Zimlegends Talks with Alexio Kawara

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Interview by Zimlegends

Article by Elizabeth D.T. Taderera

Alexio Kawara was born in Glen Norah, Harare and studied at Shiri Yedenga Primary school where his love for music was cultivated by his teachers. He then studied at Mazowe High School there he formed a group called Black by Nature with Zivanai Masango. He said they were doing it for fun but they planned to record after school. He told Zimlegends that one is born a musician, it is a God-given talent and he decided to nurture the talent and go professional. When asked if he faced challenges when he wanted to pursue music he said he didn’t as his mother was just quiet about it, she just let him do what he wanted. His first single “Amai”, with three other artists in a group called Guess, was released in 1999. When asked what it was like recording the single he told Zimlegends that before he found Shamiso recording studio, he had gone around looking for something cheap or free and Shamiso was there to help them.

He wrote the song “Amai” to appreciate his mother, as a way to tell her that he loved her. He later went on to record his album called “Usazondisiya” in the year 2000. He said there was not much competition back then as he was one of the pioneers of Urban Grooves music. The songs were very popular. He told Zimlegends that he is grateful to Radio 3 that helped to push their type of music in a society that was deep into Sungura music. Alexio told Zimlegends that some recording studios did not quite accept the Urban Grooves genre. He added that big record labels were more vested in Sungura and Museve.

Alexio has 6 albums to his name, “Oyi” being the most recent one. When asked about the accolades that he has won, he told Zimlegends that is very good to be appreciated as a musician, and the awards to him meant that people like his songs. He added it gave him hope in the music industry. He told Zimlegends that music is a business and any challenge that affects a business also affects music such as capital, and the other challenge is piracy through the invasion of the digital world as they depend on CD sales.
When he asked about his songwriting experiences he told Zimlegends that he had one song written for him called “Kumba Kwenyu” and that he also had some help in writing some of his songs as sometimes he gets stuck. But he writes most of his own songs. He told Zimlegends that he is inspired by personal experiences, like what he sees and how it has affected him and then he puts it in words. Some songs he just writes, for example, “Chiwhande Whande”. He now has about 20 years of experience in the music industry. When asked about what he thinks of the current upcoming artists he said confidence is building and the industry is growing.

To wrap up he said he has been collecting himself, he is recording some songs that people should be on the lookout for. He doesn’t do mentorship professionally but he just gives pointers to the young artists that approach him, he calls it his side thing. He told Zimlegends that he is not yet sure if his children will follow in his footsteps, though his ten year old plays the mbira. He tells the upcoming artist that “don’t be in the music industry because of peer pressure, be in it because you are passionate about it and then be professional about it”.