Prayersoul inspired to be unique

THE Weekend Post caught up with rising neo-soul musician Prayersoul who is currently enjoying tours outside Zimbabwe, expanding his musical wings. Below are excerpts of the interview the musician had with Entertainment Writer Sharon Muguwu.
Q: Tell us more about Prayersoul, how old are you and what is your full name?
A: My name is Prayer  Donavan Mtamangira and I am 33 years old. I started playing the guitar when I was 17 during my “O” Level break at church. I did not consider myself as a singer then but I was passionate about music.

Q: When did you start music and how? 
A:The church is where it all started and I branched out during my university years. I realised that I had a good voice when I wanted to get a girl and she was playing hard to get. I sang for her and she thought I had a good voice, told her friends and the word spread. My friends then encouraged me to sing and my cousin Lorraine then convinced me saying I could go international, that’s when I seriously thought about it.

Q: How would you describe your music?
A: A lot of people want to refer to my music as neo-soul; and a lot of inspiration comes from neo-soul. These days, I now write songs that sound like soft rock or contemporary R ‘n’ B. I do not really like being confined to one genre because one day I will wake up and decide to do something different.
I love writing about life and love, life is definitely everything really. My music is always positive and at times it is expressive, I also write inspirational songs and happy dance, sing-along type of music.

Q: Do you have other business interests apart from music?
A: Real estate, fashion and TV. I am passionate about fashion and the way I look. I like to consider myself as an all-round entertainer, I MC for events as well. I love being around people and the energy that I get from a crowd and being able to achieve something with it and create memories. I am an entrepreneur as well, I have businesses interests.

Q: What is the most difficult thing you have had to endure in the industry?
A: There is no one place to access all the music and talent that is in the country. A lot of people watch local television yet most people do not. Then comes social media with the advantage of people connecting with their music, celebrities and favourite people. I think it would have been easier if there is a portal that all music goes to, or there are national music awards and everyone has access to them and all people can afford to attend shows. 

It would be nicer if the economy was functioning well and we could shoot our videos here in Zimbabwe. The market is not really big and I would want to go international, if there were about a billion people and the target would be to make it big in Zimbabwe.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with your music?
A: I would like to go global and create a brand that is multi-faceted which is not just about me being a musician but about being a philanthropist with my charity initiative called The Prayersoul Foundation.

Q: How would you describe your own style? What is your target audience?
A: I am an interactive performer; I want to connect with the audience. I want to create a lasting impression. My target audience is anyone who wants to listen to good music and have a great time.

Q: In what ways has your latest music changed from when you first started?
A: My music has more of an African signature because I felt that I needed to have that. My song-writing is a lot better now; I also think that it is going to be more diverse.

Q: Do you have albums?
A: I have one album which was released in 2012 called Prayersoul (self-titled). I have a couple of singles and collaborations, also a live CD that I did as well.

Q: Are you married, do you have children?
A: I have been married for two years now, my wife’s name is Nadine, we do not have any children yet.

Q: What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
A: My dream venue will be to perform at the Madison Square Garden or any one of the O2 theatres in England.

Q: How do you separate yourself from other artists?
A: I do not think I actually do anything to separate myself from other artistes. I do what I think is best and I do not go out of my way to be different, it just comes out.

Q: Who influenced your style?
A: My biggest influence comes from people like musical legend Stevie Wonder.
My earliest influences were Glen Lewis and Musiq SoulChild in terms of the whole neo-soul movement. Then there is Ryan Leslie, Maxwell, India Arie, and Lauryn Hill. I also have African heroes who inspired me to infuse the sound like Jonathan Butler.

Q: What else would you want people to know?
A: I have been touring since 2013. I have been touring Europe, South Africa and I am excited about that. I am looking forward to the second album which will be called Two. I have already done some songs in Germany, I will also do some in South Africa, it will be a very solid project and I am looking forward to that.

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