Nqobizitha Mlilo - Music is in my blood
POVO: Tell us about Nqobizitha the musician
NQO: I started my music career in form 3 with a rap group called The snitches. Later, I met Solomon Maramba, who had an idea for animated character, the Underdog, which became a 20 second rap clip which we extended into the first full track 3D video in Zimbabwe. The video got rave reviews on the website ShareCG, with a 5 star ranking. Producer Take 5 then wrote a song for Kevie which he remixed featuring the Untouchables, whose video we integrated as a live action footage for our second music video. My work in music videos connected me to music producers who first approached me on artists’ behalf. It all started off in Bulawayo when a friend with free beats let me rap over some tracks from which I produced the 5 song mixture compilation Control Alt Delete (Available free on: enqoremedia.com). The final EP carries two singles produced by DS and featuring Outspoken, Aura and Synik. The second song, Africa is also produced by DS, featuring Purewood. Other tracks will be produced in Bulawayo by T-Crude and Gwinyai, a Malaysia based producer.
POVO: When should we expect this?
NQO: The video to the Burnt Bridges should be out by August after the ZIFF (Zimbabwe International Film Festival) which will occupy most of my time as I am working on a short animated film. The EP track video This Is It will be shot in the next three weeks. I just need to synchronize everyone’s schedules because the guys who are featuring like Outspoken will be going to perform in Washington and Aura will be going around Africa doing some poetry. ZIFF heard the song and they said that they will put their weight behind it in terms of equipment so it will speed things up and make the budget much lighter. But the EP is next year in January.
POVO: How has the Zimbabwean economy affected you and your work?
NQO: Everyone knows that 2008, was a hand to mouth situation of doing jobs just to pay rent and to survive in the industry. The advent of the GNU ushered in some stability especially in the economy. This has allowed people to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. Even the music videos I did and the bulk of the work done in 2008, even with the hard time life continued.
POVO: If you were in power today what would you change in Zimbabwe?
NQO: I would really just clean up politics because it’s an impediment to progress in the arts industry. My number one objective would be to get people productive again and create a more conducive working environment for artists. When there is less stress about money it’s easier for people to do stuff.
POVO: What would you say to Zimbabweans?
NQO: As a person in an industry that was nonexistent before, it’s a matter of courage and innovation. Animation was an obscure art form when we started off there was no industry for it. If it’s something you want to do then just do it because it’s your passion. I would encourage everyone to diversify. In our Zimbabwean context people are always bred into certain things that people have tried and tested. Just do whatever works, no matter how weird it is.
POVO: What can we expect from the future?
NQO: My mix tape, album and graphic novel will be out next year and available on my site www.enqoremedia.com and is co-written by my friend Muhlenyuwethu Nzima. The story will be online with free chapters available including two documentaries I am working on. One documentary is called Africa Spirited which is about African Myths and Legends with things like Nyami Nyami, Zvigure and things like that. The second documentary is about Zimbabwe Hip Hop of which I am tag teaming with Nakai Matema from ZIFF, who has been producing short films for years. There is also a short film based on Dickson Monroe and one of his slam poetry pieces that will be out in the next three months.