My best is yet to come: Calvin Gudu

TO MOST  Zimbabweans the mere mention of Calvin Gudu’s name will likely evoke memories of the 1998 hit Tombofara which the United Kingdom-based musician jointly produced with Muzi Mangena.

Tombofara made Calvin and Muzi overnight celebrities but their stay at the apex of Zimbabwe’s music scene was relatively short-lived. Daily News on Sunday’s Dakarai Mashava (DM) interviewed Calvin Gudu (CG) on how his career progressed after Tombofara.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

DM: Tombofara is arguably the song that made you overnight celebrities way back in the 90s. What happened to your careers both you and Muzi after that?

CG: I am still at it my man. Still writing and producing. In the past 5 years I have been involved in commercial work both in motion picture and audio. I am part of the film company called SaFrankie Films, who naturally are my production crew of choice for my music videos. I like the direction SaFrankie films is taking particularly with regards to music videos.

Muzi took a bit of a break from music after a contract stint with Copenhagen-based DanZim Company, but in the past 6 months he has been with us here at NoizeBox Studios working on two projects one of which is due out in 6 weeks’ time. The boy still rocks big time.

DM: How many albums have you done to date?

CG: Four so far: Matonto, Igugu Lami, The Album and the latest Above All.

DM: Is Above All your latest album?

CG: Yes. This is my latest offering from my record label PraiseWorth Records.

DM: Can you tell us more about the album and did you write all the songs?

CG: Above All is a gospel album. The title of this album refers to how God has seen me through thick and thin and lifted me “above all” the turbulence that this life has thrown my way.

It is a 10-track album. I wrote 9 songs on the album while the 10th song was adapted from Freedom Sengwayo. I wrote additional stuff just to update the vibe.

I worked with a lot of very gifted artistes, namely Karabo Mongatane (SA) on backing vocals and additional vocal arrangements

I also worked with a duo from SA called Intense. Intense offered some of the smoothest backing vocals on this album. In America I teamed up with Eustance and Thami from Los Angeles who are very gifted musicians.

This album was also graced by a fine saxophonist from Italy by the name of Roberto Manzin.

From the technical side I had the pleasure to work with Los Angeles-based engineer, Matt Marrin who has worked with the likes of Tyrese, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis etc.Matt is arguably the best in the business, also the easiest guy to work with.

DM: Where are you based?

CG: I am based in Essex in the UK. That is where it all happens. It is a quietish town some 30 minutes from London. I like it there because it gives me the opportunity to relax and be in touch with one’s creative side.

When I come home (hint hint!) I will seriously consider living in the deep bush in Maguswini, Binga or in the thick of somewhere in Zimbabwe, where I think my creative juices will flow naturally. I like visiting big cities but not to live in.

DM: What do you regard as the apex of your career so far?

CG: The pinnacle is on the way. My best is yet to come. You won’t have to ask me when it arrives. You will know (Chuckle!)

DM: When did you last perform in Zimbabwe? Any prospects of performing in your homeland any time soon?

CG: My last performance was when we launched Tombofara at the Bulawayo Arts Gallery. That was a special moment that we didn’t even realise was happening. It was all too fast. It was an awesome launch pad for Tombofara. What I cherish most about it is that it was my home ground and we were presented on stage by the late local Razzmatazz king, Dinx Mabhena.

What a guy! He shaped Bulawayo in a big way that fella. He had a bag of swag before most people couldn’t even spell the word.

There are some promoters planning something for us in the year, so we are hopeful to play home this year sometime. I want to tell you more, but you know promoters and their secrets.

DM: Are you a full time musician?

No, not in the sense most people think of the term. How can I put it? I run a record label, PraiseWorth Records, NoizeBox Studios, SaFrankie Films and Midrand Healthcare Limited. So I guess I was sounding like a full time musician or artists until I said Midrand Healthcare Limited, Hahaha! That is how I roll from day to day.

DM: Are you in touch with the Zimbabwean music scene? What should Zimbabwean musicians do for them to be truly world class? Which current Zimbabwean musician impresses you the most?

CG: I am in touch with home in this respect. As a matter of fact we are in the process of commissioning some Zimbabwean producers for the purposes of remixing a particular oldie of ours due for re-release in the next few weeks. I also listen to ZiFM and Star FM whenever I am in the car. These stations are now available worldwide, so this way even us abroad now keep in touch with home real time.

Zimbabwean artistes should change nothing about their vibe and lyrics.

It is worth considering advancement in mixing and mastering, but this comes with time and experience.

Think about where we were 10 years ago, but look at us now. We are surely making progress as a nation of superior musicians. Zimbabwean music has a place on the international scene, Watch us!

I am impressed by all the young artists doing daring stuff really. These are too many to mention by name.

DM: Who do you think is the best Zimbabwean musician ever?

CG: That is a funny one for me you know. Let me start with the one that moves me. In this respect a young and upcoming guy called Pride Priestly completely does it for me.

It is funny how I struggle to get over Freedom Sengwayo, Devera Ngwena Jazz Band and Solomon Skhuza. Crazy, I know. In the pop genre, I am feeling Mudiwa Hood right now.

DM: Are you married?

CG: Yes to one pretty and sensible fine woman, Sima Gudu.

Comments (1)

Mr Calvin Gudu,where have you been?Since 1998?16 years we have been waiting for your best.

Believe chizeya - 8 May 2014

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