Monday 25 June 2012

Brilliantly dumb Roki

Roki in BBA Stargame

There is something of a death wish in Roki - a swing that hangs around him at his most glamorous moments; some recklessness that pulls him down.
At his brightest moment, Roki can be intelligent, brilliant and mature. Those moments are clearly evident in the fact that he scooped the 2003 Nama Best Urban Grooves Artiste award; the
Zima Song of the Year award with Chidzoka and capped it all with Zima Best Video of the Year – again with Chidzoka.
This is the brilliance which earned him a place in Big Brother Africa Stargame where he was a favourite for the money.
But at his lowest moment, Roki can be downright idiotic, immature and a roving boomerang that can exact untold damages.
This too is the idiocy which had him sacked from BBA House thereby blowing chances of taking home US$300 000. 
It does not take one long to feel it. I felt it the first time I met him. It was not for an interview because I was never drawn to interviewing him although I value his talent and has always argued that if he gets a manager, he can be a big star.
I have, however, done two stories about Roki. The first was when he beat up his ex-wife, the mother of his daughter – Sky – Paulina at the East Gate in Harare.
I was passing by when I saw people rushing inside. I also dashed and there was Roki struggling with Paulina. He was shouting at her that their love was over.
The second time was in 2008 when he was arrested in the Avenues in possession of mbanje. Roki was arrested after police raided a flat in the Avenues area following media reports that he had confessed to abusing hard drugs.
At the time, Roki said abusing drugs was his way of life and that he took hard drugs regularly especially before live shows.
Since I loved Roki’s music and believed that if he got a good manager, he would realise his talents fully, I never wanted to interview him.
I have, however, put together various interviews from other sources to show how Roki has this death wish which could also be what led him to act recklessly and get expelled from the Big Brother Africa House Stargame after pushing Maneta too far.
In this 2003 interview below, Roki talks about urban grooves music, his friends, children, love life and background.
When and how did you get into music?
I was born into music. My uncle Kenny of the legendary Bhundu Boys taught me a lot from an early age. When I was eight I started to learn how to produce music. Basically, I can say I have always been in music before I got into the limelight that is in 2002 courtesy of [Delani Makhalima] Galaxy Records.
Who is your best friend?
I have few best friends; these are Leonard, Discord, 23 and Tendai in Australia.
Who is your greatest musician in Zimbabwe and why?
Thomas Mapfumo. No doubt the man is the best in this country because he is a revolutionary musician. His music has the power to change the way people think and that is real music.
Who is your greatest international musician and why?
Michael Jackson because he is the greatest musician of our time.
 Is there any future for urban grooves in Zimbabwe?
My question to that person is: 'Is there any future outside urban grooves? If so, what is it?' Urban grooves is the only future I see.
Do urban grooves make money from sales (CD/tape)?
Some do. I sell some CDs at live shows. The distribution of urban grooves CDs is not organised and a worrying issue. The music is not accessible anywhere and that is why people turn to burning CDs which in turn disadvantages the musicians, At the moment we are working on something to reduce the piracy.
 Is Roki into any other business other than music?
I am into entertainment business. I am a trained stage manager and apart from the business of entertainment, no I am not into any other business.
 Why do you dress like a girl?
 I was born in a family with girls only. If my style is a bit feminine it is because of my upbringing. I don't think I dress like a girl but I think girls are pretty and so am I.
Why did you dump Pauline? Do you think you will ever settle down?
First things first. People should know that Pauline is my first love. We broke up because Pauline and me are opposites. We are like terms and like terms repel, they do not attract. Both of us are musicians; we perform at shows some finish late. I wouldn't want that for a wife. I love and respect Pauline because she is a strong, independent and beautiful woman. I have now settled down and I am married (showing off his ring) to Amanda Enude. She lives here but because she is expecting my baby she has gone kunosungirwa kumusha kwake kuChipinge. She is a simple country girl who is a real African girl with a white skin. Wekumaruzeva chaiye ndowandinoda.
 Is it true that you have a beef with ExQ?
Baba Tray (ExQ) is my boy (hommie). There are people I will never throw away.
How many children do you have in Zimbabwe and abroad?
Sky is my first child and she is one year eight months. I am told of the existence of a Herbert, who is one year and four months old. He is named after my father you know and stays with his mother in South Africa. This is just speculation and I wonder if he is really my child because since he was born I have never seen him. Asi kana zvikawoneka kuti ndewangu handirambi. I intend to make a band filled with my children in 10 years' time. It has always been my dream to have a family like the Jackson family who were into music. There is also a boy named Rockford Josphat who is around and is only three months old and then the one I am expecting with Amanda whom I want to give a name that's like a surname like Josphat Josphat.
 Sei every time uchingoti masongs ako abiwa? Anobiwa sei evamwe asingabiwe?
I am a producer and I have a profession. Sometimes an artist can give an idea but fails to acknowledge it, Ndofefeterwa was mastered by Delani who is a good friend of mine but probably he gave Sunny and it later featured on his album. But I do not care anymore. Masongs aya ndeaMwari kubiwa kana kusabiwa I will always write another one. This industry is one with people with big knives waiting to cut other people's throats. It is survival of the fittest. The best survive.
Who is your source of inspiration?
God, my mother, Zimbabwe, Africa. I am very patriotic; my intentions are to make on 12 million people in my country rather than trying to do that outside like in South Africa where even the resident musicians are struggling.
How do you feel about you being mentioned in the song by Labash -'Kukonzeresa'?
Ko ndiri honzero ka! It's very flattering to have any man sing a song about you. I am thankful that I inspire a lot of people who write a lot of stuff about me.
Confirm that the baby who appears on your video Chidzoka is Sky your baby?
Yes it is Sky. The mother (Pauline) was there.
What advice would you give Sky if any guy breaks her heart?
Be strong like your mother (Pauline).
On the song Chidzoka were you singing for your former wife Pauline to come back?
 I was not singing for Pauline. I worked on that album way before we had broken up. The media blew my relationship with Pauline out of proportion. Pauline and I love each other. In as much as I am a public figure, the press, the world and my relatives need to stay the hell out of my life as well as Pauline's. That is my private life, People should stop giving advice because they don't know what really happened, Pauline and me talk all the time and we have never stopped talking. I have helped her produce some of her songs and we have worked together on some of Mafriq's songs.
Is it true that you wrote the song Ndokutevera by ExQ? 
No, ExQ wrote that song. It's Chucky who wrote that, he does not like urban grooves.
 Tell us about the feud with Nitready Studios?
There is no feud. Nitready and me we talk, tiri tight. Hazvina mari zvamafeud izvi.
What is your recipe to your well-polished videos, especially Chidzoka?
It is hard work, creativity and crew. Most importantly I offer my thanks to Bingo.
What is your comment that there is a dark side to urban grooves that is shown when they perform at shows? Do they live a wild and dirty life?
In this industry of entertainment a lot of what people see is make-believe. It is poli-tricks. At live shows topefomera vanhu vakadhakwa. They will be wild so we give them what they want. I am wild and it's nice. What do you expect, I went to a boys' school.

