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Making of music icon

As if collaborating with top African artistes, 2face Idibia, Bongani Fassie, Ishmael or sharing the stage with the likes of Grammy Award-winning artiste Beenie Man and being a supporting act for Akon, Sean Kingston and the Jamaican dancehall group TOK is not enough, Cindy Munyavi (CM) added a feather to her cap by performing at the Big Brother Amplified Eviction ceremony on May 27, 2011. Recently, she was selected by promoters of the Mafikizolo gig to be one of the supporting acts at a successful concert in the capital. She is currently riding high with the launch of her third album, Music Vocals Cindy. IndependentXtra’s Admire Kudita (AK) caught up with her after her South African visit.

AK: You just came in from South Africa what was the trip about ?

CM: I was invited to the unveiling of the Afrima (All Africa Music Awards) calendar 2017 at Maslow hotel Sandton as a panelist to share my experiences as a two time Afrima nominee and past winner. It was an awesome networking experience and several collaborations were negotiated on the day.

AK: As one of the survivors of the ‘urban grooves’ era, how do you account for your longevity in this dicey business?

CM: Surrounding myself with the right people consistency and remaining focused has kept me in the game. Above all, it’s God’s grace. I won an Afrima award for the song Parere moyo on December 27 2014. This makes me the only Zimbabwean female artiste to win not only an Afrima, but a continental accolade in music to date.

AK: Who are you signed to?

CM: I am signed to a label called Bryce Nation and they are very professional. My brand is held in high esteem.

AK: Let’s talk about your latest project

CM: I released my third album titled Music Voice Cindy (M.V.C.) and the lead single Setter Pace, has already claimed the number one and two slots on Power Fm and Star FM chart shows and peaked at number three on ZiFM. Power Fm has since adopted Setter Pace as their jingle for 2017. The album is selling well on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google play and Oyos Music.

AK: Elaborate on the African outlook of the album’s creative process.

CM: Setter Pace has several remixes, including a Ghanaian remix, which is about to drop featuring Sherifa Gunu and a Malawian remix featuring Rina, which is on rotation in Malawi and setting the pace. Tomorrow my collaboration with Bucci drops in Malawi and I am working on videos for the songs from the new album: Clap for my babie, Setter pace and Visa.

AK: Do you find that you can live off your music?

CM: One can live off music if one is consistent and employs the right strategy. The entertainment industry is a tough one in Zimbabwe. Piracy has also seriously affected the income due to artistes.

AK: What’s your other hustle?

CM: I run a boutique called Cindy’s fashion corner. We specialise in women’s clothing and accessories, as well as make-up services and tutorials.

AK: How do you view the place of female musicians vis-a-vis promoters and corporate support?

CM: It’s naturally tougher for women to break through as compared to our male counterparts, but I believe opportunities for women are there. We just need to prove our worth. I believe promoters and corporates are value-driven because they are out to make money.

AK: You are peers with the likes of Ammara Brown and Fungisayi Zvakavapano Mashavave, there seems to be a sense of double-standards regarding female musicians in the public arena in terms of personal matters. How do you feel about that?

CM: It’s because the African society has certain moral expectations when it comes to the girl child, regardless of profession. So those are the values against which we are judged. The most painful part we cannot run away from is that female musicians are deemed loose because of some of the venues we perform at, as well as the odd working hours.

AK: Are corporate attitudes not a reflection of a patriarchal Zimbabwean society?

CM: I wouldn’t want to stereotype because individuals run these organisations and they all have different values they adhere to . . . they are not all the same.

AK: The inspiration behind the album and is your music well-received outside the country?

CM: Yes, especially in Malawi. I am getting consistent airplay for my songs Setter Pace (Malawi remix) feat Rina. I am also getting airplay in Namibia and Zambia.

AK: Performance royalties?

CM: Zimura does the collection. I get them every year.

AK: Any live performances?

CM: Catch us live at the One Big Party tomorrow.

With a tally of 21 nominations, including three Zimbabwe Music Awards and five National Arts Merit Awards and All Africa Music Awards nominations, she has won Best female artiste in Southern Africa 2014, beating esteemed colleagues such as South Africans Lira and Zahara alongside Dama Do Bling and Lizha James from Mozambique and Mampi from Zambia.

Munyavi is quite possibly one of Zimbabwe and Africa’s rising stars. Munyavi is a trendsetter. She has won other accolades, including Young Business Woman of the Year — Zimbabwe Business Council (2015). Munyavi also runs a boutique in Harare’s central business district.

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