Zimdancehall's Levels sets the pace

HARARE - In Zimdancehall's vibrant music industry, artistes come and go as frequently as the rising and setting of the sun. Rarely does a singer or deejay emerge to maintain a presence in the mainstream for any prolonged period of time.

Quality production, playing a key role in musical success, is very often overlooked.
Today, the most dynamic and recognised Zimdancehall artistes all have one producer in common — Mbare-based producer Levels.

Talk about Killer T, Seh Calaz, Soul Jah Love, Ras Caleb, Winky D or one of a myriad of other artistes and it is likely that Levels has been the wind behind their sails.

For many, he is the first gust that effectively made them embark from uncertainty and head towards the limitless horizon. For others, he took their flourishing careers to another level.

The down-to-earth Levels says he is creating employment for ghetto youths by churning out a medley of riddims that has spawned stars in the local genre.

The Chillspot Records boss, real name Roger Tafadzwa Kadzimwe, said he has become a big employer at a time of high levels of unemployment in Zimbabwe as he produces riddims for both seasoned and upcoming artistes.

Levels said the infamous old suburb of Mbare that had earned a bad reputation for breeding top notch thieves has now been morphed into a Zimdancehall “hub”.

“I am a big employer,” Levels boasted to the Daily News.

“I have employed countless youths who were idle. I produce riddims and many ghetto youths have turned to dancehall music. Where can they possibly go? Certainly nowhere because there are no jobs in sight, many of them had graduated into top thieves who eke a living out of pick-pocketing in the buses.

“Things have changed greatly as Mbare suburb has transformed into a dancehall music epicentre and I urge the government to chip in and  help youths financially.”

Though Levels is largely unheralded, he has produced riddims for myriad artistes, both seasoned  and upcoming musicians.

“I record riddims for the likes of Winky D to Ras Pompy and I usually specialise on upcoming musicians,” he said. “At the same time, I feel happy because I raised the established ones.”

He makes his dough by taxing seasoned artistes he produces. They usually perform at  his live shows.

“I do my shows every month and established artistes come and perform for free, while upcoming artistes pay $30 when recording,” Levels said.

“The price is reasonable in order to make life easy for youths. About 30 youths come to Chillspot Records everyday for recording.”

The 24-year-old Levels spends the good part of his time in the studio, eyes studiously locked on his recording equipment.

Levels has played major and contributing production roles on various Zimdancehall charting albums.

These days, Levels is an undisputed veteran producer and highly respected engineer. When not churning out hit songs, he spends much of his time working with aspiring superstars who display the work ethic necessary to hold their own in the competitive world of music.

Levels said he is set to drop two riddims today.

“I am releasing two riddims — Hardcore riddim which is called Boss Ndiani riddim and another conscious riddim called My Boo Riddim,” he said.

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