The Sunday Mail
There is no joy for artistes as live gigs might not return any time soon.
The Government imposed a 30-day lockdown to control rising Covid-19 infections.
In an industry that largely feeds off crowds, artistes have been crying foul.
Night clubs and bars, including other public gatherings, have remained banned for the past 10 months.
The situation in September and October, when infections markedly dropped, raised hopes that the lockdown would be further relaxed to allow musical shows to resume.
But a resurgence of the disease has put paid to these premature expectations.
Winky D’ s manager Jonathan Banda said Covid-19 was a huge setback.
“Lockdown is the way to go because our lives matter most, and in this situation, as artistes, we need to cast our feelings aside; in fact, how we feel is not important,” he said.
“This is the time to be focusing on fresh ideas, because eventually all this will come to pass and we will be back on stage, but in the meantime, we have to survive on other hustles.”
Last year, most artistes were forced to resort to digital shows.
Allan and Suluman Chimbetu, Mambo Dhuterere, Freeman, among others, even launched their albums virtually.
However, Banda said digital shows are more expensive to set, which makes it prohibitive for most artistes.
Multi award-winning pop singer Gemma Griffiths said lives were important than livelihoods.
The “Titungamire” singer, who rose to fame following her “Mugarden” collaboration with Winky D, feels the lockdown is a time for artistes to experiment on new digital techniques to survive.
“This is time to device new norms and tools to improve the future of art in the sector,” she said.
“Live shows had to be cancelled and for me it is heartbreaking; it actually reminds me of a show I had with Winky D as a guest at HICC. It was awesome watching the crowd go wild as I jumped on stage.”
There is a lot of uncertainty on when life will return to normalcy.
Gemma said artistes had to fight to remain relevant.
Nutty O — real name Carrington Chiwadzwa — feels it is time for artistes to consider leveraging on online shows.
The former Military Touch Movement member, who is currently riding high on dancehall charts, said there was need to make the most out of the new normal.
“Covid-19 comes with both the good and bad, but we obviously have to look at the bright side and for me, this is the time for us to up our game in terms of quality,” he said.
“Now we need to create international standard content because with the digital stage, anyone in the world can access your content, which also comes with a lot of visibility and opportunities.”
The youthful chanter’s collaboration with Gemma Griffiths and Poptain saw him become one of the most sought-after artistes.
Mbeu and the Mhodzi tribe manager Eugene Museredza said while online shows are a viable alternative under the circumstances, they couldn’t help all artistes.
Apart from costly data, it is believed that most people prefer live shows to online performances.
“Most people do not appreciate the level of stress that artistes are going through right now, and if not properly managed, some are slowly drowning into depression.
“The Government should do something about this; they should come up with some packages or loans to rescue artistes.”
Gospel artiste Melody Kanguru launched her single titled “More Lord” virtually in April last year and the project was well-received.
She reckons the online pulpit won her international fans and opportunities, hence it is the best way to
“Most people did not know me but after releasing a single online, things have changed because the platform gives everyone a chance to be seen compared with live shows, which in some cases can flop,” she said.
“This is the time for artistes, even the older guys in the trade, to consider migrating to the digital stage.
“I know we cannot compare it to live shows because obvious live audiences have some special effect, but its a fact that this is the way to go.”
Guspy Warrior, born Emmanuel to legendary gospel artiste Mechanic and Helena Manyeruke, says Covid-19 has affected both his career and personal life.
Apart from struggling to provide for his family, he had to shelve his side-hustle because he still needed more finances to get the projects rolling.
“I feel hard done because I was in the process of setting up my side business, but there is no choice because lives matter most.
“I had to temporarily suspend everything because without shows, I have nowhere to get the money and online gigs are expensive, which places us in a difficult situation considering that its the only way to go in this situation,” said Guspy.
Dancehall crooner Celcius — real name Tafadzwa Mwandira — urged artistes to adopt digital shows for them to remain relevant in both the local and international circles.
“The idea of going digital is actually long overdue, but obviously it comes with a huge price because you know change is not easy,” he said.
The Norton-bred singer, however, feels online shows are less rewarding.