In Takura’s Words
After releasing the critically acclaimed Somebody Had To Do It, which features hits such as Dananai and Ngoro Yemoto and announcing his ambition to #FillUpHICC; Takura is arguably one of the biggest stars to come out of Zimbabwe in 2018.
An artist with an infectious passion for life and love for music, it is no wonder he is the gift that keeps giving hit after hit. Takura takes us through his journey to the top of Zimbabwean Hip Hop, what inspires his unique sound and why he’s not letting anything stop him from reaching his dreams.
I’m inspired by a lot of things because I am an open minded person. I listen to all kinds of music from Aleck Macheso, jazz from Spain; to an old record that I heard while walking on the street in the UK recently. As long as it sounds good to me then I can enjoy it and be inspired by it. I really don’t care about genres, I just want to make music that speaks to me, for example I listen to my mom’s ZCC sound and that also inspires me.
I can’t describe my sound, for example if I’m going to do trap, I am inspired by different sounds for example one song was inspired by my mom’s ZCC sound. I also rap in Shona to trap beats which a lot of people did not understand initially but I was doing it how I felt. It’s really just a mixture of everything. Sometimes artists will listen to Travis Scott for example and be inspired by him so you’ll find that they now add stuff from Travis in their music but that makes for unoriginal music.
I chill in my studio most of my time. I have a studio in my bedroom and if I get a beat in the morning I’ll play it all day; whether I am at home or travelling around in the car. If I get it at night I’ll play it while I sleep. I just write as I go and once I start writing I have to finish the song that very day, because I might wake up the next day not feeling it. I really go crazy in the studio, think Designer crazy, that’s just how I express myself.
The Move Back To Zimbabwe
I missed my family, I had all the money I could need but something was missing so I had to come back home. An old friend of mine RAF, said charity begins at home, you’ll be more respected internationally if you can pull a crowd and support from your own, people just respect that more. I’m a believer and a go getter; I always make things work, I realised I actually can do anything I put my mind to.
Soul Afrika and going solo
I thought that if I split from the group, it’s definitely going to be hard to make it but I said whatever happens will happen because if it’s meant to be then I’ll make it. I didn’t know the first song I released would become a hit and that’s the song that has gotten me here.
“I get melodies from our own artists, the Tukus and Machesos. I wish more people would sample Zimbabwean music and if we did that more, we would be able to develop our own sound over time”
The Journey and the Challenges
It’s been really difficult financially, in other countries if you have one hit your price changes and you can afford to build your career. In Zimbabwe you struggle to get money just to make videos and what’s a song without visuals? Visuals are important for recognition in order to build your brand. However, looking back and seeing where I came from motivates me every day!
This stage in five words
I forget all my problems. I forget everything when I’m on stage; I’m a different person when I’m performing.
#FillUpHICC inspiration and journey
Cassper Nyovest inspired all of us when he started the #FillUp campaign. In South Africa it was hard to have big concerts for genres outside of house and kwaito music and the same can be said for Zim hip hop and Zim dancehall. Zimdancehall is very popular and they manage to do big events and so you need to associate yourself with those guys in order to pull off such big events. I’ve broken so many records already and that’s why I believe I can do this as well.
Concerts in Zimbabwe usually have to have a long list of artists on the poster in order to be successful. I was performing at one of such concerts once; and I stopped and wondered; if I was the only artist performing here how many people would have come out to see me? I decided that I wanted to also do concerts and festivals like other artists in Africa. A good example is Wizkid who is doing really well in that respect; he managed to make history by selling out the O2 arena.
We never take chances here because everyone is scared, we only do album launches and support international artists at their concerts but I wanted to be able to take that risk and help build concert and festival culture. We’ve been going to high schools and the reception has been amazing. I want other artists to know that we don’t need to be 20 in order to have one successful concert, we can support each other but there’s room for growth. People should be able to have their own shows, which push a person to keep going and to do things they’ve never done before.
On Zim Hip Hop
Zim hip hop is growing, not many people are keen to listen to zim hip hop but that’s changing slowly, we just need to work together more and beef less.
Oliver Mtukudzi inspires me, I met him in Australia and he gave me advice and I was impressed by how amazing he is in reality. The likes of Aleck Macheso and Tuku inspire me because they worked so hard, imagine that they had to play one song live in order to record it and those songs were so long, like 12 minutes long; and one mistake would mean they have to start afresh. Now we have studios and have it so much easier and it’s incredible that they did some of the things that we can’t even do digitally in 2018.
Macheso really inspires me because his music made sense and it was motivational. I probably listen to their music from an artist’s point of view. People ask me why my music is so different and that’s because I don’t sample any artist that’s not from Zimbabwe, I get melodies from our own artists, the Tukus and Machesos. I wish more people would sample Zimbabwean music and if we did that more, we would be able to develop our own sound over time
With international artists it really depends on a time and season because I enjoy listening to a lot of artists. In Africa I am inspired by Wizkid, just the way he handles his brand; the fact he’s got a strong team and that he started from nothing but he’s doing so well now. I respect that, the same goes for Drake as well.
There’s going to be so much going on, all I need is sponsors. I have so many ideas that just need funding. I will say though, that I want to drop a song for my birthday with an international feature and I believe that I can do that. I want do more visuals and more shows. I want to go on a world tour
Advice to my younger self
I would tell my younger self to be patient and understand that there are seasons. At some point I had given up in a way because I thought my time was up as a lot of the people I look up to made it when they were really young and I only made it much later.
Photographer: Takunda Chipara
Stylist: Tafadzwa Makoni