How’s Ammara doing in 2015?
Ammara in 2015, dare I say it’s the year Ammara releases her debut album, I lost my first debut album but I now know everything happens for a reason! I finally found the sound I was looking for, all the right producers, all the right sounds that will let me be genuine to who I am as opposed to meeting the expectations of what a fragment of my fan base is looking for, which is Andy Brown or a female version of Andy Brown of which I am not, we share a passion but we are not the same person haha.
Explain the concept of the music? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My life is the source of my inspiration, let me just say I can not write about what I don’t know. I know about what I have experienced so I can not sing on behalf of anyone else, so when I am in my music crying about something just know I have been through it.
Do you write the songs that you perform and record or do you have a designated writer?
I write most of my material. Last year I had the pleasure of writing with a local artist called Rocki and he is a very talented writer with a long list of hits under his belt! We wrote some tracks on my album together, tracks like Crystal Blue Moon, Havarare etc.
When would you say you entered the entertainment industry?
I entered the entertainment industry at 9 actually, as an actress hahaha. My very first job was with Oliver Mtukudzi, we were doing a TV advert and I haven’t stepped out of the industry since. I have been in chiors, I have been in a band. I worked for my dad for an extensive number of years, about a decade as a backing vocalist which gave me an incredible amount of experience, I worked with musicians in Jo’burg, I was on Idols aswell I did pop Idols, umm that was exciting hey it was in Kenya and I have also studied music.
How was the Idols experience?
I went to Botswana to audition and that went great, clearly. I made top 100, then I made top 30, then top 10 and then I made it to the top 5 which was extensively in Kenya .It was really great, I had such an amazing time! There was so much pressure because there were a thousand plus people there everyday and the millions behind the cameras. So the pressure to be a crowd pleaser was crazy but surprisingly that taught me to stay true to myself.
If you had to collaborate with any artist on earth who would it be and why?
Janelle Monae. When I listened to her for the first time, I remember feeling like she was one of the few American artists who weren’t a caged bird. The beauty of being an African artists, I feel like we can be ourselves.
How did the collaboration with Zues come about?
Ummm wow, Zues and I met in Jo’burg a couple years ago, probably 2006 or 2007! We shared a producer at the time, whose now his manager and we always used to say “we should do a song” but it never happened because we just kept missing each other in studio sessions. And then last Don Juan just called me saying, “Ammara I feel like this is the track that you should be on”, they sent the instrumental through, then I went to Yagi Dojo and we did the damn thing hahaha.
What challenges are you currently facing?
As an artist, particularly in Zimbabwe, uhm the struggle here is the foundation of the music industry. Other countries like South Africa or Nigeria per say have functioning record labels, that means if you need twenty thousand dollars as a budget for tomorrow or the next months, you can get it because they have an entire team structure where everybody has a function and a source where the money comes from. Where as in Zimbabwe, so ultimately the bulk of the workload falls on you, the artist haha. So its a lot of you and your manager, if you need X amount for your project, ha ha goodluck!
What do you dislike about fame?
Well, I was on vacation last week, I changed my hair hoping they wont recognize me! Every human being has a part of them that wants to feel like they own the moment, they own their presence and they can deliver it to who they feel and thats why we have houses. I love #Ammartians don’t get me wrong but I can’t walk in the streets without having spectators anymore. Its almost like you sign an invisible contract that allows anyones opinion of you to be put out and its ok.
Whats the weirdest thing a fan has ever done to you?
So one day I was walking looking for a certain place, this 1 guy was like he could show me the place! When we got there he asked for my contact detailsand I gave him my twitter handle! Later on that day I got a whatsapp from this guy!
Who are your Top 5 Zim Artists?
Haha its so hard because I like so many artists work! Umm in no particular order haha umm
Mokoomba – I love them because they are a different kind of international sound. They sort of remind me of my dad
Cynthia Marie – I love Cynthia, she is a lovely writer and is one of the people I am about to work with because our chemistry is jus great.
Jah Prayzah – Because he is an incredible performer and he reminds me for the hardworking background that I come from. He can go for hours without getting tired, a lot of artists can not keep up and he is a great song writer aswell.
Tuku – He is just in a league of his own.
Tehn Diamond – He is sort of the male version of me, except he has a whole genre to fall back on, he can safely say he is Zim Hip Hop. But because his genre is not about the masses, the way he interprates Zim Hip Hop is great, its not all about the borders.
How are you monetizing your music?
Performance. Performance and broadcasting royalties.
Is your business model reflective of the online landscape in Zim?
My strong suit is online. I have used my social networks to get around the economicals whoahs of this country. I can actually count the number of posters that have gone to print.
Any words of wisdom to the youth of Zimbabwe?
When we growing up they tell us how tough life is, you will never know until you experience it. And being someone with dreams and wanting to make them a reality, you have to believe in yourself at all times no matter what and surround yourself with people who are in your likeness. See you at the top can’t wait to meet you!!