best work yet.”
“When my fans listen to it I am sure they will be thrilled”.