Potato reunites with ex-girlfriend after 18 years

HARARE - Veteran Zimdancehall chanter Edwin Nyaruka, popularly known as Potato in showbiz circles, believes his recent re-union with his United Kingdom-based girlfriend Rayella Wolfenden will breathe some life into his stuttering career.

The chanter, who made his name in the 1990s to early 2000s along the likes of Major E, Booker T, Innocent Utsiwegota, Malvern S and the late Andy Brown among others, regrets the day he went separate ways with Rayella about 18 years ago.

“She was very influential in my life including my musical career...she played a pivotal role,” the Mbare-born artiste told the Daily News on Sunday.

Potato blames himself for causing the separation.

“She moved away at that time when my career was at its peak. You know fame corrupts, but all the same, thanks to the Almighty she is back,” the 41-year-old artiste said.

To demonstrate his love for his back-again girlfriend, Potato has lined up a 10-track album dedicated to Rayella which he intends to release next week.

“The studio project is called Wandidzorera Murudo. It was recorded and produced in Mbare at Still We Rise Studios,” he said.

Apart from the Rayella effect, Potato also attributed his music career wobble to the death of legendary guitarist and vocalist Andy Brown.

“Though I worked with a number of talented artistes including Utsiwegota with whom we collaborated on the hit Country Boy among others, Brown shaped my career. I travelled a lot with him but his death left me in the cold.

“Right now, I am trying to do a music project with Andy Brown’s children- Alex and Ammara,” he said, adding that he regrets the fact that he is no longer in touch with the guys he worked with on Country Boy.

“I lost contact with Utsiwegota and Major E in particular.”

Potato also feels the new crop of Zimdancehall artistes does not give him and people like Major E, Booker T and Marlvin S due respect  given their contribution to the genre.

“I believe I am one of the artistes who started the Zimdancehall movement. I was the first artiste to sing dancehall in Shona language and I faced a lot of criticism but I forged ahead until society fell in love with it.

“But it is painful that the present generation of Zimdancehall artistes tends to ignore our advice. I always preach the gospel of anti-drug abuse in the youths but they are not listening at all. Sadly most of the upcoming artistes abuse drugs.”

The experienced chanter wants artistes to be role models.

“Artistes should mirror what is happening in the society and they should not lead the society astray,” he said.

Despite his general unhappiness with the current crop of Zimdancehall artistes, Potato, whose only son Joe, better known as Joe-tato ,22, is following in his footsteps as an artiste, has singled out a few artistes whom he said are destined for greatness.

“Musicians such as Killer T, Kinnah, Soul Jah Love and Ras Caleb are some of the few Zimdancehall artistes who are doing well in the industry. Most of these artistes have the courtesy of crafting clean lyrics which make their music palatable for fans across generations,” he said.

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