Spotlight: ‘Zvichaita Bho’, Jason Gwanzura’s latest Single fuses trap with reassurance

Spotlight: ‘Zvichaita Bho’, Jason Gwanzura’s latest Single fuses trap with reassurance

Jason Gwanzura is a Christian rapper, producer, pianist and engineer who carries a vision “to bring glory to God regardless of the genre or art style”. In 2022 he released an album titled “Progress: Collection One” which is a nine-track album blending genres of R’n’B, Hip Hop and Afro-fusion.

The album features artists such as J. Soldier and Alfred Tembo and culminated in a win in the ‘Best Gospel Hip Hop Act’ from the 2022 Zimbabwe Hip Hop Awards.

The young artist recently released a single titled “Zvichaita Bho” which fuses trap music with a message of reassurance. We caught up with the young man to talk about his artistry, his career journey and the musical influence that is a big part of his life. *KM – Kudzai Mhangwa, JG – Jason Gwanzura

KM: Hello Jason Gwanzura! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

JG: Hie I’m Jason Gwanzura, I’m a rapper, singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, record label owner, mixing and mastering engineer and studio owner (InHis.Img Studio).

KM: You’ve been working as a musician and specifically a Christian rapper for a while. How has that journey been for you?

JG: So the journey has been pretty interesting and one of the biggest temptations that have been there is comparing myself to every other Christian rapper or Christian artist just to fit in. But what has kept me grounded is knowing the call God has put on my life patterning [to] my music. God has put a call on my life to share the gospel with others through my personal experiences, in my music. So, in every song that I make it’s all personal. I unravel myself.  A lot of things that my parents do not know about me that my friends do not know about me, I put it in the music. If you listen to a song called ‘Honest’ not many people knew I was going through that. If you listen to the song ‘Running Out of Time’ just the entire ‘Progress’ EP collection it’s a bunch of songs I made that are all personal to me and lead people to the Lord and how God has helped me through those different things that I’ve gone through. But overall, it’s been a pretty interesting journey overall especially 2022. Me winning the Zim Hip Hop Award was such a surprise. I was never expecting it but it was encouragement for me from God to keep on going and to keep on pushing. Besides that, God has brought me further than I used to be to who I am now in my career. Before I was the Jason Gwanzura that you all know me as, I used to go by the name Pointless Emotions and I’d make a lot of depressed music which wasn’t helping anybody but God flipped the script, helped me improve over the years and it’s like a black and white difference from where I started and where I am.

From the young kid who used to perform at youth churches and youth groups while reading lyrics from his phone (Laughs) to the young man who’s literally sharing the stage with Pastor G at a Zim Praise concert who’s performed at the Amplified festival, who’s performed on bigger stages now at a different pace, performing at Bryan K’s album launch it’s been an amazing thing to see what God can do when you just stay faithful in the area that he’s called you in despite the discouragement that may come along the way.

The journey has definitely not been easy but I’m trusting God through it, I know I’m walking in alignment with His will for my life and that there is way more important to me than anything anyone else has to say.

KM: Your YouTube channel reads “music with a message”. Anytime you release music does it always carry a message and if so, how do you ensure that happens?

JG: Every song I release carries a message and always carries a message that’s the most important thing to me. I don’t want to make bubble-gum music. I don’t want to make music that loses flavour the next day, I want to make music that is real that relates to me and to the next person and that can inspire them in one way or the other. So, every song I’ve released has a meaning and if I’m making a song, I make sure that it has a meaning. If I make a song that doesn’t have a meaning, I probably won’t release it.

KM: Your most recent release is a song titled “Zvichaita Bho”. How was it like putting together that piece of music?

