So, we are in the sunset of the year 2020, and as we look back, the silhouette speaks to the birth of new artistes who survived cut-throat competition and gave traditional hit-makers a run for their money.
With Covid-19 spawning a new normal, a lot of innovation and transformation was needed, and some artistes found the going tough while others soldiered on.
There was need to absolutely think outside the box.
Several platforms gained popularity with fans, including live streaming and virtual shows.
It was the year that the digital platforms reigned supreme.
The Covid-19 pandemic catapulted some little known artistes into the limelight.
While the year caused financial haemorrhage to the arts industry, it thrust some artistes into stardom.
Such artistes include Poptain, Allanah, Anita Jaxson, Van Choga and Holy Ten.
In May, celebrated musician Jah Prayzah released his much anticipated album “Hokoyo”.
The album was supposed to have been launched earlier but was postponed because of Covid-19.
The album had songs such as “Donhodzo”, “Miteuro”, “Mukwasha”, “Mwana Wamambo” and “Munyaradzi” among others.
Kudos to the musician as he also released brilliant visuals to accompany some of the tracks.
However, it was not stroll in the park for any of his songs to be a Christmas banger. The album was not a big hit. It received lukewarm reception and soon fizzled out before the festive season.
Having realised the sad truth, Jah Prayzah quickly released “Porovhoka” an experimental dance song that has already caused havoc at leisure outlets and in public transport vehicles.
Now I revert to the list of the Covid-19 rising stars.
In July, underrated Zimdancehall sensation Poptain and Allanah illuminated the music scene with their hit song “Fadza Mutengi”.
The song became an instant hit and its appeal cut across the social strata and age groups.
“Fadza Mutengi” became the new street anthem, which shows how popular the track was!
What worried some was whether the song would stand the heat until December, but it seems to have stood the test of time and can still find its way on the Christmas bangers playlist.
Fast track to August, the song “Hello Mwari” by Jah Master was trending and even got rave reviews from international music critics.
It is a party and club song that one can dance to in all kinds of moods.
What Jah Master did not get right was delaying the video when the song was still a hit. Unfortunately by the time it was released, it seems to have lost some appeal.
It is now a two-horse race between “Fadza Mutengi” and “Hello Mwari”. The two songs have staying power as they still rank on the festive season playlists.
To remain relevant, Jah Master roped in arguably lady of the moment Anita Jaxson on “Unonzi Ani?”
The duo trended with their hit song and time will tell if the vibe survives into 2021.
Such competition is actually healthy for the entertainment sector.
Anita Jaxson became the most sought after musician and her star keeps rising.
As if this was not enough, she collaborated with Poptain on a track called “Fire”.
The duo struck the right chords and their collabo was a match made in heaven.
It was blazing hot as the title aptly suggests! She knew where her bread was buttered as she continued to climb the charts.
On the successful artistes, Nutty O should not be forgotten as his song “Safe” also became an anthem.
The party song can be applauded for surviving until December.
It is still being played at some social joints and has been causing commotion among revellers.
His fans can’t get enough of the song.
There was another party song “Tangai Bhawa” by Fidel Country Boy which trended during the first stages of the lockdown.
Fidel Country Boy rode on the lockdown as bars, parties and social functions among others were closed to curb the spread of the virus.
The song, in which the singer pleads with relevant authorities to ease the restrictions, can still be played, but for the Christmas mood. It might not be on top of the list because Covid-19 restrictions have been eased and it doesn’t hold much relevance for now.
Should we still dance to South African-based Zimbabwean musician Nox’s “Melody” song which featured Master KG of the “Jerusarema” fame?
Well it still depends on how you want to be in the festive mood.
When people were still debating whether or not EXQ still had the urban groove mojo within him, he released “Wakatemba” with Tocky Vibes, putting his critics to bed.
EXQ brought the mature, cool feel on to the song, and some critics agree that he can still be relevant this Christmas.
EXQ’s star is not fading soon considering that his other peers who pioneered the urban grooves movement are no longer in the game.
September was a busy month because sungura musician and Khiama Boys frontman Nicholas “Senior Lecturer” Zakaria dropped a video of his golden oldie, “Zomvelamvela” off his 1998 album “Yeuchidzo,” as he sought to tap into the opportunities brought by adding quality visuals to his music.
The song had dope visuals and gave the “old ballies” a time to go down memory lane given that during the lockdown Zakaria was absent from the stage.
He seemed to have ignited the fire as sungura ace Alick Macheso went into the studio and months later dropped “Zuro NdiNhasi” which some sectors said was well received while others disagreed and said there was nothing outstanding about the song.
The truth is it did not go the distance as expected.
Macheso is a brand and each time he releases a song, all sectors and genres are shaken.
Under normal circumstances, when Macheso catches a cold, the sungura genre sneezes.
Some still wonder if the song can be trending this Christmas or if the going has been tough for “Baba Shero” as we wait for 2021.
In the hip-hop arena, musician Holy Ten bloomed in October.
He brought the new level of artistry and will his songs “Kumba Kune Vanhu” and “Amai” that definitely need to be added to the Christmas playlist.
Dendera should not be left on the Christmas wish-list.
The Chimbetus’ brought a new dimension as the family members were releasing one album after the other. First it was Allan, followed by Sulumani and Tryson.
Again, there was nothing great to talk about.
All of them maintained the Dendera beat but if they wanted to own the Christmas dance floors, they could have done a collaboration and not divide fans as it is still the same name and same Dendera.
Maybe the Christmas elf did not show them the route Santa Claus was taking.
We wait and see who will emerge victorious after the festive season.
One woman of valour who should not be ignored when it comes to Christmas playlist and has always delivered is Janet Manyowa.
Well this year was a difficult year for all musicians.
Manyowa knew the right time to release her Christmas song.
Two weeks ago, she launched her extended play “Sounds of Victory” which had the popular song “Many Blessings” that was accompanied by top notch visuals. Magnificent as they say, the song is currently topping the local gospel charts and already there is a challenge spurned by the song’s choreography.
What also affected local artistes during this period was pressure as most released half-baked songs, resulting in them not trending or being blasted on social media for a rushed job.