The Sunday News
Rumbidzai Mhlanga, Sunday Life Reporter
FOR Utloanang Valela warmly-known as Fish F Mcswagg being a musician is more of a calling, it started as a hobby and over the years turned to be his full-time job.
The musician started doing music for fun and as a way of passing time at the age of 16 when he was still doing his Ordinary Level at Nkulumane High School, but as time went on, he realised music is what he loves and chose the music career over being an accountant.
“I started doing music in 2011, by then I just recorded for fun, but as time went on, I realised I love music more than everything else. It was in 2015 when I seriously focused on my music hence ended up dropping out of school as after completing my A-level instead of going to university to study accounting I saw myself doing music. I feel like music is a calling for me, I did not choose it but it chose me, I can say that,” said Valela.
“When I started, I was doing hip-hop, in 2016 I figured out my sound which is what I am doing currently. I called it Ndaramu Trap Music. The genre is a fusion of hip-hop and African elements and melodies as well as urban culture. The term Ndaramu stands for my own definition of how I connect with my Sotho, Shona and Ndebele roots and Trap is a term used in modern hip-hop music which is characterised by heavy 808s and snares.”
It took Valela seven years to become visible in the music industry as he was still sharpening his talent.
“It was only last year after the high success of Asaph’s chart-topping and award-winning single Mambo as I featured him on the infectious chorus and bridge that caught the public’s eye. In some way that song paved my way into the industry as we won seven awards including best collaboration and song of the year hence that got me the recognition I wanted,” he said.
“That earned me opportunities of performing at most of the shows in the city with the heavyweights in the music industry. I have performed at several shows and festivals such as Skyz Metro’s first year anniversary bash, Intwasa Arts festival, I also shared the stage with dancehall heavyweight Winky D at Delta’s Gold Blend give-away competitions and with Albert Nyathi.”
Fish said his music is inspired by his surroundings and life experiences. He also shared what he hopes to achieve through his music.
“My music is inspired by natural surroundings, where I grew up, what I have experienced in life and the people I live with and around. I’m greatly inspired by Albert Nyathi, it is the way he managed to become successful in his career but still remained true to himself by embracing culture and roots that motivates me,” he said.
“I hope to bridge the generational gap between the young and old within all the tribes in our country. My music is meant to promote love and change the perspectives of people who think being a cultural person or embracing your roots is backward. My greatest inspiration is love, love for oneself and love for one another. The aim of the music is to inspire people to be proud of who they are and where they are from,” said Fish.
Since last year the musician has released three singles and is working on his first album.
“Since last year I have released there singles namely Ethulini, Ubuntu Free Style and Mbali yami. I have been working on an album which I will be dropping next year titled Oceans of Ndaramu Trap,” he said.
“My future plans are to tour around the world, I believe my sound and music are a symbol of our culture as Zimbabweans hence tours will help me share our culture around the world. What got me here was being myself and being proud of who I am so I urge up-and-coming artistes to do the same, be unique and focus on doing what you can and love,” said Valela.