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The KEEN man behind Jah Prayzah

By Lastword Musekiwa / Published on Friday, 23 Dec 2016 14:06 PM / No Comments / 1943 views

23 December 2016

Keen
Keen

Behind every successful celebrity there is a manager who has the daunting task of running the celebrity’s affairs out of the limelight.

In most cases such people remain unknown to the public and let their works speak out through the artistes they manage.

KEEN MUSHAPAIDZE (KM) is one such example, who has been managing Jah Prayzah for about two years.

He has managed to make his brand (JP) stand out not only in Zimbabwe but across the continent.

Our Entertainment Reporter LASTWORD MUSEKIWA (LM) chilled with the 25-year-old and got to find out what the man is all about. Read on…

LM: Briefly tell me about yourself. Who is Keen?

KM: Keen is a 25 year old young man who is very jovial, fun loving, creative in
thinking. I come from a family of three siblings and I’m the first born.

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I did my primary school at Moffat and high school at Mazowe Boys and did my degree at University of Zimbabwe.

LM: Single or married?

KM: I’m single but in a serious relationship.

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LM: How did you end up managing Jah Prayzah?

KM: It’s a long story, we have always been close with JP. We are cousins, our mothers are sisters. When he started his music career I was still in high school but when he started to be recognised as a musician I was in college then.

When I was in my last year, he came to me and said I want to start an
office and professionalise my business and see how it goes and he said he
wants me to be in charge.

So since I was still in school I was skeptical about taking the offer but he convinced me saying you can come and study here at the office, it was tough but I couldn’t say no.

We started then and I was the public relations manager under Mother Fildah who was the manager then.

A few months after graduation I was called by a local bank I had done my attachment with and they offered me a job and things got a bit hectic shuffling my formal job and working for JP as well. After my contract had expired before I renewed it JP told me that he wanted me full time here so I then decided not to renew it and that’s when I joined JP full time. That’s how I started here and when there was a fallout with Mother Fildah that’s when JP appointed me.

LM: What does your job entail?

KM: It’s just the same as any other manager out there. It’s about spearheading
strategies and making goals, what does the artiste want to be in the next 5 or
10 years. Planning and coming up with strategies and making sure that
everyone implements those strategies because it’s not just me, him and the
band but the whole admin team. I also make sure that the upkeep of the staff is
taken care of, making sure that salaries are paid and stuff like that.

LM: When you started with JP did you have certain targets?

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KM: Of course, his dream was to be internationally recognized and as the manager
I had to make that a goal. We are happy that right now we can speak positively
about it, we are not there yet where we really want to be but we are making
progressive steps.

LM: Where do you really want to be?

KM: To be the JayZs obviously. We want a situation where you go to China and
you say JP and everyone will be like yeah I know that song. We still have a
long way to go but those are our targets.

LM: Your peak and lowest points?

KM: I’m yet to experience both! Honestly I experience a new peak every day. As I’ve said we still have a long way to go, so every day is different from the previous.

LM: As artiste managers do you have some sort of a hub where you can meet and
deliberate on ways to improve your brands or you do your things alone?

KM: We don’t have a hub but from my side I’m very open for meetings and
sharing knowledge with others. I believe success is better shared than when
you are on your own. We are open to relationships with other managers and
artistes because we believe that is how our music can be recognized outside of
Zimbabwe when they see us rise as a whole not just JP on his own.

LM: Zim dancehall or Sungura?

KM: Zim dancehall

LM: Caps United or Dynamos?

KM: NdirimuDembare ever since I started knowing soccer!

LM: Casual or formal clothes?

KM: Both! I’m a fan of casual but most people say I look good in formal.

LM: Collaborating with regional artistes, how has that improved your brand?

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KM: It has significantly improved because through such collaborations you get to
penetrate into different markets. For example now if we are to have a concert
in Tanzania, we can get people coming even in the absence of Diamond
Platnumz so yeah the collaborations spearhead the growth of the brand.

LM: Do you have plans to do collaborations with artistes outside of Africa?

KM: Of course because we wish to be played globally. There are positive steps
towards that but we are not saying we will base our international recognition
through collaborations.

LM: Who decides on which, when and what project to do? You or JP?

keen

KM: It’s more than the two of us! We have an admin panel here, JP is the face of
the brand but there is a whole team. We sit down and deliberate and come up with ideas backed by everyone. To be more creative we don’t have a specific person that we say is the one who decides for the stable.

LM: Can an artiste do without a manager?

KM: It’s very possible, but it depends on the dreams of the artiste. Some may just
want to sing and get their music played on radio and that’s it, but if you want
to make music a career you will need a manager. It’s hard to manage yourself
and create the music at the same, you will end up distorting your music
creation because you will be chasing many things like bookings, planning
interviews and so on. So it will be difficult to do.

LM: In terms of collaborations, who is your next target?

KM: We are not targeting anyone. Our main drive is to continue making JP music,
if we bump into an artiste that we can blend well with, we can always make
something. Fortunately we do have big artistes who are approaching us for a
collaboration, we can’t name them yet because we are still in talks.

LM: Short and long term goals?

KM: For us it’s really simple, we hope to be a recognizable brand in the world. We
would want to even get endorsements from big international companies like
Apple or Samsung. We dream of a time where JP doesn’t have to do 4 shows
per week but maybe just once and he will still have other business interests to
cater for his wellbeing.

LM: Are you open to anyone that comes and say let’s do a collabo?

KM: We look at how we can blend together with our music and also the value the
collaboration can give to us. There are big artistes out there but if their sound doesn’t blend with ours we then turn down the offer.

LM: Ever turned down any other artistes out there?

KM: Yes we have!

LM: Advice to fellow artiste managers?

KM: Perseverance! Things do get tough and hectic because you are managing a
person who is not perfect and is bound to make mistakes. You do have
differences in opinion as you go so you need to be patient and persevere as you work on your goals.