Ego and death of artistic talent

Robert Mukondiwa
The arts, and especially the music industry in Zimbabwe, tends to be treacherous terrain for all who are bold enough to venture into what is no doubt landmine riddled ground.

For every name or song that ‘‘makes it’’, there are many more whose careers will have died as foetuses which the evil arts industry will have dutifully cremated never to be seen or heard by anyone on any wireless whatsoever.

And yet there are the fortunate few that actually make it and create the big hit. Or two. Or even a dozen!

Those become the makers of the musical staple that keeps the nation informed, entertained and oft times even educated.

But there has been a serious problem with some who have ‘‘almost’’ made, it, been celebrated, and as a result of that instant fame, fail to grapple with the status and fizzle out especially because of overgrown egos.

Oliver Mtukudzi has a huge ego. And perhaps like Beyoncé says, he acts like that ‘coz he can back it up. What with the tonnes of hits he has to his name and the space he occupies in the musical pantheon of gods as the main god.

Yet there are sad tales of some who have had a brush with fame but immediately looked into the mirror and saw images of Oliver Mtukudzi and believing that they too are gods, have started to act as the gods only to be brought down to the world of us mere mortals in spectacular style; never to rise again.

Humility and a level head are no doubt a definite ingredient if one wants to make it to the top; and stay there!

Prince Musarurwa for example. Singing ‘‘Runonzi Rudo’’ alongside Pah Chihera, the young chap had no doubt become the poster child of the fresh millennium which the teenagers wanted to stick up in their bedrooms and gaze at all night as they conjured vision of what could be in their naughty fertile and impressionable minds.

Yet as quickly as he rose, something went a bit off about his conduct and attitude; at least that is what many promoters quietly say.

He soon felt he was the most important thing since sliced bread and baked beans.

Yes, a slight diversion. Who would have known that Zimbabwean men love beans that much? As the price of baked beans went up, many men posted tins of baked beans saying the thing they like to stuff in their mouth a lot was now too expensive!

So yes, beans is a measure of importance alongside sliced bread.

And Prince Musarurwa felt like both sliced bread and baked beans.

Needless to say fast forward and not only is he not remembered by the many fans that he had gotten but perhaps even his mother forgets him here and there when he saunters into the living room one can speculate.

Coming from a family that brought us Augustine Musarurwa of the Skokiaan fame, it takes more than a famous name to stay at the top. His drunken and disorderly conduct and self-importance also ticked off promoters, they say.

Fame is directly related to the last work you will have done and the success that project will have achieved.

Nobody can forget how Tocky Vibes was the only thing playing on radio. After a song of humility and being motivated by his fans who were pretty much every Zimbabwean, the dreadlocked skinny sensation felt he had reached heaven, and a half.

Many people said Tocky had made it because his lyrics were family friendly and also didactic. Many lessons were sandwiched in his amazing beats and vocals. It usually takes both looks and sharp music to win over fans, but Tocky, ‘‘unpretty’’ as he was, by his own admission, had won over and entire nation.

He did say looking into the mirror he knew he didn’t look the part of a successful person. He probably never will. But sometimes it also on the other hand takes a bit more than looks to make it to the top. Although a pretty face does help!

Then he started singing praises to himself. He had taken over the country, ‘‘Aenda Nenyika’’, his music was playing ubiquitously – ‘‘Ndini Ndinorira’’. Then he snubbed an event by the promotion elephant, giant Josh ‘Nzou’ Hozheri where he was supposed to curtain raise for Oliver Mtukudzi. The crowd, according to this little man who had started emulating the music genius Lucifer, was too small. Pride, vanity, the Devil’s own weaknesses had taken him over.

Then he pulled the same on Biggie Chinoperekweyi at Airport Lounge which now is closed. He could do as he wished. After all he was Tocky Vibes the greatest of all times. But fast forward to today, Tocky has marched towards the same Tuku that he snubbed to help breathe life into his music career which is lying in the intensive care unit.

Tacky is a music genius. Unlike the fluke Musarurwa, he can bounce back. But he has learnt jis lesson.

The people have moved on from Tocky. They even have a replacement. Jah Signal kind of even looks like Tocky. Or rather a version of Tocky that went to private school and looks sharp in an amazing wardrobe. The world is not your mother. The world does not wait for you to grow up and out of your prima-donna self-importance.

These are but two of poignant examples. Of many little graves of artistes that otherwise should have soared even higher, but let rush of fame get to their young small heads blowing them large in the process.

Maybe they will rise again. Maybe. And the prayer is that those growing and being celebrated now learn their lessons from those who rose, and fell before them!

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