Meet the other Chitepo

HARARE - Whenever the name Chitepo is mentioned the legendary figure of late nationalist and lawyer Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo almost always comes to mind and not that of Lamont who is steadily making a name for himself on the music scene.

The United Kingdom-based Lamont Chitepo, whose song Maiwe has dominated the Zim Top Ten on Zambezi Magic For several months, concedes that the image of the late nationalist will always loom large.

“Herbert Chitepo was a great uncle (brother of my grandfather) to me. It is indeed a name we will always struggle to live up to. He came from a very poor village but went on to become Zimbabwe’s first black lawyer in 1954,” The Zimbabwe-born Lamont told the Daily News on Sunday.

Be that as it may, Lamont, who is also known as Tu Short thanks to his small stature, believes he has what it takes to make the revered Chitepo name synonymous with music.

“I actually believe that I am my own man and if anything the legacy left by Herbert Chitepo might complement my music career .I think my name could give a boost to the Chitepo legacy.

“Yes I have the talent. My music is getting popular by the day, especially in this new Afro Beat era when people are looking to alternative music,” he said.

The Maiwe singer, though, regrets the fact he is more popular beyond Zimbabwe.

“My music has been received well in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and In Malawi more that it has been received back home. My music surpasses the Zimbabwean community in the UK community and I am starting to see growth in the whole diaspora community.

“I think the world needs to see an artiste being hyped by his/her own people before they jump on the bandwagon to support and the Zimbabwean community here in the UK has been the force behind all new territories I am entering,” said the rising artiste.

Lamont added that he will only become a truly great artiste once he gets more support in the country of his birth.

“I am paying a lot of attention to the Zimbabwean market more than anywhere else but I guess it’s difficult when I am not on the ground. It is in Zimbabwe where I was born at Parirenyatwa Hospital,” he said.

The rising artiste is grateful to DStv’s Zambezi Magic for popularising his music among Zimbabweans.

“The Zambezi Magic Zim top 10 has played a significant role in enabling fellow Zimbabweans to hear my music. Due to the success of my track Maiwe on the Zim top 10.I have gained a number of followers because of this exposure,” said the Maiwe singer.

To make his music brand more popular in Zimbabwe, Lamont intends to make more regular visits to his homeland. Last year he returned home for the first time in 12 years and has lined up another visit to Zimbabwe next month.

“I am coming to Zimbabwe on December 18 this year. The agenda is to build relations with the Zimbabwean market. I have a lot of shows lined up. I can't tell you the dates and venues yet.

“I will also be coming to Zimbabwe to launch my new music video for Maoko Mudenga. I am really excited about this. It is already on YouTube but I will be officially launching it on Coke on the Beat in Zimbabwe as well,” he said.

Lamont is not keen to collaborate with popular Zimbabwe-based artistes yet.

“I am still building a brand and I will feature other artistes when the Lamont Chitepo brand is well-established. I am, however, working with Delani Makhalima on new music … I am also working with major Nigeria producers whose names I can't reveal at the moment,” he said.

The former Sadziwa Primary School and Mukai High School student, who was discovered by Makhalima in the late 1990s, released his debut album Ndiwe in the UK six years ago.

“I produced my first single with Delani in 2002. Since then I became more interested in production. Since I moved to the UK in 2003, I have been learning about song writing and music production.

“I now have my own record label by the name of Mambo Music but I still enjoy working with others. I have produced over 20 songs which include Ndiwe, Maiwe and Maoko Mudenga which people are going crazy over,” said Lamont.