Award-winning afro-jazz songstress Selmor Mtukudzi (SM) continues to consolidate her music career, especially in the wake of her father, music superstar and national hero, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s death.
She recently clinched an ambassadorial role with a local vehicle hire company, Impala Car Rental, as her brand has been on a growth trajectory. Selmor is currently recording her new album at Steve Dyer’s studios in Johannesburg, South Africa. She speaks to NewsDay (ND) Life & Style reporter Freeman Makopa. Below are excepts of the interview.
ND: You are in the middle of recording your new album, what are you promising your fans?
SM: It has been wonderful working with Steve Dyer on this album, and I promise the best quality production than ever before.
I was privileged to have the likes of (original Black Spirits band members) Piki Kasamba, Never Mpofu and Sam Mataure laying their hands on the project. I am excited for those who are going to be able to listen to my new album.
ND: Are you aiming to reach the same level as your late father? And what is your strategy?
SM: My aim is to run my own race and to reach where God intends me to get to. My strategy is to keep on working hard and to continue to make music.
ND: What are some of the challenges that you face as a female musician?
SM: The biggest challenge is that the relevant people do not take us seriously. They still do not value us compared to our male colleagues.
ND: How do you feel about that as a female musician?
SM: It is so heartbreaking and disappointing to see that some promoters are still so ignorant and primitive in thinking that a female artiste is not worth what the males are. We need to pay attention to that!
ND: Generally, how has been your music journey so far? Has it been an easy road?
SM: My journey has been long, with winding roads filled with twigs and thorns, ups and downs. There have been moments were I thought I would drown, but found myself floating. Although I have not arrived yet, I am happy with how far I have come.
ND Who do you say inspired you the most, and have you always dreamt of becoming a recognised musician or you had other aspirations?
SM I have always wanted to take music as a career. I knew I would do it from when I was a little girl, having been part of big productions in the country as a 10-year-old. I believe my path was predestined.
ND How are you balancing being a musician and a wife?
SM It is just the same as everybody else. There is no formula.
ND: Does being Tuku’s daughter help you deal with fame associated with celebrity status?
SM: Having been born to a famous father, fame is nothing new to me. There is really nothing special about it. I am a human being just like everyone else. The fact that people see me on television and in newspapers —it is just my job!
ND: How do you deal with negative publicity?
SM: I pay no attention to negative publicity. I do not let it get to my head.
ND: You were recently appointed Impala Car Rental ambassador. How do you feel about that? What impact do you think this will have on your career as a musician?
SM: I am extremely excited to be working with Impala, and I am humbled that they chose me to be their brand ambassador.
Having my brand associated with great brands like Impala is such an honour, and I am thrilled to see what the future will bring.
ND Who are some of the people behind your success?
SM: First and foremost, it is my husband Tendai (Manatsa), who is my rock and everything. There is also my sister, Sandra, who is my partner in “crime”. My entire family has generally been supportive.
My band has been there with me, through everything. Special mention also goes to Givy Gawaza for his loyalty. My management team has been great, and my secret sponsors have made it all possible. Over and above them all, it has been my fans, those who have loved my music from the beginning and also those who recently joined us. I appreciate their support, and they are the people behind my success so far.