Jah Signal stands on cusp of stardom

JAH Signal made a blunder!

There was no need for him to launch his album, “Jaya”, so close to Jah Prayzah’s “Chitubu” release — there is absolutely no way he was ever going to win the PR war.

Jah Prayzah and his team have special skills when it comes to marketing and hyping not just their events but also the singer’s products — they proved it once again last weekend.

In a country that has just recently survived dry service stations and a malfunctioning brewery, with prices of most basic products and medicines going up, Jah Prayzah once again proved his brand strength with a full house, for the umpteenth time, at the HICC.

So mean is Jah Prayzah’s PR machine that Jah Signal’s exquisite launch, attended by over 15 000 people at Kuwadza 2 Grounds last weekend, ended up being overshadowed by the former’s usual plus or minus 5 000.

So is Jah Signal’s project dead and buried?

“No,” said award-winning music producer Oskid, who worked on three of the 14 songs on the album — “Nhando”, “Ndine Mukomana Wangu” and “Gomo”.

“I have produced many award-winning albums in my career, I have a good ear for music, and this is one of the best debut albums by any artiste I have worked with. This is what Jah Signal’s career has been yearning for, something solid like this to catapult him to the next level,” said the famed producer from Gweru.

He added: “Had it not been for the strength of the album and, of course, a number of promoters and sponsors that stood with him, his timing could have cost him big time, but not anymore, Zimbabweans are not stupid, they know good music.”

Jackie Dzabasa aka Jack Radix, a veteran Zim dancehall promoter who has worked with award-winning music entertainment companies Chipaz Promotions and South Africa-based Silent Killer Promotions, also sang Jah Signal praises.

“This album ‘Jaya’, is Jah Signal’s first but the response it has received so far from Zimbabweans around the world shows that the young man has got a bright future. His Kuwadzana show saw more than 15 000 people from around Harare, if not Zimbabwe, throng the open air venue to witness his album launch for the first time.

“His main advantage was that ‘Stonyeni’, a pre-release single, had already become a street anthem before the album hit the market. He is young, he is a fresh voice, and has shown great potential. His video ‘Shinga Muroora’, has over 1,5 million views on YouTube — that is massive,” said Radix, adding, “Jaya is different from songs he did in the past. It has been received very well by music lovers across the globe. It is just a matter of time before it explodes. At his launch, (November 3) he sold all 3 500 CDs that had been brought to the venue and there was still massive demand. This album has ushered him into mainstream entertainment — there is no doubt.”

With a proper stage usually reserved for big shows, complete with intelligent lighting and a sound system fit for a stadium performance, Jah Signal left Kuwadzana in awe.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail Society on the sidelines of the oversubscribed album launch, K2 entertainment manager DJ Zee, real name Perkins Govere, said after the release of “Jaya” and the hugely successful album launch, Jah Signal is headed for the stars.

Nyama yakanaka inozvitengesa yega (good quality meat needs no salesman). This is a huge endorsement. These thousands of people that have attended Jah Signal’s launch are a statement. Of course, his brand was already out there but this album and the launch itself took him to a whole new level.

“I have been playing at K2 Night Club for years and I also live here. I have not seen a gig of this magnitude or this organised in this area. This young man has just raised the bar very high and in the process solidified his base because this is his home, where he grew up and went to school.

“The level of respect he commands because of this gig and other successes is amazing. No parent will tell their kid that music is for loafers anymore — he has proved that music can also be a rewarding career. He is the living proof of what discipline, hard work and perseverance can bring you in this industry,” said DJ Zee.

Overwhelmed by the love from the crowds at the K2 Grounds launch, Jah Signal got so emotional, knelt on stage and thanked his fans. The crowd was so big, projectors had to be quickly installed so that everyone would see what was happening on stage. Parking space was a nightmare, supermarkets and a number of small scale retailers had to close early – with some failing to cope with the “chaos” while others wanted to be part of the fun.

Seh Calaz, Pah Chihera, Chillspot Family, Hwindi President, Killer T, Freeman, Lady Squanda, Queen Kadhijah and DJ Cables, among many others, also performed at the event.

His manager, Hillary “Punchline” Mutake said they are taking the album on the road till they reach all corners of the country.

“We will be taking it to different towns and cities in Zimbabwe, and also other countries. We are also going to unleash a number of music videos. So far we have done two and are working on four more videos,” said Mutake.

Jah Signal expressed gratitude to his fans, sponsors and his parents, whom he brought to the album launch.

The event was supported by corporates, among them Silent Killer Logistics, Impala Car Rental, AB Communications, Punchline Entertainment, Dapper Gents and Team Swah Family led by Mhofela, real name Innocent Shito.

Besides Oskid Productions, Jah Signal also worked with Simplex, Maselo Productions, T-Man, DJ Tamuka and DJ Lovers to produce the 14-track album, which is set to provide the sound-track to this year’s festive season.

Some of the songs that have had an immediate impact are the title track “Jaya”, “Nhando”, “Stonyeni”, “Shanda” and “Unovashungurudza”, which features Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria.

Even without an album, Jah Signal was already on his way up, with over 50 singles among them “Tirarira”, “Mkwasha Imboko”, “Ganda Idema”, “Kunzungu Nekunyimo”, “Rure Rure”, “Rudo”, “Tisvike”, “Ndezvepasi”, “Ku Gombwe”, “Dai Mandiudza” and “Yatanga Hondo” to name a few.

His services are sought after both regionally and internationally. This Wednesday, he embarks on a two-week tour of Australia and the United Arab Emirates.