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REFRESHING ZIMBABWEAN SOUNDS – Focus on Mellow Creme (written by Taku Chiwanza)

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Zimbabwe is one of the many African countries that is consistently producing amazing music talent. One cannot afford to ignore the immense talent coming out of Zimbabwe.

One such talent is Afro Hip-Hop artist Mellow Creme, who is based in the capital Harare. His artistic prowess manifests itself in different forms – he is also an illustrator, poet and creative director. His content is mainly premised on that thing we call love and the ever-important Pan-Africanism.

An album titled Mellow Madness was his debut, in 2016, followed by a mixtape called Mellowdramatic Vol. 1 in 2017. In 2018, he released an album called Theory of Nakedivity. His poetry abilities are not ordinary, and to him every artistic work matters a lot. His vocals complement his content in extraordinary ways that bring his messages to the fore clearly.

Mellow Creme has performed at the (HIFA) Harare International Festival of Arts (2018). He also hosts listening sessions with the British Council. His content from The Theory of Nakedivity challenged the notions that the alpha male must be insensitive to his feelings and must bottle his emotions up. He hopes the year 2020 will be favourable to him as he is keen on delivering impressive collaborations.

This author, (Taku Chiwanza – TC) had a chance to ask Mellow Creme (MC) a few questions regarding his craft, and the direction his work is taking.

TC: What inspires you to defy the societal notion that alpha males have to bottle their emotions inside?

MC: Mental illness is real and is high amongst African men. Tradition raised us to *man up* and not admit when we are hurt or when we are in love. When you don’t release tension you get anxiety and depression. As a society we need to evolve and move forward. We all cry we all feel pain, anxiety and we all have depressive moments in our lives.

TC: Where do you see your fusion of hip hop with tradition elements going? Would it be ideal for the industry if others into hip hop follow the same route?

MC: My fusion with traditional sounds was a natural progression as I was seeking an identity that separates me from my international competition. Hip hop has its roots in Africa and the first rappers were praise singers in our villages. The elements don’t need to change but the packaging has to be from Africa and made in Africa. The reason why Naija beats and Kenyan or South African stars are so great and global is because though they are urban and modern, they are distinctly from home.

TC: Which artists do you wish to collaborate with in 2020?

MC: In 2020, I’d love to collaborate with Bekezela (Zimbo based in SA) Sho Majozi, Vito, Mokoomba, Shingai of the Noissettes and DJ Zinhle.

TC: Lastly, how was your HIFA 2018 experience and what lessons are there for the industry?

MC: Hifa taught me the power of preparation. Because I have a full time job and my band would practice without me sometimes I learnt to trust them. I learnt to also appreciate sound engineers and their work. Shout out to Ngoni who managed the sound at Cocacola Green. Most of all, HIFA showed me that I need to be content with who I am as an artist. I just need to work harder to reach larger audience. Blessing Chimanga taught me that.

On the lessons, well, don’t follow the crowd. Stick to who you are and be comfortable in your skin.

 

This is an extract from an article by Taku Chiwanza founder @ZimSphere: https://www.facebook.com/zimsphere/posts/1604252856395823?__tn__=K-R

Contributor @AfricanCurators: https://africancurators.co.za/refreshing-zim-sounds-focus-on-mellowcreme/

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