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Talking “Pastel Painted Skies”, Fatherhood & Zimbabwean Heritage with Brian Nhira

Among many other things, Brian Nhira is a Zimbabwe Achievers Award for Excellence in Music recipient: Picture courtesy of musicmatch.com

There is a quiet confidence about Brian Nhira: an unmistakable aura of coolness. Since his debut on the Emmy Award-winning show “The Voice” not so long ago, the 28-year-old dazzling star has developed into an entertainer we challenge you to try to forget. Not only for Tennessee or America where he lives but for Zimbabwe where his parents hail from.

Though initially shy with a bit of stage fright, Nhira faced his fears and he has never looked back. As a studious student, in numerous music classes and as a member of his high school show choir, Nhira dedicated a significant portion of his teenage years to sharpening his songwriting and vocal skills.

To date, his recent music has charted on the Global Top 100 Pop Songs and his creatively produced videos have racked up over 100 million views, with hit songs “Would You Still Love Me?” and “Til Death Do Us Part,” to name a few.

Off the heels of releasing the “Pastel Painted Skies” EP, #enthuse had a phone interview with the Zimbabwe Achievers Award for Excellence in Music recipient. Among other wide-angled issues discussed were his Zimbabwean heritage, fatherhood, new music, and how he is coping up with 2020.

Here is the full interview. Enjoy!

#enthuse: Hello Brian! It’s such an unbridled honour for us to talk with you on our platform. We can’t trade that for anything. Tell us, how would you like to be referred to as, today and in posterity?

Brian: It’s an honour to have the opportunity to chat you with all! For me, I just want to be known as someone who fulfilled all that God called him to do. In addition to that, I want to be known as a great husband, father, son, brother, and friend!

#enthuse: You recently released the “Pastel Painted Skies” EP, which we love fondly. Can you describe the various influences behind it and what would you say the project is about? A lullaby to the world hoping for a peaceful escapade from this mess we are in, or berceuses for little Zayden Glory?

Brian: The lullaby project was simply inspired by Zayden. As he grows up, I want him to have songs that he can fall asleep to. I really believe that even from a young age, what our children listen to is very important, so all the songs carry content that empowers children to be who God has called them to be.

#enthuse: Can you describe what was going on in your life as you created the EP?

Brian: Zayden has just been born when this album was created, so I was knee-deep in daddy duties. It was just a very inspiring time for me, and I wanted to create a project that was specifically for him.

#enthuse: What are some of the words you despise that have been used to describe your work, what you do by reviewers or critics?

Brian: I don’t really have anything that I despise. I think people are entitled to their own opinion, even about my music. I’m also careful to understand that if I spent all my time thinking about what other people think about my music, that is the time taken away from creating!

#enthuse: If you could choose a career besides what you’re doing now, what would it be?

Brian: I would probably go into sports broadcasting! I love sports!

#enthuse: What craft elements do you think are your strong suits, and what would you like to be better at?

Brian: I want to be a better instrumentalist! I play the piano, but it is something that I am working on getting better at.

#enthuse: How do you contend with the hubris of thinking anyone has or should have any interest in what you do or what you have to say about anything?

Brian: I think humility is really important. For me, I don’t EXPECT anyone to love my music. My sole focus is on putting the message that God has placed in my heart and I know that that message will reach the right people. I’m so grateful for the people who support me and listen to my music. They could choose to support any artist in the world, but we’ve built a community of people who value and are encouraged by the message God has placed within me.

#enthuse: Family and music business…how do you balance that?

Brian: Great question! For me, doing business with my family is one of the greatest blessings I have been given. We all have the same heart: to reach people. I don’t have to worry if my family has my best in mind. It’s not easy by any means, we have disagreements and have had to grow in the way that we treat each other, but God has been faithful to help us in that growth process.

#enthuse: Translating your songs into different languages seems like a big deal to you. You’ve done so with Spanish and Shona. Why do you feel the need to?

Brian: At the beginning of the year as we were planning, Jasper brought up the idea to begin translating the songs into different languages because we have a very large international audience. At first, I was skeptical of the idea because I didn’t want people to think that we were trying to appropriate different cultures for our gain and I just didn’t know if it was worth our time.

But when we began to get the translations done and I began learning the songs in the different languages, I knew this was a God-ordained idea. It has allowed us to reach far more people than we would have by simply releasing songs in the English language. We truly have the opportunity to touch every nation and every tongue with our message and music now, as a result of the translations.

#enthuse: 2020 has been “2020ing” for everyone, but you seem to be doing really well for someone going through quarantine and the pandemic. You and your management seemed to have been quite prognostic by January when you said you were embarking on growing your mushrooming online community more and less on live performances. What was the bigger picture?

We can’t take credit for the success that we’ve had this year. Truly it is God’s guidance that has led us to success in the midst of a pandemic. As you stated above, at the beginning of the year we felt a strong pull from God to NOT focus on live events but to put all of our attention and focus on creating for the internet. Little did we know that 2 months later, the world would shut down, but more eyes than ever before would be on the internet.

#enthuse: How much do you feel connected to Zimbabwe? Do you listen to any artist from the home country and if so, who would you like to work/collaborate with?

Brian: I feel very connected, mainly because I have so many family members living in Zim. I definitely have a couple of Zim artists who I follow including Tamy and Jah Prayzah. I think they are making great art.

#enthuse: If you have one thing to say to Zimbabwe right now, what would that be?

Brian: Don’t quit. Whatever God has put it your heart to do, don’t quit. Keep going.

#enthuse: Thank you, Brian.

Check out the “Pastel Painted Skies” EP here

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller/Critic at Large in Culture at Enthuse Afrika

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