JAH PRAYZAH (Zimbabwe)
Multi-award-winning contemporary musician Jah Prayzah is undoubtedly Zimbabwe's musician of the moment. Born Mukudzeyi Mukombe (Jah Prayzah originates from the Shona meaning of his birth name Mukudzeyi meaning 'praise Him'). Born in 1987 and the youngest of 5 children, Jah showed his leanings towards music at a young age. He enjoyed reading Shona and writing but his true love was singing; along the way, he learnt to play the mbira. He actually started recording music whilst in high school, before releasing some contemporary and afro-jazz singles with local producers in Harare such as DJ Thando and others.
His first album, 'Sungano' was released in 2007 gaining him a large following. He released two further albums, 'Rudo neRunyararo' and 'Ngwarira Kuparara'; the latter album spawned the hit singles 'Gotchi Gotchi', 'Maria' and 'Dande', with 'Dande' featuring the late Chiwoniso Maraire. With the commercial success of 'Ngwarira Kuparara' he worked on his brand and joined forces with his current Third Generation Band. A fourth album, 'Tsviriyo', followed in 2013 and a fifth,'Kumbumura Mhute', in 2014. In the same year he won five NAMA awards and two ZIMA awards. His sixth and seventh albums were released in 2015 ('Jerusarema') and 2016 ('Mdhara Vachauya') followed by Kutonga kwaro in 2017. 'Mdhara Vachauya' has been hugely successful with its collection of 'feel good' and happy songs, such as 'Watora Mari', a collaboration with Tanzanian icon Diamond Platnumz. In fact 'Watora Mari' reached 1 000 000 views two weeks after the release of its video and remains popular on MTV Base and Trace Africa. Jah went on to collaborate with other African legends such as Oliver Mtukudzi 'Sisiriya', Botswana's Charma Girl 'Dali Wangu', Nigeria's Davido 'My Lilly', South Africa's Mafikizolo 'Mazuva Akanaka' and 'Sendekera', Nigeria's Yemi Alade 'Nziyo Yerudo', Tanzania's Harmonize 'Ndoenda Newe' and Jamaican icon Jah Cure 'Angelo'.
Between his album releases, Jah and Third Generation band have toured extensively in Australia, the UK, USA, Canada and China. Unsurprisingly, he has won numerous awards since 2013, including 4 National Arts and Merits Awards (NAMA) in 2014, 2 in 2016 and the Listener's Choice Award at the MTV African Music Awards also in 2016. Since 2014, Jah has been an Ambassador for Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe, an initiative that combines efforts with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to help reduce the prevalence of a range of diseases but most notably HIV and AIDS, by offering free testing, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and medical male circumcision.