The Sunday Mail
WALLACE Chirumiko aka Winky D, who is one of the longest serving and successful Zim dancehall artistes, is one complex subject who has over the years successfully managed to put an impenetrable boundary between his professional and private lives.
By nature, Wallace, who has multiple personalities, among them Ninja President, Gafa and Chi Extra-terrestrial, is largely regarded a recluse and is not willing to openly talk about a lot of things, especially his personal life. In fact, getting an interview with Winky D, not his handlers, has become one of the most difficult things.
Very little is known about Wallace. Much of the details in the public domain pertaining to the musician’s private life is hearsay. The vastly talented dancehall artiste has mastered a tactical way of skirting both media and public scrutiny, in the process making himself an enigma.
However, The Sunday Mail Society recently got the artiste to open up just a bit, not only about his alter ego, but about Wallace as well.
Winky D revealed that Wallace is married, something that has previously only been speculation and that he has a soft spot for Soul Jah Love’s work.
Below, our reporter Prince Mushawevato gets answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Winky D.
Q: Which Zim dancehall artiste or artistes do you think is doing well?
A: Zim dancehall is a genre whose birth, despite being attributed to a lot of factors, dynamics, events and artistes, I feel without bias I have humbly contributed towards. As such, most of the time I am convinced that it could be very difficult for me to pick up personal favourites from the artistes. Most of them see me as a brother and guide at the same time, I personally regard myself as related to all of them, from the old to the new crop. However, it is worth noting that all artistes churning out Zim dancehall tracks and tricks are good in their own way and their energy builds and strengthens the movement in its unique ways, of course, there have been some retrogressive events and elements. There is always a need to forgive and guide the experiments towards constructive delivery. Premised on the fact that Zim dancehall still continues to produce heat in the ears of listeners, I strongly feel if one is good today, or if one is or stands tall in musical prowess within Zim dancehall, it is because he or she stands with the support of those who came before. As such, doing well today is the result of joint efforts by a lot more artistes within the genre. Personally, I have enjoyed working with Soul Jah Love, whom I see as a warrior who has overcome a lot of tribulations, myself, friends or family can relate. His music is also easy on the listener and did not take time to connect with me artistically.
Q: You have over a decade in the music industry, what do you consider to be your major highlights over the period?
A: The major highlights have been the release of my first commercial recording “Ndiri Rasta” in 2004, the first Nama nomination for the album “Igofigo”, my first foreign tour to the United Kingdom in 2009, sharing the stage with top African artistes like Fally Ipupa, Femi Kuti, 2Face at the Africa Unplugged UK at The Wembley Arena in 2012, performing at Big Brother Africa 2012, coming out number one on BBC 1 Xtra-2016 on my earth day, February 1, the waves and euphoria generated by my latest album and all my stage performances.
Q: You are more of a shy person, how do you override that trait on stage?
A: I think Winky D on stage and myself, Wallace, are two different items. One is a character, whilst the other is more of a personality, the ethics that govern both are different. The Winky D on stage, whose force and inspiration I can’t define alone, is a culmination of efforts by a lot of people that range from the fans, producers, band, management, ghetto life. The other guy, Wallace, is just a man, who behaves exactly like any person would, he is rather reserved, maybe an introvert, given the fact that a lot of his dreams could not materialise just like most other ghetto youths, before 25 years of age and, has maybe resorted to keeping it to himself. Watching a clip of Winky D onstage leaves me with a sense that this Winky D belongs to the people more than he belongs to me. I end up feeling that I am just the body that carries a voice and spirit of the people’s aspirations with guidance from the God.
Q: How long does it take you to come up with a new song and do you have a particular composition criteria?
A: Time spent on writing songs depends on levels of meditation on any given song. I have done songs within minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months. I don’t have a criteria for creating music At times I start by just humming melodies and then look for words that can fit, or vice versa. While at times I am inspired by the beats, so basically making music is not limited to any criteria.
Q: Which one of your albums do you rate the best and why?
A: My best album to date is “Gafa Futi”. I have done albums before but personally I feel “Gafa Futi” resonates with a crossover audience and speaks people’s hearts out.
Q: Who do you rate as your best live performer in Zimbabwe and abroad?
A: I can’t say since I’m also a competitor on the best live performer list in Zimbabwe. It’s best I leave it to the people who come to our shows to judge because my answer will definitely carry bias. Internationally, Michael Jackson’s performances are still centuries ahead.
Q: Anything that you wish to see change in the local showbiz industry?
A: I really would love to see an industry emerging out of the local showbiz because as we speak we don’t have proper structures in place to qualify it as an industry.
It’s seldom itinerant and sometimes reactive to whims of individuals or dynamics for which artistes have no control.
Artistes are working very hard only to find themselves with a popularity tag, which is failing to translate into wealth. We are often chasing the popularity tag with no matching success to celebrate in other realms of our social life.
Money now seem to be an illusion that most of us artistes fantasise upon. So as the Gafa I would love to see an environment that is able to turn popularity into something transformative to the artistes and society as a whole.
Q: Are there artiste(s) you do not have good working relations with?
A: Zvedaka mafirumu ekare “Dallas”, from my end. Personally, I don’t have bad relations with any artiste. But since this is a two-way street, others might have bad relations that I don’t have the spine nor energy to reciprocate.
Q: Why are your number of gigs limited?
A: The more time you spend in the industry, the more you discover what works and what doesn’t. This then advises standards and regulations around the sort of performances you can be engaged for. These standards, in some instances pose limitations to being available for any engagement. Every engagement you fulfil or show you perform is marked against your brand and in the long run sustainability of the same. As such, we are available to work, but only upon fulfilment of set requirements.
Q: Do you have a particular strategy for gigs, especially those involving foreign artistes?
A: My strategy is the same for all productions, we treat shows with same respect, be it local or international artistes. We always aim to deliver to the best of our abilities at all gigs.
Q: We understand you do not like to talk about your personal life but your fans want to know if Winky D is married and the kind of assets you have amassed through music.
A: Given the explanation above, I doubt it would be possible to marry Winky D, that is a complex extra-terrestrial being involving too many people. That being can be best married to the masses.
But Wallace is married. With regards to property, I have a few belongings that I have been blessed with, thanks to the fans for all the support, which made it possible. However, the greatest asset I have been able to get has been the reception of the positive message that I relay in my songs by my fans. These have generated significant inspiration and transformation to individuals and society alike. This is the greatest wealth that will sustain me going forward and provide encouragement for upcoming musicians.
Q: What does Winky D do on his private time?
A: I’m not an outgoing person, I like soccer and am a Barcelona and Man City fan. When it comes to food, I like vegetables and fish.