Dondo changes game tonight

HARARE - Exactly a year after announcing his grand entrance onto the local music industry with a spectacular launch, fledgling musician Sam Dondo, launches his second album tonight at Meikles Hotel.

Last year, on April 15, the rangy artiste introduced himself to the cut-throat showbiz industry with a massive launch that featured Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick, Macheso, Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Peter Moyo at Alex Sports Club.

This time around, the 31-year-old has chosen a five-star hotel for the launch of Game Changer, an album in which he says shows a man standing on his own and ready to cut it with the movers and shakers of the tough local music industry.

The new album has 13 tracks drawn from life experiences which touch on love, hard work, fair weather friends, belief, health and social ills.

“I have been learning and improving in the past year and I can confidently say my fans and those who like music in general, will find Game Changer a good offering.

“This is a musical journey in which highs and lows define how far one can go. All these I have experienced in the last year. They have helped me mature and Game Changer captures this,” Dondo told the Daily News.

“It is everyone’s experience, as it has been mine that any discovery we make about ourselves or the meaning of life is never, like a scientific discovery, a coming upon something entirely new and unsuspected.

“We are all braver than we think, more talented than we know, and capable of more than we imagine. Once a musician has enough ability to get into the limelight, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works.

“This project is a game changer, hence the title of the album,” added Dondo explaining the inspiration behind the title track.

In the new album, Dondo has retained most of the team that he featured in Dyara Minamato while introducing fast tempo in his Afro-fusion beat.

While he has decided to dump heavyweights in his launch tonight, there is still no doubting that Dondo has a firm belief in his own ways of doing things.

While there are no big names tonight, there is still a sense of reaching far and wide as the Game Changer launch is going to be televised live on ZBC after the main news bulletin.

“Every artiste has their own way of introducing themselves. Last year it was a star-studded event but this year it is an invitational launch.

“I believe that this is testament of my belief in my own abilities and also an expression of being my own man. The fact that it is broadcast live on television is for some of my fans who are far and wide who had previously felt excluded at last year’s launch.

“But it is nothing spectacular but a form of support from those, family and business partners, who wish to see me succeed,” Dondo said.

Game Changer was mixed and mastered in South Africa by veteran artiste — Keith Farquharson who is widely respected for his works with local musicians.

Farquharson has worked with Tuku, Ilanga, Willom Tight, Alexio Kawara, Mann Friday, Netsayi, Jah Prayzah, the late Andy Brown and Chiwoniso Maraire.

The Cape Town-based mixer/producer has worked with many South African artistes among them, Freshlyground.

Dondo said Farquharson is involvement with the latest offering served to underline the confidence that seasoned artistes have in him.

“He has been following my progress since Dyara Minamato. Ordinarily, you would think that once you engage someone of his calibre, given his reputation, the relationship would not go beyond commercial boundaries.

“But Keith has gone beyond that, giving tips for improvements and re-tweaking in certain areas.  When I look at the people he has worked with and his desire to see me improve, I get encouraged,” Dondo told the Daily News.

Dondo, in Shona means bush but in street lexicon — it means off rail or getting it wrong completely.

It remains to be seen if he can avoid getting off rail.

His first album has so far given him reason to feel that he is not lost.

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