And in this interview, Roki is his other self

An hour with Rockford Josphat is like a day or even more. At the first instance he seems a rogue and appears spoilt, yet he is an intelligent young man. 
He takes your mind onto a psychological journey that leaves you hating him, but he has this charming ability that cannot be matched by many of his peers. When this reporter called Roki, he was first quizzed on his mission and given examples of the types of journalists he did not entertain, something that he later apologised for.
We met Roki at his house along Washington Avenue, Waterfalls, where he was relaxing with five friends. He stays with his new wife Melody “Chocolate” Musekiwa and their baby —this should be child number six for Roki, or at least. The house incorporates the studio where he has been doing his studio work and assisting other upcoming musicians. When we met he made sure he made it clear that our photographer knew he would receive a thorough hiding if he took any pictures.
“Chimbomirai kuita dzungu mudhara. Tinokuchayai mukangodaro. (Do not rush. We will beat you up if you do that),” he threatened. But he eventually opened up. “This is where I stay with my wife and child. Most of these youths hang around here doing music and other things that have to do with music, not street kids like what you guys report. “All along when I have been off the limelight this is where I have been. By the time I wake up there would be at least one artiste waiting for me so that we can start making music. That is my lifestyle.
“You know, I have come a long way and I have worked so hard on numerous projects with my friends but I have achieved nothing. That is why I decided to do my own thing now. Very soon you will be hearing bombshells from here.” In his speech he portrays a great degree of bitterness and he says it is because people do not appreciate the kind of person he is. He says even his friends forsake him after he would have done a lot for them.
Roki gave an example of a scenario where he was forcibly made to release his shareholding in a studio project that he had done with Edie “Nitredy” Dhliwayo. “Some guy just came and all of a sudden things changed and I had to sell my shares,” said Roki. Nitredy confirmed they had part ways with Roki but said the development was mainly because the young musician lacked discipline. But Roki believes people fail to understand him.
“I know sometimes I am insensitive and most people do not like that side of me but that is who I am. “Most of the people in this industry are double-faced so we have to be careful. You will even see one of them lying on my bed pretending to be my friend but as soon as they leave this place all that changes.” As confused and misdirected as he might appear, Roki or Baba Sky as he likes to be called is arguably one of the best artists to emerge from the urban grooves revolution.
He has written and produced a number of hits over the years and says he is soon going to release something even bigger. He also is bitter about the reluctance by various stakeholders in the music industry to embrace technological advancements. “CDs are damn expensive to make and they carry just a few tracks which are all going to be uploaded onto iTunes for free. You can imagine the huge sums of money we fork out to come up with these projects.
“I am working on creating a website where I can sell my music. If I can get US$0.10 for each download that’s better,” said Roki. He said he has lost faith in CDs and said he does not see reason for people to get into the streets with batons chasing after CD vendors who are just a small part of the problem.
“Downloading music onto a computer and uploading it onto iTunes and other sites for free is where the problem is. This is about syndicates of information technology experts and till we stop relying on CDs that cannot be encrypted we will remain poor.” - The Standard

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