MUSIC: A chip off the old block – Prince Tendai’s son

Prince Tendai Jr. - son of the late Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa
Tendai Jr. – son of the late Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa

From expensive cars and jewellery, to designer apparel and beautiful women on his arm, Tendai Judd Mupfurutsa is his father’s son.

The Afro-soul danceable music he goes for is just like his father’s “Barbed Wire”, only a little better-tuned.

His latest video, according to Prince Tendai Junior, is “an acknowledgment of the beauty of Zimbabwean women”.

Prince Tendai Jr’s destiny preceded him.

Son of musician and entrepreneur Prince Tendai, who died in December 2011, Tendai Jr was exposed to the music industry from a tender age.

“It was a thrilling time for me as a kid. I watched big artistes walk in and out of my dad’s office from the likes of Kanda Bongo Man to the late Andy Brown. Even just watching the whole process from song-writing to recording was inspiring as many times the song would go on to dominate the charts. That experience is a big part of what makes me who I am today,” he says.

A band leader of his high school outfit in London, a young Judd hit the books until he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Middlesex University.

He returned to his “beloved mother country” to pursue his passion for music: “I had to come back home, it was inevitable, there is no place like home.”

Under the guidance of his father, he honed his song-writing skills.

“It had to be right every time, perfect; ‘work work work’ my father would always say to me and I kept that with me to this day.”

Confident that he finally had it right, Prince Tendai Jr released his debut video for the single “Angel”, which he released in November 2013.

“We have to be innovative and do new things all the time, which is our responsibility as artistes. I’m happy with my video and the direction that my music career is taking,” he says.

Prince Tendai Jr says the song is a “classic love story riding on music that is Zimbabwean at heart”.

He also has praise for his producer: “I am blessed to be able to put out my first project with award-winning director Enqore, we are still working on follow-ups that are on the way.”

On comparisons with his father and whether he can live up to that billing, Prince Tendai Jr responds: “I love it, it’s an honour and a challenge and I love challenges because they give me a purpose in life, which is something most artistes don’t have. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Judd admits though, that his father’s shoes are rather big, but he is ready to chart his own course “through giving my best in music”.

Commenting on the bandwagon of up-and-coming musicians who try to emulate their musical parents but fall far short, Prince Tendai Jr says he was lucky because he had a long and rich background in the industry.

“It wasn’t an overnight thing because I was exposed to music at the tender age of five when my father would take me to the studio for his recordings. I also didn’t choose to do music but music chose me. In other words music becomes an obligation because there is a legacy already, which should continue.”

Prince Tendai, known in some circles as Mr Man, was famous for his music, business acumen and sense of fashion.

Backed by Midnight Magic, Prince Tendai churned out several hits over a career that went beyond three decades. His notable albums include “Serious”, which had songs like “From Zambezi to Limpopo”, and the “Midnight Magic” series of which had “Sweet Temptation”, “Amai Tendi”, “Problem” and “African Cowboy”.

As the Midnight Magic dazzled, the album which took the nation by storm – “Uprising” – was released. Its hit single “Character” saw Prince Tendai’s stature grow and he was nominated for a Kora All-Africa Music Award at South Africa’s Sun City in 1996.

There, Prince Tendai rubbed shoulders with giants like Salif Keita, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie, Koffie Olomide and Youssou N’dour.

Will Prince Tendai Jr scale those dizzy heights? We all wait, watch and listen.

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