Interview with songstress Rudo Chasi

Music | By Rudo Chasi, Musician | 02 October 2015
PHOTO: © Henry Oliver Hakulandaba

Tell us about yourself. Who is Rudo Chasi and her journey so far?
I was born and raised in Harare  Zimbabwe on the 6th of march in 1988 and I come from a family of two children that is my twin sister and I. I went to Moleli high school and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Girls High where I excelled in my academics and proceeded to study law in the year 2008 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

How did your journey into music begin?
During these years my music compositions matured as I took up the acoustic guitar and learnt the basics. I grew up in a Christian home where my main musical influence was gospel music. Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to become my own person and a chance to be able to form my  own opinions about anything and so I started  seeing  the world from a different perspective .This gave me new content on love and other social issues.

You sound mature for your age, what was life like growing up?
After the passing on of my father when I was 13, my father’s younger brother and his wife and my mother took up the task of raising my sister and I. These three provided me with a loving and supporting family. A strict conservative protective mother and a liberal uncle and aunt gave me just the right balance .It is under that guardianship that I learnt to follow my dreams relentlessly and sing my soul out and walk the journey destined for me musically. Growing up I was a bubbly character with an ability to influence others and I always had my cousins and friends learning new songs. My uncles gave me the nickname Gamba meaning a hero, which I hated until now because I was a risk taker. I dare to be different, I dream big and I take well calculated risks!

So, you do music full time?
I am also a legal practitioner and I am quite passionate about my work and I am constantly striving to balance my work and music. My experience in the courts in handling sexual abuse matters has inspired me to take part in community projects which include a documentary launched recently titled Tears From Inside which tells the ordeal of three victims of rape and how different centres can provide assistance when such heinous crimes are committed. I composed the sound track to the documentary and will soon be launching the soundtrack’s video. I intend to use my music as a tool to lobby for women and child rights and other issues close to her heart.

Who have been your major influences in your life/ music career?
When I was a kid we used to travel a lot because of the nature of my Father’s job and on these road trips he would play Mukanya (Thomas Mapfumo) and Oliver Mtukudzi. In my teens I listened to a lot of gospel artists such as Juanita Bynum, Cece Winans I fell in love with the vocals and they still inspire me to this day. During my university days, I was into Nigerian guitarist - Asa  whose work is a  huge influence.

Where do you get the inspiration to write songs from?
What motivates me to play music is the fact that I get to tell all kinds of stories, my stories and other people’s stories .I get an opportunity to send out a message with my unique touch to it. No rules, no limitations and no boundaries as far as my imagination can go. In the year 2012 I joined the Sister’s Open Mic, a talent scouting and mentorship programme which is run by the F.L.A.M.E and PAMBERI trust through which I have grown to become a professional artist.  I released my debut album Afrikan Sun mid - 2014.

What genre of music do you play?
I play Afrofusion music and I believe I bring a different fresh sound and vocal prowess to the Afrikan music scene. My dream is to sing my Afrikan song all around the world to tell my stories in different places and to become an Afrikan role model for the young.

Any major collaborations so far or any that fans can look forward to?
I am yet to really share a stage with a big artist but I have had the privilege of opening for the great Oliver Mtukudzi at the Misty’s Show and also to perform at the Mukanya Danger zone album launch. I have a six member band that play bass, lead, drum, and keyboard and two backing vocalists. My Facebook page is Rudorwashe Chasi , same for Twitter and Soundcloud is chasi. I last played at the Book Cafe on the 14th of March 2014 and the audience was blown away by the performance.

What are your plans for the future?
My immediate plans are to participate more in community projects and do musical videos for the album and for the tears from inside projects and also to participate in music festivals in Afrika. There is more to come from me as I am writing a beautiful musical story with my life that will make history in years to come!