In Conversation with: Sir Jownz

Sir Jownz

Sir Jownz is a 25-year-old Zimbabwean artist, actor and all-round creative, born Kudakwashe Arnold Shoko Jr. I’m the last born in a family of 3 boys, arts run in the family. A Development Practitioner by profession I graduated in 2018 and currently a project manager and a digital marketer in the making. Very much invested in graphics designing, photography, videography, filmography and sound engineering.

How did you get your name?

There is an original Jones (second born) in our family, and for some reason we all aquatinted ourselves (all siblings) to that name, sibling love, I guess. The older one started to call himself KassyJones, and as a little brother you look up to your brothers hence started calling myself KasJones. Then the name just stuck up to now, I guess. I made modifications to my type of Jones (JOWNZ), and as it turns out through some considerable research, jownz means cool (urban lingo) so I just went with it. NB at the time of modifying it, I had no idea that it meant that.  

Now as for the “Sir” connotation. Back in high school I used to be a very cultural student (debate, public speaking, quiz, entertainment) so colleagues were like this guy deserves to be accorded the name sir, then from there it just stuck.

Where did your passion for music come from?

Growing up, I listened to a lot of music, I found so much solace in it. My brother was a music producer, so I fell in love with his work and that’s how I desired to become a musician.

What was the first song you ever made?

First song I ever made was called Ndiri Muzezuru back in 2006, there and there I can’t quite remember.

How would you describe your style of music?

I would describe my music as primarily rap (hardcore) but with many fusions and I aim to be versatile. I am a bit of a dancehall artist too. It all depends with my inspiration at the time of writing or when an idea strikes me. I’m even thinking of trying out Afro pop and house.

Arnold Shoko Jr

Who are your music influences and who are your acting influences?

Musically, American musicians inspired the rap aspect only. I grew up listening to a lot of them, the likes of Lil Wayne, G Unit, etc. I have evolved since then. It’s funny that my message isn’t inspired by rap artists but the likes of the late Mtukudzi, Chiwoniso & Macheso. I am inspired by someone who makes sense or speaks to me regardless of genre even language in some instances. I found myself even listening to Kizomba at times then google translate to understand. The emotion of the song tells me this is a message worth translating.

In terms of Acting I give that credit to my late father Arnold Z Shoko. He was a ZBC film and drama producer and I emulated his work so much growing up. That’s how my passion for acting grew. Internationally I am inspired by Kevin Hart. His success story is something I can relate to and his career path Is something I wish to achieve.

When did you get into acting and what was your role and what else have you acted in?

I got into acting in 2004, when I got a chance to appear as an extra on Gringo Christmas party. From there I got kudos from other producers that I had it me to be an actor, I guess it’s true what they say that an apple doesn’t fall so far from the tree.

After that I got auditioned for Tiriparwendo (2006) and got a part as an extra then slowly graduated to a bit player, landing a role as Garikai, son to the Chazezesa character. I appeared in several episodes in a period of about 3 years. This has by far been my biggest appearance so far in terms of acting. In 2011, I landed a role in a film called the battle of Sinoia, which was never aired due to many complex political reasons at the time.

Who have been your most memorable people to work with in music, who would you like to work with in the future?

Sir Jownz EP

I have worked with producers such as Success the beatmaker, Real day1 (music and videos), Kalino (JCMC) and Fantan (Chillspot) and all these experiences have been nothing short of magic. I am working with all of them in one way or another on impending projects.

In terms of collaborations I haven’t really tapped into them as I am still trying to find myself. I have had collaborations with dancehall artists back in 2011 and with a resident artist at JCMC and I can term the memorable projects too.

Who is responsible for nurturing your music and acting talents?

As aforesaid, I come from an arts family ergo my older brother nurtured my music career and my father nurtured my acting career.

What kind of music can we expect from your EP Conscientise the Mind?

My music speaks about life. It makes people aware or enlightens them of our day to day life experiences. Also, how to circumvent some situations hence the title conscientise the mind or as we put it in our vernacular, (kungwadza pfungwa kana kuti kuraira).

Some of the themes include the renaissance of Africa, loosing loved ones and love in general.

How did come up with the video concept for your latest single, Ndachema?

The concept was collaborative work of the producer (Real day 1) and me. We did not want to make a video for the sake of just doing it but wanted to depict almost every lyric of the song. A video so lucid that even if one is not Shona can see that it’s a lament song.

The producer did most of the work he’s really talented. I pitched my idea and he put flesh on the skeleton.

What inspired the song?

I lost a loved one in 2014, initially I had written it for my late father but then thought it would be more relatable to a wider audience if I speak about all troubles in life. I have a long ailment history which I recovered from that had stemmed from birth and I feel my story can help someone.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

Sir Jownz

 I will make a list:

1. Show not tell

2. If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way

3. Hard work beats talent

4. If your dreams don’t scare you then they aren’t big enough

What songs mean the most to you?

I would say Changu Chii and Ndine Mubvunzo by Mtukudzi. In terms of Ndine Mubvunzo I am wondering why the things that happen, happen seeking clarity or an understanding of what is this thing called life.

Changu Chii is the same but now I am asking what is it that am cut out to do. What is my stake in life? Will I achieve my goals?

How would you like to be remembered?

When I am gone, I would like to be remembered as the person who gave hope to someone in their trying times. As someone who would strike that 6th sense and get someone to be like woow I never saw it that way, or oooh well it’s not that bad.

Social media

Instagram: @sir_jownz_dimples

Facebook: @sirjownzmusic

Twitter: @sir_jownz

YouTube:  Sir Jownz Official

SoundCloud: Sir Jownz Official

Audio Mack: Sir Jownz Official

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