Kumbie, born Blessing Kumbirai Gandawa is a visual and performing Zimbabwean artist whose work is mostly rooted in Afro-centric cultural representation. When I am not creating art musically, I express it on canvases or murals!
How did you get into music?
From a young age I took an interest in the arts or any form of creative expression. My earliest memory of having a connection to music was through dance. I signed up for ballet classes when I was 7 and this taught me that sound can be expressed through movement. This connection led me to gravitate towards different types of music in relation to dance. From then I just loved everything about music.
Who has been responsible for nurturing your music talent?
My parents, I have enjoyed music from such a young age, and I knew I wanted to pursue some kind of musical hobby. When I was 16, I signed up to learn how to play bass guitar for the church youth band, which for a girl it’s not common to take interest in the bass guitar. However, my parents were so supportive, they gifted me my very first guitar. I remember just being so absorbed in it, I would practice every day. I would look up videos online, and I would teach myself several techniques. During this time, I began to secretly compose and write my own songs in my bedroom. I would never share any of my music publicly. Only to a few close friends who would always encourage me to share my talent.
What was it like working with Pro Sounds on your latest project?
Working with Pro Sounds was such a great experience. I had never publicly performed any of the songs I wrote or even recorded any of my vocals before. Everything was so new to me, but he really helped me identify my sound and matched it perfectly with instrumentals. Within 7 hours we had made a track, even though we were continents apart!
How would you describe your style of music?
As an upcoming artist I would say I am still learning and discovering my musical abilities. However, I gravitate towards more soulful sounds in the Afro-jazz genre.
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
Definitely expect more music and art. I’m always pushing myself creatively and I take on a new artistic project every month.
What inspired your latest song, Johnny Walker?
Johnny Walker was a result of quarantine boredom! I finally gained enough courage to record something since social distancing was giving me a lot of time on my hands. I decided to push myself to make a fun light-hearted track during the quarantine.
What made you go the Amapiano route with your music and how has it been received so far?
The southern African wave of Amapiano genre morphs perfectly into different forms of music. It can fit in an upbeat dance atmosphere, as well as a relaxed setting. It’s music for any mood!
How did the John Cole choreographed #JohnnyWalkerChallenge come about?
Since the track Johnny Walker was birthed in a gloomy time of the Covid-19 pandemic, dance challenges are a perfect remedy and distraction from the global distress. I thought what better to introduce this track than to have a choreographed challenge for talented dancers to participate in! Perhaps it was my childhood connection of music with dance that played a role in it too!
What are the top 5 songs in your playlist right now and why them?
Aymos Shili – Pesheya (His voice is very soulful, and the song has a nice melody)
Snoh Aalegra – Home (Her rich and vibrant voice in this track is amazing)
Chronixx – Same Prayer (This track carries a strong positive message of hope in prayer especially in this time of Covid-19)
Mile – Hotlines (Mile is one of the best Zimbabwean lyricists. This is a song I play when I work out. I feel bossed up when i listen to this track lol)
Poptain- Munhu WeNyama (This is a very good song and Poptain’s vocal ability is amazing)
What is the best advice you can offer other upcoming artists?
I would say first create something that makes you happy before anyone else. Don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve what is expected. Share your gift in a way that does not cause harm to you because your talent is your biggest asset.
How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a visual and performing artist whose work shared a message of positivity.
Facebook: Blessing Kumbie