Andy Muridzo: I’m a copycat

Andy Muridzo does not deny that he is Jah
Prayzah’s copycat. In fact, he gives the
example of how Tongai Moyo became
successful despite setting off in Leonard
Dembo’s footsteps to justify his position.
After all, he does not need any justification
because he is just doing what Jah Prayzah
taught him. He was groomed; he is following
his mentor’s footsteps and does not
apologise for having a similar beat.
Muridzo takes pride in assisting his brother
in putting Uzumba on the music map. Both
musicians grew up in Uzumba. They both
attended Mushanhi Secondary School and Jah
Prayzah’s music teacher Mupa Musimbe was
also the one who noticed talent in the
“Dherira” singer and came up with the name
Andy Muridzo. The young musician’s real
name is Andrew Ngwenya, but Musimbe
jokingly named him Muridzo (whistle) because
the singer would express his excitement
through whistling at school gatherings.
On his song “Tungamira Tiende”, Muridzo
actually salutes Jah Prayzah and boasts that
they will both go far and they will remain
united as brothers. He sings about how a
combination between a soldier (Jah Prayzah)
and officer (Muridzo) is unbeatable.
However, now that his mentor has shifted
from his original beat in an attempt to
appeal to a different audience, Muridzo finds
himself automatically falling into the gap
that Jah Prayzah is apparently creating.
While Jah Prayzah’s latest album “Mudhara
Vachauya” limits the musician’s trademark
traditional beat, Muridzo’s second album
“Ngarizhambe” maintains the mbira feel that
made his mentor popular.
And Muridzo is gaining ground because Jah
Prayzah’s album has been received with
mixed feelings. His fans that enjoyed
traditional music seem to have found solace
in Muridzo’s music that is spiced with mbira
vibes.
Although Muridzo’s album was launched in
March, it did not attract attention
immediately because music fans were still
looking up to Jah Prayzah for the unique
contemporary music style that he originated.
As it turned out that Jah Prayzah has other
plans with his music, Muridzo’s songs are
fast gaining popularity and the album
“Ngarizhambe” is gradually stealing the
hearts of music followers with songs like
“Haungatikoromotse”, “Dherira”, “Chidhafu
Dhunda” and “Handirambe” making an
impact.
He might still be far from Jah Prayzah in
terms of attracting crowds at live shows,
but Muridzo has caused a stir on the local
showbiz scene. However, the young man
remains humble and still salutes his brother
in the industry. He concurs that his elder has
shifted from his original beat, but says he is
not competing with him. He is merely
complementing him and doing what he was
taught.
Yet this could be a golden opportunity for
Muridzo to make a mark as he is still in the
circle that surrounded Jah Prayzah before
“Mudhara Vachauya”. In an interview on the
sidelines of his show at Club Manucho at
Malvern Shops in Waterfalls on Saturday,
Muridzo said he sees a bright future ahead.
He also emphasised that he owes everything
that he has so far to Jah Prayzah who took
him from the plains of Uzumba to Harare and
taught him how to tread the music path.
He showed this writer his recent WhatsApp
chats with Jah Prayzah in which they agreed
that people are trying to make them fight
and pledge they will forever be brothers. But
it is a fact that they are indeed in direct
competition and Muridzo might win the battle
if Jah Prayzah does not retrace his steps.
“My music is gaining ground and I am happy
people are receiving it well. However, let me
be quick to mention that I am not competing
with Jah Prayzah. He is my brother and I owe
everything to him. I respect his decision to
target an international market. It is
unfortunate that local music followers do not
easily accept such changes and that is why
his album has been received with mixed
feelings,” said Muridzo.
“I will continue doing what he taught me and
I will respect him forever because he has
done a lot for me. He paid all studio expenses
for my first album and I always consult him
when I am doing my work.
“People call me a copycat, but I am not
ashamed because I have always admired Jah
Prayzah and he has had a hand in my music
career so it is not a coincidence that our
beats are similar.”
Muridzo said when Jah Prayzah left Uzumba
to pursue a music career in Harare, he
followed his recordings and whenever they
met in the village, he would express his
interest in music.
After recording “Tsviriyo” and recording
enormous success, Jah Prayzah brought
Muridzo to Harare and they would go to
shows together until the young man
eventually recorded his first album
“Pakubuda Kwezuva” last year.
Muridzo began doing his own shows and came
under criticism as he was labelled Jah
Prayzah’s copycat. The tag did not deter
Muridzo. To show his enthusiasm, he came up
with “Ngarizhambe” that has 15-tracks and
could have been separated into two albums.
Muridzo learnt how to play mbira when he
was still young and he maintains the
traditional beat throughout the album,
making it an alternative to “Mudhara
Vachauya”. His stage performance is
improving and his music is spreading fast.
Muridzo could be the next big thing in
contemporary music.
Source: Herald