Thursday 18 October 2012

Selmor's talents overshadowed by dad's success

With  her father still on the scene, Selmor Mtukudzi's music career appears to be hidden in her dad's fame and popularity. Although she has released her own albums, Selmor cannot be counted as one of Zim's shining examples. This does not mean that she can't sing well but that with such a dad, breaking in is not easy.   

In 2004, I followed Selmor Mtukudzi to a golf-course in Hatfield. At the time, she was backed by Phillip Svosve’s Jabavu Drive. It was long before she met, fell in love and married Zexie Manatsa’s son, Tendai. 

At the time, Selmour was a tall, dark, thin girl unlike today when she has blossomed into a real African woman. She is a mother to three children.

Apart from being a grown woman, Selmor now sings together with her husband, Tendai and they have released solo and duets among them Kudzoka KwaBaba and Shungu.

Below is my 2004 interview at Hatfield golf course club which ran in the Southern Times

Mtukudzi’s daughter storms the music scene

She is tall, slim, dark in complexion and boasts of a voice that go far just like her father’s. 

Her stage act is not exactly like her father’s because she does jazz while the father is into a distinct Zimbabwean beat known as katekwe.

This is Oliver Mtukudzi’s 21-year-old daughter, Selmor who fronts for the Zimbabwean Jazz outfit, Jabavu Drive.

Ironically, Selmor is the daughter whose father never thought would grow up to take after him but not exactly like him.

 “Dad used to think and say that Samson would grow up to be a musician. He never real thought that I would be a musician,” said Selmour when I caught up with her during one of her performance at an up-market golf club in Harare recently.

 “Maybe, I showed interest in music at a late stage,” she said.

Selmor, who was born in Harare, attended primary schools in Highfield before going to do her secondary education at Sandringham School in Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe.

Selmor is the third born while Samson is Mtukudzi’s only son who attends Prince Edward School in Harare where he is a guitarist with the school’s popular jazz band. 

The Prince Edward Band has so far shared the stage with popular South African music stars such as the regal eagle Jabu Khanyile, Judith Sephuma among others.

The other two daughters, Sandra and Samantha have not yet taken their singing talents into full bloom. 

In Selmour case, whether she showed her interest in music late, the reality is that she has a very promising career in music for she is determined to go all the way.

 “Music is my full time job. Whenever it calls, I will answer,” she said, her eyes focused in the future.

 “I have enough songs to compile my own album. In fact, I had hoped to record my first album end of this year but I guess I am not ready yet and would like to explore a bit more before I do so,” she revealed.

Because of her busy schedule, Selmor has moved from the family Norton home to Harare in order to meet the demands of practicing and fulfill the schedules that sometimes sees them performing five shows a week.

But if her schedule seems to be overladen today, her childhood was not any better.

Selmor’s mother, Melody Murape separated from Oliver when she was a small girl. As a result, she found herself moving back and forth so that she could live with both parents.

She spent much of her childhood with her father in Harare before moving to Banket (a small farming town in the north west of Harare) to stay with her mother while doing Grade six and seven.

Some time before moving to Banket, she landed an acting role in a Zimbabwean feature film, I am the Future that dealt with the plight of street kids. In the film, Selmour was the leader of the street kids.

“I do not know why but dad had me on the film,” said Selmor. “I had just returned home from school when I was told that dad was coming to take me to town.

“When he came, we went to the studio where backtracks were being played. I was asked if I could put words to the instrumentation. I said that I could and I did.”

Although the film, I am the Future, directed by Godwin Mawuru who is the executive director of Zimbabwe’s first soap Studio 263, was not a box office hit, it opened a bright horizon for young Selmor who was to find another role in a television drama as a friend to an ill-treated orphaned girl.

 When she enrolled at Sandringham, a distant away from Harare, Selmor took a break from active acting.
She came back in 2002 and landed at Zimbabwe’s premier jazz club, Jazz 105.

 “One of Tanga wekwa Sando’s backing vocalists had left and I was called up to replace her. I had only one day to practice with the band before appearing on stage at Jazz 105 the next day,” said Selmor who added that she never had stage frights.

Tanga wekwa Sando is one of Zimbabwe’s great township musicians.

But it was to be a short stint.

 “One day I heard that Jabavu Drive was looking for a vocalist. I applied for the job and went for auditions. And here I am today,” she shrugged her shoulders.

Today, she has taken Jabavu Drive an extra mile since the group plays at functions and reputable hotels such as Cresta Msasa and Sheraton Hotel in Harare where they play for diners.

