October 7, 2013
I caught up with award-winning urban grooves songstress, Betty Makaya. With hits such as “Usipo” and “Ndakusuwa” to her name, Betty is one of the best artists to ever emerge from Zimbabwe. In 2004, she won the Best Urban Grooves Artist award at the Zimbabwe Music Awards to cap her meteoric rise to popularity. After a long hiatus from music, Betty is bouncing back onto the scene. With her new singles, Chokwadi and Maybe, fans are in for a treat! Here is what Betty had to say about her career and more.
Where are you currently based?
You have not released an album in a while, but your fans are still wild about you. How do you manage
to keep such a faithful following?
Wow, I have no answer to that but honestly I’m always overwhelmed when even now fans sing my songs word for word. Truly grateful.
When did you start singing?
I’ve always been singing for as long as I can remember, sang in the choir at school, at church with my mother (may her soul rest in peace) in praise and worship team at church and this was all before I was eighteen. So let’s just say I’ve never stopped with the exception of the past 5 years.
Who is your inspiration?
My late mother and brother have always been my inspiration and now my two boys also inspire me everyday. The great women in music played a great role in helping me find my voice – Mariah, Toni, Chiwoniso, Thandiswa.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
Well I’d like to believe I’m yet to get there but so far all the awards I got really humbled me and knowing that I have the ability to touch people’s lives through my love of music.
What was the lowest point of your career, and how did you make it out of it?
Mmmmm it will have to be working with those that don’t treat you as well as they ought to. Another reason we don’t grow.
Which of your songs do you like the most?
Hmmm, those close to me would say none, but because you asked I’d say Ndakusuwa, Amai, Pawakayenda
(with Alexio), Chokwadi (by Alexio), Ndinokuda and Gotta Let You Go because I’m a sucker for sad songs.
Many of your hits are very emotional. Do they come from personal experiences?
Well I’m a very emotional person, so that always comes across, but very few of my songs are personal but I’m more like a story collector and use those for my songs.
You are one of the pioneers of the urban grooves genre. Will you always be an urban grooves artist?
I’ll always be an artist. As for what kind, that will be determined by what’s inspiring me at that moment, and my growth.
It has been noted that of all urban grooves artists, you were always one of the few that didn’t have a wild public image. Was this because of a conscious decision you made?
Hahaha I guess it’s all about how my mother raised me. Also, there’s nothing I hate more than attention – especially bad attention – so I try not to humiliate myself or set myself up for it.
Anything in the works right now?
Working on a new album slowly. This week I did a duet with Nox. We’ll be doing the video in about 2 weeks. It’s called Handei.
Your hit ‘Usipo’ has a great video. Would you consider making videos for other hits like “Ndichange Ndiripo,” or for future songs?
Yeah, I’m hoping to do videos for the songs I love, new and old.
Obviously, piracy is a big problem in Zimbabwe. How do you or other artists plan to overcome it?
Ah well, its unfortunate that with how small our music industry is and other factors, we can’t really do much about it. On a positive note unotongoti at least they want to listen to my music. However, piracy is one of the evils that stunts our growth as artists.
On a lighter note, what would be a perfect Saturday for Betty?
When I’m with all my boys doing what we do weekends, nothing…swim, watch a movie, watch tv, sleep.
And your favorite food?
Rice rinedovi and mbambaira ne tea, though I don’t get to enjoy them a lot.
Any message for your fans?
Never, ever let people get you down and also try not to be the one breaking other people’s hearts.
Where can we buy your music?
Soon it will be on iTunes, etc.
Are you on Facebook or Twitter?
You are undoubtedly one of Zimbabwe’s greatest and most popular musicians. Thank you very much for sharing with us, and thank you for your time!
Thanks a lot! It was like a school assignment but I enjoyed doing it.
Also, do check out her new singles below. Please like this post and share widely.