By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Harare, Zimbabwe – At the launch of her debut album self-titled Introducing Tina, upcoming musician, Tina Watyoka, 23, graced the stage with a cool, confident elegance as she went through her musical repertoire. Dressed in a chic African garb, Watyoka expressed so much vivacity and energy as she swayed up and down the stage, and capped it it all with her soulful voice and punchy lyrics.
Her eight-track album which was produced by veteran musician Clive Mono Mukundu features songs such as Chii, Usapere, Ndakupihwa, True Man, Makamira Neni, Chii Intrumental, True Man Acoustic, and Mari. Watyoka’s music is so precocious it clearly highlights her potential as an artist. Her beat offers a fresh breath, to say the least. It is a blast of youthful energy, freshness, and life with a wave of promise so vibrant it shows Zimbabwe is replete with some raw talent. The album consists of a stew of disparate musical genres that Watyoka describes as mainly pop with a touch of jazz inspired by life, and the people around her.
“Through my music, I’m trying to portray myself as a musician and a wife. I have a dream of being a great performer and for my music to be the voice of voiceless women, girls and children out there. To girls and women, I just want to say do not be held back because you’re female. Whatever you can do in the form of art is what explains who you are, so women in in this industry should hold their heads up high,” said Watyoka, who is married with one kid.
In terms of music, Watyoka who started singing at 17, has been there and done that, singing with some of the best in Zimbabwe, including Busi, Thanda Richardson, Taku Mafika, and Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka, Isaac Chirwa and others.
“It’s not been an easy road. But I’ve learned a lot from the greats. Singing with different bands has allowed me to be on my toes, learning new music all the time. And, as a woman, I have had to face a lot of competition from the guys. The thing is there are a few ladies who have the confidence to be in front of so many people,” she said.
Watyoka, who hails from the bustling town of Chitungwiza said that she started singing in her high school choir but her parents were initially resistant.
“From the beginning my parents did not support me till I started working with Busi. That’s when they started to understand and appreciate my work,” she said.
In 2010, she toured Europe with Taku Mafika and Gary Tight Muponda as part of the International Youth Orchestra, performing in five countries. She also performed at the World Social Forum in Senegal early this year with Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka.
Watyoka is currently enrolled at the Zimbabwe College of Music where she is studying for a National Certificate in Music with the help of the Zimbabwe Jesuit Mission.
“I decided to do this program because an artist without knowledge faces a lot of challenges concerning what’s going on with the music onstage, the audience and many things. This programme also gives you what you need to be a better performer,” she said.