Kriss Newtone is a brand name for a Zimbabwean Management company and Record Label called 8square music. Presently, the firm manages four artists namely Kriss Newtone (rapper), phiA (RnB and pop), Jawbreaka (rapper), and Sqkatta (RnB and pop). 

8square Music is a record label passionate about curating educative, inspiring, and entertaining content across all genres of music. The company is also passionate about brand awareness and building through combined efforts.

This publication found out more about Kriss Newtone through the exclusive interview below:

CB: Can you begin by telling us a brief history about yourself and when you first got into music.

KN: My brother was a club DJ when I was young; he summarizes the genesis of my musical journey. He introduced me to my favorite artist of all time, J Cole as far as 2011. I was only in Form 1 by then. A year later I would meet Mario, my new best friend, and KayBee was born (my first rap name which meant King Bling, which is quite funny looking at it now because I barely owned a single chain) and rap was born in me. I released my first single “Rap like a Puppet” featuring Mario and Lil Phil 2 years later. Funny how that song just vanished, can’t seem to find it anywhere.

CB: What does your stage name ‘Kriss Newtone’ reflect?

KNMy birth name is Christopher Vhembo. So Kriss is a diminutive of that. Newtone implies me bringing a new tone to the game. My sound is unique to me. It’s a distinct vibe that I’m sure you wouldn’t get anywhere in your playlist. So Kriss Newtone is Christopher who is here with a new sound from a place that’s a long way from Earth.

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CBWhat is your creative process like because I noticed you recently released a 10 track debut EP titled – The Avatar State?

KNFirst of all, I have never tried to make a song. Every idea I ever had come to me. Either I’m working, or taking a walk, or even in the middle of the conversation, then it comes to me. No matter where I am, I take out my phone and record it. So the birth of all these ideas is subconscious. It’s not something I put the effort into. 

After that, I sit down and then start realizing some of these ideas will be even as old as two to three years. But when the time comes I realize that’s the big bang and that’s when everything starts coming together then I realize that the ideas I had are not random, somehow they all come together and that’s when it gets interesting. I realize how great my ideas are and open my mind to another important step of development.

I also sit down to focus and concentrate on these ideas and start making the song. That’s when I write more and built a body of work then refine it and I start working on the rhymes, melodies, and the perfect beat for it. But that’s not the end of it; the recording is a whole new level of creativity. While I record that’s when I come up with even new ideas, adlibs, introductions, and conclusions as well as voila, music for your playlists!

CB: How do you define your music as unique from that of other hip-hop artists?

KNMy music is unique because I’m not particularly inspired by anybody’s sound.  My ideas come to me not when I’m listening to somebody’s song but when I’m just doing something random. My music isn’t confined to one type of music. There’s a lot of lyricism in there, a bit of trap, some weird sounds, and some beautiful melodies too. I haven’t heard a Kriss Newtone sound anywhere yet.

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CB: I enjoyed the ‘Sango’ song, what do you feel is the best song you have released and why?

KNWell, thank you, Sango is a bop. I love that song. My favorite I’d say Sipambi. I was this close to naming the EP Sipambi because it represents the same thing Avatar represents. If you’ve watched Avatar, you probably know that Aang was The Avatar and when he was in The Avatar State, all the previous Avatars and their power’s manifested in him. That’s the same with Sipambi. I take pride in my ancestral pride and Shumba Sipambis since time immemorial hence through me; they speak in this track of power and dominance. I’m rapping my ancestors.

CB: What skills have you learned that will help you in your singing career?

KNWell I have learned graphic designing and video editing. Starting to get better at vocal mixing and mastering and also beat making now. I’m becoming an all-rounder and yeah that’s great for my career.

CB: How do you manage to cope up with the competition in the music industry?

KNThe industry is big enough for all of us. And people have different tastes. Plus people have 1440 minutes a day to listen to any songs they want. I’m pretty sure we can all squeeze in.

CB: What is your dream collaboration with any rapper?

KNI have always wanted to make music with Roki since a young age. I always grew up hearing that he was my doppelganger. My dream has always been to be on a track with that legend.

CB: Do you face any challenges as an artist in the music arena?

KNIt’s hard being an artist in Zimbabwe. Sponsorship is scarce, and it’s hard to get corporate clients. There’s no money. And we got to eat, you know?

CB: Last but not least, any message to share with your fans as well as those who wish to join the hip hop sector.

KNThe love for my fans is immeasurable. And to all those who wish to join the Hip Hop sector, it’s a marathon, bring your endurance trainers.

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Charmaine Brown

Charmaine Brown is 27 years old, media personnel. She studied Media and Society Studies (2017-2020) at Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Charmaine had an internship at The Herald and presently is the Editor for My Afrika Magazine. She currently lives in Harare.

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