JG: Funnily enough when I was making the song “Zvichaita Bho” I was very discouraged especially musically. I felt like things just weren’t working out in many different areas. So I was playing around with different sounds on the computer and I just found myself making a beat, I heard a guitar loop and I instantly started humming ‘Zvichaita bho, zvichaita one day’ [It will work out, it will work out one day] and it ministered to my spirit, it was like the Lord at that time was encouraging me through those times. Even now every time I listen to the song it still encourages me because, yes I do make music for everyone but sometimes God writes through me to encourage me as well. So ‘Zvichaita Bho’ is one of those songs that have encouraged me personally. That’s initially how it [the song] came about then I found myself recording it, mixing it and producing it. It was such a vibe and a seamless process that’s how you know you’re making a good song, for me.

KM: What’s your wish for “Zvichaita Bho” to accomplish?

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JG: Man, I really hope that it will touch everybody who’s feeling discourage about what they’re pursuing or what their doing or where they’re at in life. That it’ll be alright that God’s got you, that don’t be too consumed by where you are right now that you do not see where God wants to take you despite what you’re going through right now. One thing I’ve learned is that there’s two types of people in life, those who go through something and stay in a state of self-pity and those who pick themselves up and keep on going taking every loss as a lesson and that’s the kind of mentality I’m trying to push through the song because I didn’t want to drown in self-pity when I was going through what I was going through when I wrote the song. The Bible teaches that encourage yourself and David encouraged himself in the Lord. “Zvichaita Bho” is a declaration which is suppose to encourage you in the Lord knowing that he’s got it all in control. I’m really hoping that it will reach a high level of impact, so far it’s been well received. It’s not about the streams or the numbers but for me that would be good if it reached and encouraged as many people as possible.

KM: A while ago I did a report about Gospel music in Zimbabwe and I mentioned a very prominent figure in it [the article] who goes by the stage name, Pastor G. Pastor G’s music and work is so important to me as a person and his influence has been profound in my life and in gospel music I believe. How is it like being the son of such a prominent figure?

JG: It’s been interesting but the only down side of it is a lot of the time people want to put you in the shadow of your father. Not that its about the spotlight but most people will put me in the shadow. I remember an article [about me] read ‘Pastor G’s son won an award’ instead of Jason Gwanzura wins an award for best gospel act. Sometimes it tends to discredit the amount of work you’re putting in and the brand you’re building on your own. It’s not that I want all of the glory to myself but I want people to understand I’m just like you. I’m just pushing as well, I save up for my own equipment, I literally work hard to get where I am to get on the stages I perform at but people will think because your dad is Pastor G he’s put you on that platform. But other than that, it’s nice being his son because he inspires me a lot. I’ve seen the way he works hard, the way he pushes, how he’s determined, the way he loves God and something that has overflowed into me as well in terms of my music, my love for God, the wisdom I carry; I inherited from him. I can attribute my musicality to him. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling, more sweet than bitter.

KM: I watched a video of Andrea Bocelli’s (Italian tenor) son (Matteo Bocelli) in which he is asked if he wants to be like his father when he grows up, then in his young age, he sings one of his father’s famous songs. As a young boy did you dream of being like your father?

JG: No I did not dream of being like my dad. I had a dream of being a DJ/pastor when I was younger but as I grew up listening to Lecrae and the like that’s when I thought of being a Christian rapper but I did not think I’d turn out to be an actual musician I thought I’d be a lawyer. 

KM: There are many nay sayers who target Christian rap especially. How do you feel about that and have you received any criticism?

JG: To be honest I understand them because sometimes Christian rap can be very unrelatable. Noone wants to hear in a track ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ but when you testify through rap as a Christian artist it does something for people, if you’re able to make people feel related to and tell your story in such a way that people can see God differently, people will be moved. People will come to Christ and people’s perception of Christian rap will change. It shouldn’t even be called Christian rap, it should just be called rap because it’s art too. People call it Christian rap so we have an excuse to not exercise proper literally devices and make sure it’s excellent and competitive. But if we make music that is competitive in the market people are compelled to listen to it so its also good for us to make music with excellence, Chrisitan rap that is artistic and is at the same level as secular music in terms of quality, storytelling, etcetera. There a lot of people who are doing that such as Red I Am, Leon Mwana waJose, Reaper, AMB, Teckmullar and many more.