Her sister Sandra who is now in South Africa was once Jabavu Drive’s promotions manageress.

While she said that her father had much to do with what she is today, she also attributes part of it to nature.

“I liked jazz naturally. My favourite artists are Miriam Makeba, Judith Sephuma, and Dorothy Masuka among others. My mother used to play Makeba and Masuka’s songs when I was a child. Somehow, I grew to like jazz music,” she revealed.

During her shows, Selmor plays copyright staff originally done by the Hurricanes too.

“My mother liked the Hurricane very much,” she recalled.

But what about her father’s music?

“Oh, that. I listen to his music. In fact, we used to sing with him at home. He inspires me in a big way.”
And his success, how does she take it?

 “Well, my father is a personal friend of mine. He is now a very successful man but to us he is just a father, an ordinary man in the home. He lectures to me about the dangers of being a woman in music. He tells me to be careful with whatever I do,” said Selmor.

“Of course, I am very proud of him.”

Then where to from Jabavu Drive?

"I hope to compose more songs, record them and maybe have my own group,” she said her eyes gleaming with determination.

Interview with Tendai on

One of Zimbabwe’s hottest celeb couples, Tendai Manatsa and Selmor Mtukudzi, is currently working on a duet album as the two lovebirds strive to break the ice, and make it on the local and international music scenes.

In an interview with ZimboJam, Manatsa expressed optimism that the album will be a hit.

“We have started working on our second album which will consist of duets done by me and my wife, Selmor.”

“We keep moving on because of dreams. My story and Selmor’s are almost the same. We were brought up in musical families in which our fathers- Zexie Manatsa and Oliver Mtukudzi became big names in the industry. 

"We are always being compared to them. We just want to make it on our own,” said Manatsa.

The two singers launched their debut albums early this year. They have been holding shows around the country but mainly in Harare.

Videos of their title songs- Kudzoka Kwababa and Shungu were also released in April this year, but have not yet received airplay on TV.

“We decided to work together on a duet album because we all play with one band and back each other when performing. This somehow affected our music to be sort of the same.”

“We love music and have a lot of support that keeps us going. My music has been influenced by my father and Selmor’s by her father too.”

“We now have more experience, and that is a very good development. I hope it will have a positive effect on the album to come,” said Manatsa
“Airplay for our first albums is good though album sales are not that impressive. I think people have no money.”

“However, we can’t complain. People love our music. We have been enjoying every moment. I hope sooner or later, things will shape up,” he said.

Manatsa added they usually perform once a week as they are in the process of building a fan base and need to maintain consistency in public appearances.

On how it was working with his wife in such a fast paced industry he said: “As a couple in music, we are working fine and it seems we work well together because we understand each other best.”

Posted on June 24, 2011 by Admin1 Source:
Tendai Manatsa and Selmor Mtukudzi have launched their joint project, an album titled “Live”. 

The couple also unveiled the accompanying DVD to the album.

“Live” is a 14-track album which carries renditions of a few all-time classics by the two musicians’ fathers, Oliver Mtukudzi and Zexie Manatsa, which the couple remixed in their own unique way.

Selmor did her father’s two songs, “Svovi Yangu” and “Mutserendende”, dedicating the former to her husband Tendai, while the latter was revisited after the two realised that their fans liked the song whenever they performed.

Tendai, on the other hand, chose some of his father’s popular hits like “Chipo Chiroorwa” and “Chivaraidze” which he played with an uncanny resemblance to his father’s original versions. 

Fans will not help wondering whether it was not the older Manatsa singing judging by the way that Tendai’s voice sounds like his father’s.

The rest of the tracks are original compositions carried on the couple’s albums, “Chiro” by Selmor and “Kudzoka Kwababa” by Tendai.

The video includes one of Zexie Manatsa’s comic gems, “Tea Hobvu”, which features the old Manatsa together with his son Tendai and daughter-in-law Selmor.

“We decided to call the album and DVD ‘Live’ because we wanted to share our musical experiences with our fans since music in the studio sounds different from live performances,” Tendai said.

He said he decided to re-do his father’s songs on the album because these were some of the hits that endeared his father to his fans and wanted to revive those yesteryear memories at the same time giving the music a new and novel angle.

The Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Cde Webster Shamu, who is also the patron of the Zimbabwe Union of Musicians, was the guest of honour at the launch which was graced the two musicians’ parents and various fellow artistes.

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