Gospel competition helps promote musicians during pandemic

Natsisai Mudzamiri, Rumbidzai Mundeta, Diana Nyoni and Rufaro Nyathi won single-track recording deals

A UK-based organisation has established a gospel competition aimed at supporting upcoming musicians greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The AGCDONCASTER Gospel Music Competition featured contestants from Europe and Africa, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Russia, Dubai and UK.

The music industry has taken a major hit as a result of the global lockdown and has meant that live performance revenue has been affected due to the restrictions that came into effect in March.

Pelagia Kwashirai, CEO of AGCDONASTER said that the competition was part of a community initiative which promotes young talented musicians in Africa, helping them realise their dream of establishing a career in music.

“After the success of our first competition in May, we realised there are so many talented artists in Africa who have a phenomenal gift, but who lack the financial support or resources to record and advertise their music.

“We wanted to showcase this and support those with the potential to make it in the industry, particularly at a time when the industry is reeling from the effects of the epidemic.”

The organisation held a second virtual competition throughout June and four finalists received single-track recording deals, with their songs being produced by Zimbabwean based producer, Tawanda Midzi.

Prior to the lockdown, live concerts operated through a structure that gave artists an idea of what stage they were in their careers, and what they could aim for next, including moving up the ladder of venue sizes such as theatres, arenas and stadia.

In the wake of the pandemic,sales, which represent a quarter of recorded music revenue, are down by about one-third. Musicians,both upcoming and established, have seen the effects of this financially and from a progression standpoint.

“Many musicians are going to face a number of financial challenges, especially for those whose music was their source of income.

“We interviewed several well-known Zimbabwean and Nigerian artists and all have echoed the same concerns about the financial implications of Covid. While this is going to be a challenge for musicians globally over the next 12 months, the pandemic has helped artists think outside the box and take their music in a different direction.

“Some artists have had to come out of their comfort zone and used technology to connect with their followers and supporters. It has also helped other artists connect with people from around the world,” added Ms Kwashira.

The Doncaster based platform, which also promotes the empowerment of women and men's programmes,is planning to host a series of gospel competitions quarterly.

“We are planning several virtual tours and are hoping to host the AGCDONCASTER Africa Gospel Music Competition to showcase the talent that is on the African continent. We are also looking for companies who want to partner with us and help us grow this vision globally.”

Kwashira said that the team are currently hosting virtual shows to promote the winners and all events will be broadcast live in the coming weeks on Facebook and Broadcasttv.live.

“We are supporting the winners by advertising their latest singles across our social media platforms and asking them,as well as other companies, to support them by promoting their music via their social media channels.

“We have also created a mentorship program that prepares the winners for the next phase of their musical journey and what they need to know about marketing their music, targeting radio stations and how to get good press coverage.”

AGCDONCASTER will also host a Christmas Gospel Music Competition which will start in the second week of November via their Facebook page.

The winners of the competition

Natsisai Taaliah Mudzamiri

Natsisai is a singer-songwriter, worship leader and recording artist based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

She began her music journey in 2017, releasing her debut album,Spirit of the Lord. She has worked with critically acclaimed musicians who include former Joyous Celebration singer, Mkhululi Bhebhe and Fungisai Zvakavapano.

Her single, Faithful God, will be released on all digital platforms on 10 October.

Diana Nyoni

Diana Nyoni is a Zimbabwean singer-songwriter, worship leader and recording artist based in Bulawayo.

Diana started singing in her church choir at the age of 10.

In 2010, Diana was a backing vocalist for singer Learnmore Chibaya. In 2012, she joined a group called Royal Family Choir, an interdenominational gospel group. The ensemble released No Limits, a live DVD recording featuring Nhariswa Hofmeyer and Mufaro Madzinga.

Diana’s new single, Overcomer, will be released on all digital platforms on 14 October.

Rumbidzai Mundeta

Rumbidzai Mundeta is a Zimbabwean gospel artist who started singing at the age of 3.

She is part of ZimPraise Kids, an interdenominational group. She is also working on a seven-track album titled `Rumbidzai’ (Praise).

Rumbi has worked with The Jesus Project and performed alongside them at numerous festivals, including the DJ Unlocked Festival that was held in the UK in 2020.

Passionate about social and youth empowerment issues, Rumbi uses her platform to promote young people.

Rumbi’s new single, Psalm 51, will be released on all digital platforms on 21 October.

Rufaro Nicole Nyathi

Rufaro is a Zimbabwean gospel singer-songwriter and dancer.

Passionate about music, she took part in musicals, plays and competitions from a very young age.

Rufaro is also part of the worship team at her church, and in 2019, recorded several songs with singer Don Clarke, which included the singles, ‘The Messiah’ and ‘Hey Bokke.

Her latest single, Modern Mindset, will be released on all digital platforms on 24 October.