HARARE – Mbira songstress Hope Masike has revealed that she believes her success as a musician scares away any male potential suitor and as such she remains single.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily News, the singer said love has been eluding her and she would not disclose how old she is, but that “I am old enough to be a Kora award nominee”.
And she says she has repeatedly told reporters of her story around her falling in love.
“I am saying to everyone out there I am still unattached contrary to what many guys think. People have this misconception that since she is a celebrity guys are pestering her, but that thinking itself has left me with no boyfriend as every other guy keeps away thinking there are others chasing me.
“Another thing is that a decent guy may not be able to take me out for a meal or movie because of the economy. They look at me and say ‘she has been performing in Norway, she must be financially sound’ and they see me dressed well — this scares them off me.”
Masike says there is also this “stupid” belief that all female musicians are loose.
“To suggest that all female musicians are loose is an old belief that has no place in today’s world. We are actually a reflection of society and there are different types of women musicians. You can find decent ones and there are others who might be rowdy, but when they go home they go alone.”
The diva has performed at various venues and admits that at times the fans are rude and can call you names while on stage.
“I have been harassed by men at a few gigs, but generally, people are respectful of our art work regardless of whether you are male or female.
“I know there are things we have to do 10 times more than males. What I wear on stage as a female musician is a statement — what I wear says a lot about how I want to be treated in society.
“In Zimbabwe, society expects certain things from us and as such I do what I want them to see me as.
“I can decide to sing gospel music today and dress properly and make a lot of money. People may also like what they see in me as the new gospel singer. I can also decide to be a bad girl of Zimbabwean showbiz and introduce every new outfit and people can love it and I can make money, increase hits on social media and become infamous. I can be whoever I want to be.”
Hope’s secret to success
Her secret to success since launching her musical career in 2008 has been that she puts God first in everything she does.
“I put God first because He is my creator and knows my purpose on earth. So I try to put Him first although I know it is not easy to be righteous through and through as we are human beings. I also make sure that in everything that I do I make sure I put all the energy that I have, I always want to do well regardless of the task. And lastly, I am doing well because I am always thankful all the time.”
The diva believes there is money to be made in music. “Anything in life pays depending on your vision, what you want in life — anything in life can pay you very well. No one can say there is no money in the music business because we have all these multi-millionaires scattered throughout the world who have made money through music.
“I know we have musicians who have failed to make money, some we have had to fund raise for when they pass on because they could not afford burial costs. But these are not in the majority and we have contributing factors like the economy and destiny.”
And she has a message for the girl child out there. “To the girl out there, I say stop crying for being female because now is not the time for that. It is time for strong girls that do not spend their precious time crying for what the boys have because as girls there are also some special things that we have that the boys do not have.
“I say to the girl child — find and fulfil your calling. Grab the bull by the horns and live your dream because God brought you here for a purpose and you should be able to remark that ‘yes, I lived my life to the fullest when on earth’. You are your own destiny.”
Social media and schools
Hope strongly believes the introduction of social media has liberated artists of her era. “I don’t know how the other generation used to do it without these platforms because today I can do a concert without putting a poster.
I can advertise on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts and this also keeps audiences engaged.”
She adds that social media has meant that she develops a special touch with her fans. “If there is a misrepresentation of facts in other forms of media I can always correct the error. I am very active on social media and my fans should interact with me more.”
Hope enjoys working with school children and says this is one of her biggest projects so far. “I realised that it is important to go into schools and teach pupils not just about the mbira instrument but about music itself.
When I am there I showcase the mbira and use it to accompany any songs, be it the national anthem or a song by Jay Z. I also teach them about the music industry and what it constitutes, how it is supposed to be structured and what they can do after school if they want to become musicians.”
The Kora award nomination
Masike was recently nominated for the prestigious 2016 Kora All-Africa Awards which she believes is a major artistic career highlight.
The diva, however, believes being nominated for 2016 Kora’s Best Traditional Female Artist in Africa Award for her song Huyai Tinamate is a fascinating turn of events.