Up close and personal with Mainza Chipenzi – George da Soulchild reports:
He can be remembered as one of the pioneers of contemporary Zambian music, with great vocal skills that not only earned him some fame but combined well with late raga-artiste Anthony Kafunya fondly known as Daddy Zemus in the late 1990s. No sooner had he discovered his magic in music then Mainza Chipenzi explored other different avenues his versatile talent could allow, to currently push him in the corporate world where he is involved in media-related activities.
With only three albums to his record in the last 12 years, Mainza’s best-known songs include Na Bwalya with Joe Chibangu, Untabi Munyu and Ndekufuluka.
He now chats with the Weekend Post in the following interview:
Q. The name Mainza is not new to the entertainment industry but it seems you have been missing. Where are you?
A. (Laughs) I have been around though slightly away from the music. I’m into a lot of things now, I’m doing a lot of commercials through my company called Reboot. It is a company that is basically doing a lot of media-related activities. And there is something I am now passionate about that’s filming, I’m so much into filming commercials, directing this and that..and of course education.
Q. Don’t you miss the music industry and if so what exactly are you missing especially during your prime time?
A. Well, I must say that before our start, you know, me Zemus and all, it was very difficult to break through. Very difficult for your music to be played on radio than it is today, but after the coming of Mondo Music Corporation, things eased up for most of us, as artistes now had proper management. Everything was done by the music label and there were very good incentives for everybody and that is what I miss in the industry. Currently there’s no proper management of artistes. There are no professional management companies to help run music the way it is in other countries like South Africa. I think we lack that filtering system where like the common rule, to ‘separate the boys from the men’. Meaning we need companies that can seriously identify good talent and manage it properly to improve the standards. I actually think there is a lot of talent now but there is a lack of that proper management system which is even reducing the value of an artiste.
Q. Do we see yourself making a comeback into the music industry, and are you actually enjoying what you are doing now?
A. Yes, I am enjoying what I am doing. Actually I am overwhelmed with a lot of work. But to answer your question, I am actually working on something musically because you know it is my passion. I am planning something with Showdown Studios Runell’s studio because I think they are the ones on the ground and know better how we can manage it. I had a problem myself because there was a time when I did everything by myself, but I think in this era you need someone to manage your music and do all the promotion and marketing just like the way we do it when introducing a new brand. I won’t say when my next album is due but I’m definitely working on something.
Q. I’m sure you are in touch with Zambian music. Give me your top three songs at the moment
A. Laughs..I think I like Exile’s song (Come back home) with this new rapper Camster. It is a good song. The other one is Judy’s …I think it is called Waya, I love it and I tell myself, I can do that. And believe me, I love JK’s Akapilipili song, it’s a nice song. Those may be what one might say are all old songs by today’s standards, but I love them.