Born Robin Ketahle Anesu Dawani, Tahle we Dzinza dubbed the First Lady of the Military Touch Movement is an artist who has catapulted to the top echelons of the music industry in Zimbabwe in a short space of time.
Tahle we Dzinza is a member of the Military Touch Movement and the only female to date.
The Military Touch Movement is a record label that has 5 artists ExQ, Nutty O, Andy Muridzo, Tahle we Dzinza herself and record label owner Jah Prayzah.
Tahle we Dzinza is the fruity, silvery and modulated voice behind the widely revered Chekeche song.
The Inspired Africa writer, Prince Kurupati, caught up with Tahle we Dzinza and she had this to say
Prince: What does your stage name mean and where did it come from
Tahle: Tahle is short for Ketahle meaning light while we Dzinza means generation in Shona. Therefore, my name means light of the generation. Ketahle was a name that I was given by my mother and I chose we Dzinza because that’s what I seek my music to be, a light to my generation.
Prince: Do you play any instruments?
Tahle: Yes I do, I play marimba and percussion.
Prince: Is your family musical?
Tahle: Quite, my mother is a vocalist, vocal coach and songwriter.
Prince: What is a typical day/week like for you?
Tahle: Very hectic, I am an intern at a local company and I’m also balancing my own design business. I also help with basic chores at home and keeping in touch with the Dzinza family (my fans) and my personal friends. It’s very challenging.
Prince: What skills/personal attributes are most important to be successful?
Tahle: Persistence, perseverance, focus, honesty with oneself and humility.
Prince: What are typical mistakes people make when trying to pursue this career?
Tahle: We compromise our principles a lot. As a creative person, what we believe in, is all that we can share. When we stop being ourselves, we can no longer share our truths and that creates an insincere spirit towards one’s music.
Prince: If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? Would you do something differently?
Tahle: I think music chose me, not the other way round. I was always surrounded by music, I came alive when I came in contact with it. The music was waiting for me to unravel it. Would I want it any different? Well, I am very new at this and I am learning new stuff every day, it’s a big beautiful playground where I am experiencing the joys and disappointments. I haven’t grown enough to have hindsight to draw from.
Prince: What is the importance of the connections in the music industry? How can you utilize them?
Tahle: It’s not only in the music industry. Connections are important everywhere because you can’t make it without people. I don’t necessarily think you can utilize connections because that may suggest that you are using them for your own gain. But I think true connections are born from having a sincere interest in other people’s lives beyond the transaction.
Prince: How important is image?
Tahle: People don’t have the time for you as a person, so the way you turn out will shape perceptions about you as a person. But having said that, you must be real, you have to balance your public and private image. That can be tough to a 19-year-old.
Prince: Have you ever gone on a foreign tour?
Tahle: With the help of my personal assistant, Wadzanai Gumbo Ndlovu, we are currently in the middle of finalizing my maiden tour of Denmark for the summer of 2018, this will be my first foreign tour.
Prince: What is your advice on touring, from local tours you have conducted so far?
Tahle: Tours offer a steep learning curve, the exposure to new audiences, collaborations and other musicians who have a different culture really helps one to grow.
Prince: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Tahle: When it comes to mistakes, no one knows your set so just keep going. I, however, am finicky about practice so as to minimize mistakes, which I hate but do happen.
Prince: Do men and women generally get the same opportunities in the music industry here in Zimbabwe?
Tahle: Yes and No. what I can say is that hard work pays off. The Zimbabwean industry is male-dominated, so coming in as a teenager and a female makes it’s quite tough. I’m prepared to put in the time and I know that I will get there.
Prince: Is there growth in this field? How do things generally look for new musicians entering the field?
Tahle: Growth is not just revenue. For me, it’s creativity, the sound quality, the acceptability and then sales. Zimbabwe is a small market and quite shy of creativity. Creating a new sound as I am trying to do is quite tough but overtime you do build an audience.
Prince: How do you feel about the internet in the music business?
Tahle: I think it is great in that people can access content more readily, it also makes the marketing of one’s music cheaper.
Prince: Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Tahle: Salif Keita, because of his passion and cultural richness and emotional abundance. Locally, Oliver Mtukudzi, because he has created a sound that has managed to stand the test of time.
Prince: Is there a special someone in your life now? How do you balance your music with other obligations especially your family and love life? Is there any conflict?
Tahle: I don’t have anyone in that space at the moment but there are people I love, my baby brother, my mother and my close friends. The industry is very demanding and the demand for new content is high. You can push so hard and forget that you have a family and friends who want your attention. So balance is very important. Family comes first.
Prince: What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
Tahle: You have to be strong. You must have a clear picture of what you want to achieve or you will be swayed in becoming something you don’t want to be. Sometimes you have to be stubborn or you will lose yourself.
Prince: Thank you Tahle for sharing your time and wish you all the best.
Tahle: It was great having this conversation with you and thank you too.