The enterprising Joseph Kudakwashe Madziyire is a music producer and chief executive of ZimPraise Choir. The talented artiste has transformed the choir into a formidable force in different art forms and he gives credit and glory to Jesus. The Herald Entertainment’s Jonathan Mbiriyamveka (JM) talks to Kudakwashe (KM) on his projects and other issues.
JM: Tell us when and where were you born?
KM: I was born in 1988, in the great City of Kings and Queens (Bulawayo).
JM: You are young and successful; tell us how you were raised?
KM: I grew up in a supportive, loving Christian family where my parents, celebrated and nurtured our various gifts. My formative years as a child were very challenging. I grew up at a time when we had barely enough and we survived from hand-to-mouth.
My father worked very hard to fend for our family as he also ministered to the people doing God’s work. I learnt to be enterprising and to eke a living at a tender age. At some point in time I had to sell freezits which even became a major source of income at home, while I also had to study. This business acumen developed as I grew.
My parents valued education and also believed that education is not the whole journey, but a life skill that equips you with a better appreciation of life.
hese values were instilled in me not only to regard my degree in Creative Arts (Music and Film) as a passport to be an employee but as an asset to be my own boss.
JM: ZimPraise is one of the leading choirs if not the best, how did it all start?
KM: ZimPraise is a brainchild of two people Macdonald “Macdee” Chidavaenzi (who is a ZimPraise trustee) and Joseph Madziyire. The vision of uniting nations through music for God’s glory gave birth to the interdenominational praise and worship group, ZimPraise in 2006. I owe it to Macdee for setting up the foundations.
JM: Who is your inspiration?
KM: My greatest inspiration is my father; he inspired me to be a man of integrity and a hard worker. He was a farm boy and financial constraints hampered his desire to progress with his education. But his love for God at a tender age saw him rise from a farm boy to being the president of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the country, the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM).
I am also inspired by the tech gurus; Bill Gates, his principle of sharing wealth he has acquired for the benefit of the world. Another tech guru whose legacy still lives on and inspired me in a great way is Steve Jobs. He had focus and was a game-changer.
He proved to his investors that having money does not translate to success if you are not a visionary.
JM: You are the CEO. Tell us how you run the choir?
KM: We have taken a business approach to the brand ZimPraise to ensure that it is sustainable and profitable. ZimPraise has been transformed from being just a choir, into a trust and now a holding company.
Under ZimPraise, I manage a number of subsidiaries that include the ZimPraise Music Company that majors in music production, marketing and distribution. There is also ZimPraise Acoustics for musical instruments hiring; the Academy of Creative arts and several more in the pipeline.
JM: How many albums and DVDs have you released so far?
KM: ZimPraise produced six projects. Volume 1 and 2 are audio productions directed and produced by Macdonald Chidavaenzi while I was studying in Australia. Then Season 3 Power was the first project I directed and was followed by Season 4 Covenant, Season 5 first ZimPraise women’s project Women of Praise and Season 6 All about Jesus. All in all we released six albums including three live DVDs.
JM: How do you describe ZimPraise choir and who are the members?
KM: ZimPraise is an interdenominational praise and worship group. It is also an academy for aspiring gospel musicians, already established musicians that seeks to groom and nurture musical talent. Our organisation is also a platform for spiritual upliftment.
JM: Can anyone join the group? What are the requirements?
KM: We celebrate and embrace people who are gifted in dance, song writing, singing and those who are talented in playing any musical instrument.
No one is perfect so we try to groom and mentor them to live a God fearing life. For unity of purpose, vision and goals we strongly uphold our Christian beliefs and the people we recruit should be Christians.
JM: We have heard stories that some people have left the group to form their own groups, what’s your comment?
KM: ZimPraise is an academy where we nurture and provide mentorship. Our goal is not only to minister through praise and worship but also for our members to pursue successful solo careers like the hitmaker Sebastian Magacha, the chart-topper Sharon Manyonganise of the Sungano remix to mention but a few.
Furthermore, we safeguard the ZimPraise image because there are values that form the backbone of ZimPraise which we uphold strongly. Any behaviour that brings ZimPraise into disrepute is not tolerated and some of the people who have left it’s due to indiscipline and misconduct.
JM: It’s not easy to stay at the top, how do you manage to stay out of trouble?
KM: I live my life, I know sometimes it’s really hard to stay out of trouble. I don’t focus on trouble, trouble does not stay where it’s not accommodated. What I usually do is I ignore and focus on what God has created me to do.
JM: Your critics say a lot of bad thing about things about you. What is your reaction?
KM: I am a very analytical person, so if its constructive criticism I make sure I address the areas that need to be fixed, but if it’s destructive/negative criticism, I simply ignore.
JM: You have had successful concerts abroad, what is in store for 2014?
KM: This year is going to be bigger and greater. We have increased more local concerts countrywide and one of the main highlights is the World Tour which is earmarked for May.
JM: Who do you give credit for all your achievements?
KM: My father played a critical role in nurturing my talent. I have always had a passion for music and as a child I dreamt of owning a music recording company. My father made that first step of turning my dream into a reality. When I was 15-years-old he purchased home recording equipment. Dr Shana mentored me to be a leader with a global impact and above all God.
JM: You’re still single. Any plans of getting married?
KM: Yes, I am seeing someone.
JM: How would you encourage other aspiring Zimbabwean entrepreneurs?
KM: I will break it down into four things: Do what you love. Passion is the driving force behind every successful business venture.
Dare to dream big, believe in your vision implement it and don’t be discouraged by negative people. I believe a person is a sum total of their thought processes. Where the mind goes the man goes. You can be affected by how you think. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Surround yourself with people who have the necessary mindset to prevail.
Be prepared to take risks. Life for an entrepreneur is not for the faint hearted, your perseverance will get tested again and again. Risks you take will add on to your experience and they help to increase wisdom so you will know what to do and what not to do. You need to be prepared to make significant sacrifices.
Research extensively about the line of business you want to venture into, to have an understanding of the market and the competitors. Be willing to learn go through mentorship. Above all let God be the foundation of your business, He will spiral you to dizzy heights.