Q & A with BKay n Kazz, the next big thing

Brothers on a Mision: BKay 'N Kazz

Brothers on a Mision: BKay ‘N Kazz

UK based dynamic musical duo, BKay N Kazz are promising to become the next big thing in the music industry. Hailing all the way from Masvingo in Zimbabwe, the brothers have now set base in the city of Milton Keynes south east of England. B-Kay & Kazz have come from making toddler melodies and growing up around music and musical instruments to topping the southern African charts and participating in the 2007 Live and Unsigned competition in the U.K. In Live and Unsigned, the second biggest music competition in the U.K. after The X-Factor, they progressed through all the tough stages of the competition to emerge as the final winners, therefore beating 30 000 other contestants.

Thereafter, they began a life of touring and recording. Among the acts that they have shared the stage with are, Jay Sean, Sean Kingston, Ne-Yo, Donell Jones, Marques Houston, Day 26, Sisqo, and Zimbabwean superstars Oliver Mtukudzi and Andy Brown. They released their debut Single ‘You Know it’s Right’ in 2008 and it peaked at number 29 in the U.K. Top 40 Charts! Early this year, they teamed up with rapper Carlprit to make the hit song, “See You at the Top”, which made it to number one in most Southern African charts. As if that was not enough, they went on to release another single in October 2010, entitled “7 Wonders”, which was inspired by their land of birth, Zimbabwe.
In the song ‘7 Wonders’, they describe the marvellous features of Zimbabwe and how much they miss them when they are away from home. They attempt to recite the poetic sound of the traditional instruments they grew up around, namely the drum and the ‘hosho’. Like their fellow countryman Tinashe, they give praise to the amazing Victoria Falls and pay tribute to the nature defying Great Zimbabwe which is located a few miles away from their home. On the song, they can be heard describing their favourite features of Zimbabwe in a way that an RNB singer would describe the beautiful features of his/her lover. Kazz makes reggae/dancehall style chants with the phrase “Boomslang in a di place” and calls for everyone to join in on the chorus. In the song’s video, the two are seen waving Zimbabwe’s national flag and videos and images of the ‘7 wonders’ of the country are shown all through the three and half minute clip.

‘7 wonders’ is only one of their many songs which are sung in their unique Soulful Reggae brand, a fusion of R & B and Reggae/Dancehall. Other songs will also feature on their next album, to be released in early 2011.

BKay N Kazz’s hard work and commitment to their county of birth has not gone without recognition. They have been nominated in the best male artist category in the forthcoming Zim Awards in U.K. and they are calling for their fans to vote for them. We decided to do a Q&A with them in order to get a clear picture of where they are really coming from and where they are going.

Where were you born?

BKay N Kazz: We were born in Malawi but brought up in Zimbabwe to a Zimbabwean father and Malawian mother.

How did you come up with your stage names

BKay N Kazz: B-Kay: my nickname as a child was Budgie (don’t ask!!) and combined with my surname – the initials B.K. stuck eventually becoming stage name “Bkay”

Kazz : my stage name comes from the infamous “Kazzinova” Great Lady’s Man – Need I say more….

Smooth Operators: BKay 'N Kazz

Smooth Operators: BKay ‘N Kazz

What genres did you grow up listening to?

BKay N Kazz: Our father was a musician so we were exposed to a variety of genres but the ones that stuck out was Soul, Reggae, Pop and Mseve,..

When did you start singing and performing and do you play any instruments?

BKay N Kazz: We started singing when BKay was 7 and Kazz was just 3 years old. Kazz plays guitar, keyboard and drums and so much more. He has also been trained as a classical guitarist.

Who is your fan base?

BKay N Kazz: Our fan base ranges from the elderly folk, right through to the teenagers as well as the little kids. This is reflected our unique genre which embraces every style of music in each of our tracks.

Some of your lyrics are in Shona, is there any special reason why that is so?

BKay N Kazz: As mentioned previously, we grew up in Zimbabwe and in particular, spent a great deal of our childhood on the farm when we interacted with Zimbabweans of all races. We speak Shona fluently, as well as Chichewa (our maternal language). We therefore try to make sure this translates into our music and expresses our colourful background.

Do you think there is a chance for African artists like you to become more mainstream. I mean like Tinie Tempah, Katy Perry and others?

BKay N Kazz: Yes definitely, there has been many success stories from African who have made it into mainstream music – talking as far back as Miriam Makeba, Youssour Ndour, Rozalla Miller & not forgetting Senegal’s own AKON. Carlprit from Zimbabwe also featured on a number 1 Hit with “Evacuate the Dance Floor”. We hope that this also becomes a success story for BKay & Kazz.

Zambian/Zimbabwean, Rozalla Miller broke through to the mainstream with singles such as Everydody’s free. Do you think it was because she was doing anything differently or was she just lucky?

BKay N Kazz: Rozalla is a talented artist who was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. She totally deserved the success that she had! We have every admiration for her.

Do you relate to Rozalla’s success?

BKay N Kazz: Rozalla’s genre of music is different to our style and secondly, she got to her heights through a different route. The success we experienced with Live & Unsigned is completely different but more part of today’s culture of talent shows.

What unique abilities do you have to offer to the music industry at large, based on your backgrounds?

BKay N Kazz: Our mixed ethnic background is the most unique aspect of our personae. We feel that this gives our music a very different sound!

I know you have worked or maybe continue to work with Carlprit of the ‘Evacuate the Dancefloor’ fame how did this get to happen?

BKay N Kazz: We were approached by CEO of GANDANGA MUSIC Herbert Schwamborn to collaborate and we have been working with them and continue to work with them.

Are there any other major artists that you work with or hope to become involved with musically?

BKay N Kazz: Oliver Mtukudzi, Akon, Iyaz, Audius, P Square, R.Kelly, T Pain and many more that are creating their mark in the industry.

You won the Live & Unsigned contest in 2007 how did it feel and was that the highlight of your careers?

BKay N Kazz: Winning this competition was great for us as artists trying to break into the mainstream market. Once we entered the UK Top 40 with “You Know its Right” – immediately we were thrust into the international arena, where we were given the opportunity to open shows for artists such as Neyo, Sean Kingston, O’Marion & the like,

Do you think living in the Diaspora will help you achieve your career goals? If so, how and if not, why?

BKay N Kazz: There are pros & cons of living in the diaspora when it comes to our career but at the moment the positives outweigh the negatives. The technical expertise in the music industry surpasses what is available in Zim and this enables us to make music that is on the same level as international artists. Also it gives us an advantage of a wider fan base of overseas Zimbabweans than if we were just based in Zim only. Fortunately, we manage to come home once a year to reconnect with our identity, culture and roots.

Your fist album was called Boomslang, what is the meaning of the term?

BKay N Kazz: Boomslang is a venomous snake indigenous to Southern Africa. We wanted to identify with the lethal talent and lyrics that are pure poison!!! Boomslang is also the name of our Company that is responsible for Music , sound engineering, Video production And marketing of the work we do.

What inspired your recent single and album title, 7 Wonders?

BKay N Kazz: 7 wonders is meant to draw Zimbabweans into a nostalgic reminiscence of our beautiful country. Zimbabweans abroad and at home will be proud at the depictions enacted in the lyrics and video images of this track. The song describes the seven wonders of Zimbabwe and illustrates the people’s culture and lifestyle. This New Single has been released for download on all Major online stores…..

Download ‘7 Wonders’ and other songs on iTunes

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