HARARE - Music star Pharrell Williams has praised Zimbabwean musician Brian Nhira, 23, for the excellent manner in which he sang the American musician’s hit song Happy.
Nhira sang William’s song while auditioning for The Voice — an American reality television singing competition broadcast on NBC.
“Singing-wise, I felt like you went up there and had a good time. Clearly, you sing the song much better than I did. I am not phishing he did some notes that I know I can’t do,” said Pharrell.
In response to a question from the American star, Nhira said he started singing at the age of four.
“ . . . my dad is a travelling minister. Our family has travelled together for 16 years of my life. I’m not only here to fulfil my dream but to honour my parents”, he said.
The coaches for the current season of The Voice are Williams, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.
The contestants are required to select a coach from the four music luminaries.
It was not surprising that Nhira picked Williams as his coach, a development that delighted the American star.
“My team is really shaping up. I am super-excited. Brian was very interesting; I could tell that there is so much more so I can’t wait to find out what he wants to do,” said Williams.
In his introductory speech, Brian said his parents relocated to the United States of America in the late 1980s.
“My parents make their living travelling in ministry (church) and I have been to Africa on 10 mission trips. The hopelessness is heart-breaking so I sing for them. I would like to inspire these young people and let them know that their dreams do matter.
“After high school, I went to university and I was one of the main worship leaders there. Since then I decided to launch out as a solo artiste. I have had the opportunity to perform at almost 400 events. I am a pop singer; I love the catchy hooks and melodies. I think there is so much that you can do as an independent artiste, so I am excited to have this amazing opportunity,” said Nhira.
The Zimbabwean musician has a debut album titled Hope’s Stand available on ITunes which is described on his website as, “A very entertaining album, but the deeper message it delivers will take you on a journey of self-realisation (Back Where You Belong); and maybe more importantly, it will challenge you to re-examine how you treat people (Wanderer and Examine).
Nhira follows in the footsteps of United Kingdom-based Gamu Nhengu who impressed judges when she participated in The X Factor UK in 2010.
But she came under fire and fell out of favour after claiming that there was “a firing squad” waiting for her and her family if they ever returned to Zimbabwe.
Her family was facing deportation since their UK visa had expired.