Five minutes with ZNi on his musical journey and building his legacy

01 March 2024 - 15:32
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Zhiyanai Maraire, popularly known as ZNi, speaks about making an impact globally.
Zhiyanai Maraire, popularly known as ZNi, speaks about making an impact globally.
Image: Supplied

Zhiyanai Maraire, popularly known as ZNi International, son of the late Zimbabwean musician Dumi, is following in his father's footsteps putting traditional Shona music on the map.

His musical style is a reflection of his diverse influences and experiences. From hip-hop to Afro-fusion, reggae and pop music, each genre has contributed something unique to his musical repertoire, allowing him to create a sound that is authentic and innovative.

We spoke to him about his music and future ventures:

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how your family's musical legacy influenced your journey into the music industry?

My background is rooted in music, thanks to my family's musical legacy. Growing up with a father such as Dumi Maraire, who was not only a musician but also a significant influence in the Zimbabwean music scene, provided me with a rich musical upbringing. Being exposed to diverse genres and styles from a young age ignited my passion for music and set me on the path to pursue a career in the industry.

Could you share a bit about your early days as a member of your father's touring marimba band? How did that shape your musical path?

Being a part of my father's touring marimba band, Dumi and Minanzi III, was a formative experience for me. It provided me with invaluable exposure to performing live music, honing my skills as a musician and understanding the dynamics of the music industry. Being immersed in the world of music from such a young age undoubtedly shaped my musical path and fuelled my ambition to carve out my own niche in the industry.

You are involved in advocating youth mental health awareness. Why is this cause important to you and how do you hope to make a positive impact?

Advocating youth mental health awareness is a cause close to my heart. As someone who has experienced the challenges of mental health issues, I understand the importance of raising awareness and providing support to those who are struggling. Through my advocacy work I hope to break the stigma surrounding mental health, promote open dialogue and empower young people to seek help and support when they need it.

Your music has had an impact in South Africa, particularly on Motsweding FM. How does it feel to see your work resonating with audiences in different parts of the world and what message do you hope to convey through your music?

It is incredibly gratifying to see my music resonating with audiences in different parts of the world, including South Africa. Music has a unique ability to transcend boundaries and unite people from diverse backgrounds and I am honoured to be able to share my music with such a wide audience. Through my music, I hope to convey messages of love, positivity and empowerment and to inspire others to pursue their passions and dreams.

What projects or collaborations are you working on and what can your fans expect from your music in the near future?

I am working on finishing my album Good Karma as well as several projects and collaborations I can't wait to share with my fans. From new music releases to collaborations with other artists and brands, there's a lot in store for the near future. My fans can expect more infectious beats, uplifting melodies and lyrics that resonate with the human experience and inspire positive change.

Is there a specific message or theme you consistently try to convey through your music, and if so, what is it?

One theme I consistently try to convey is the power of positivity and resilience in the face of adversity. Whether it's overcoming personal challenges, pursuing your dreams or spreading love and kindness to others, my music aims to inspire hope and uplift the spirits of listeners. I want my music to serve as a source of encouragement and motivation for anyone who may be going through a difficult time, reminding them they are not alone and better days are ahead.

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