I know Christian rap has a bad rep but it changes so many lives. Some people became Christian again because of the testimony in a rap song. It helped me to become serious with my walk with Christ. It helped me to have my mind renewed as well because secular rap usually glorifies sex, drugs, money and substance abuse and nothing good comes from that. But when I hear someone testify about what they’ve gone through a track and how they got out they’re showing me solutions, they’re not just bringing me problems. I don’t care about the negative criticism, personally I have received some critique as well at some point but because of how unconventional my music can be people have received it pretty well.

KM: How was it like winning the Zimbabwe Hip Hop Award for best Christian act?

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JG: It was a surprise; I didn’t expect to win because I didn’t think I was good enough because of my unconventional music. My music isn’t the typical Hip Hop that you hear everywhere. It was such a surprise more so; it was a pleasant surprise because I believe God was encouraging me that time because I was very discouraged before I got that award. I had released my first album collection ‘Progress: Collection One’ that year and it didn’t make as much waves I thought it would and that sucked, it really sucked. When I got that award God was encouraging me to keep on going and that I’m on the right path and that he’s with me. It’s isn’t about the reward but the symbol that represents hope for me, from God. It was a reminder that God sees what I’m doing and there are people listening out there.

KM: What can people expect from you in the future? What are your goals and vision?

JG: This year people can expect a lot more music, I’ve been working on an album which I’m hoping to release soon in about a few months. It’s currently in our libraries (Laughs). People can expect a lot of content from me as well. I’ll be sharing some things from my life; revelations God has given me and a lot of performances too. On 16th of June, I have Mabel Madondo’s live DVD recording where I’ll be performing. Stay tuned in for that. I also want to further the record label I founded, it has so many talented artists the likes of Elizabeth Tendai, Kelvin Madeit, Francis Kirisama, Char, Yochin, Michael Kalidi, Celestial Keys, Coco Shani (graphic designer and animator) and a lot of us who are really talented. There’s a lot in store especially with this record label I believe it will be really explosive impact. I’m waiting to see what he’s going to do. My vision to put out music that is going to make an impact the same way music has impacted me positively.

KM: Apart from music what else is Jason Gwanzura into? Any secret talents you possess?

JG: Apart from music, Jason likes basketball, he loves basketball. I really enjoy playing basketball. I think it’s a secret talent. I’m a bit of a rooky here and there but then I think that’s also my thing (Laughs). I also do art. I draw a lot; I used to paint and need to get back into it. I like cinematography and videography; these are skills that I’m learning.

KM: It was such a delight to engage you, congrats on the release of the new song and best wishes. What are your final words for our readers?

JG: Thank you so much for having me here and for the best wishes. My final words would be, keep on going. We all know what happens when we stop but if we think of what will happen if you continue and the endless possibilities especially when God is in it then there’s nothing but greatness ahead of it. Continue to trust God, continue to keep on pushing on what God has put on your heart don’t live according to everyone else’s life and vision but know God’s prescription for your life and keep on going.   

Kudzai Mhangwa

Kudzai Mhangwa is a writer, actor and musician. He writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. His work has been featured on House of Mutapa, Atrebla Magazine, Ka'edi Africa, Poetry Soup and elsewhere.

One thought on “Spotlight: ‘Zvichaita Bho’, Jason Gwanzura’s latest Single fuses trap with reassurance

  1. Jason is so well spoken and truly inspiring. Having met him in person I can tell you that the writer of this article did a great job at capturing the essence of what it’s like to talk to him. I believe in that guy, he’s such a wonderful asset to the Kingdom of God and as long as He stays committed to His calling, He’s definitely going to shake the spirit realm and bring more people to Christ.

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