The Sunday Mail
IT has been several months since Chipaz Promotions staged a major gig in the country. Their flyers and posters that plastered walls and trees in all major cities and towns, from Harare to Beitbridge, have disappeared.
The owner and face of the company, Partson Chimbodza aka Chipaz, has retreated into a cocoon of sorts, and The Sunday Mail Leisure Editor Mtandazo Dube had a chat with him at his workshop in the Southerton Industrial area of Harare where the 43-year-old spends a great deal of time in the company of not celebrities, but automobiles. Read on …
Q: So this is where you are hiding…
A: Not at all, this is our home, the home of the BMW, my first love. This is the place that gave birth to everything else, this is what made it possible for Partson to create Chipaz Promotions, which in turn threw me into the limelight. I love BMW, it is the car I drive because I have been fixing them since 1993.
Q: Are you getting out of music promotion?
A: (laughs). A big no! I have not left music promotions but I had abandoned my core business, which made it possible for the creation of Chipaz Promotions.
I’m a qualified motor mechanic Class One, trained to deal with BMW. I started my own company P & M Motors in 2004, it was the growth of this company, which gave birth to Chipaz Promotions. Because music is followed by many people – it so happened that Chipaz became synonymous with music promotions and showbiz in general.
Q: If you are still promoting music, what are your plans in that line of business?
A: Promotions is a big gamble. It is a risk. We did shows over the years but most of them were losses and I would have to take money from P & M Motors to cover show losses.
Sometimes, which was rare, after a successful show we would also plough back the money. We have realised that artistes usually prefer or are close to a person when they (artistes) are getting the sweeter end of the deal, uchivasimudzira but vasimuka they don’t look back at those that helped them.
At times I would take money meant for spares, my last dollar, to give an artiste thinking that tomorrow they would also help me or treat me as a friend but no, it’s not the case.
After a series of not-so-good shows I realised I needed to strengthen the backbone of Chipaz Promotions so that in the event of a flop I can always pay the “not-so-grateful artistes”.
But I must admit, there are a few who are grateful for what we have done for them, people like my true brother Sulu (Suluman Chimbetu), he knows where we came from and he appreciates.
Q: So you are strengthening yourself financially?
A: Yes. Because in music promotion you need to have a fall-back position. If the gamble does not pay off and you do not have a fall-back position, you are dead. Some promoters have died. Some are nowhere to be seen right now, so I’m concentrating on my garage, which does repair BMW cars not only for my benefit but for the direct and indirect benefit of the arts industry.
I believe in identifying talent and nurturing it. Even though most of them do not appreciate, which we are used to, we will keep on supporting those with talent.
Q: Why did you get into music promotion if it is that unrewarding?
A: It is indeed thankless but I do it for passion, I believe a number of guys do it for the same reasons I do. That is why I am hunting elsewhere right now so that I can go into music and support the artistes.
Car mechanics is where I came from – hence the BMW mechanic Partson is back in the workshop to reenergise the same platform that created Chipaz Promotions. We want to be able to give the upcoming artistes vehicles to use like we did to these artistes who are now on top of the game.
Q: You will support musicians even if they do not appreciate your efforts?
A: I don’t mind. I have my garage, I do a bit of printing on a small-scale, and I run Dandaro Bar and Plaza de Castilla, entertainment joints from which we will continue to groom talent even though they will refuse to play there when they feel they are too big for us and our venues. We will never tire.
Q: A lot of promoters have quit promotions. Some were bankrupted by music promotions. What advice do you have for them?
A: Firstly, to artistes, my boys who sing dancehall, we have not abandoned you as Chipaz Promotions, we are creating a fall-back so that if a show flops we will still be able to pay you. I know that when artistes feel that they have a name, if a show flops, they harass you forgetting that moments ago you were forking out money investing in their teething career.
I want to throw in a shout out to Soul Jah Love there. He may be controversial but he has love. He comes to visit me, check on me to see how I’m doing – it is rare – he is a rare breed.
Now, to fellow promoters, guys let’s try to have fall-back positions in this game because in most cases artistes only “love” you when you are helping them up, once they are big or think they are, they rush to corporates, who were never there in their formative years. You will not even get a phone call from them unless they are in trouble.
However, I urge all those promoting artistes never to give up even ukashainirwa by the artistes just continue to groom more talent and remember to pray because hakuna gwenzi rinokunda kunamata.
Q: Parting shot…
A: Chipaz Promotions (Voudzana Udzana), we are here to stay no matter how hard it gets. Plus ma BMW tirikugadzira, come and have yours fixed today!