Q & A: Kazz, aka Mr Boomslang Talks The Music, Marriage, Going Solo and Much More

He is one half of Zimbabwe’s dynamic duo of brothers Bkay & Kazz. Together they have worked and released scintillating RnB, Reggae/Dancehall, Pop infused Afrobeat singles and albums, but now Kazz says he will be making his foray into the highly competitive music industry for the first time as a solo act.

Going Solo: Kazz aka Mr Boomslang

Riding Solo: Kazz aka Mr Boomslang

diaspoRAW.net sat down with Kazz to discuss this brave and impending move and heard him uphold the fact that he and his brother are still close and strong. He highlighted on their union over the issue of his mother’s recent illness and how they have survived through it, although they were forced to go into what seemed like a musical hiatus. He however promised a strong return and for the fans to get ready for an explosion in the upcoming weeks, months and year.

Kazz talked about the duo’s last effort before he goes solo, Jigsaw, which comes out on Christmas Day. The newly married singer opened up about his love for his new bride and more. Read the interview below.

Hi Kazz. How are you doing.

Kazz: I am good. You alright man?

I’m fine thanks. First of all congratulations on your wedding and how’s it all going?

Kazz: Thanks my man! It’s going really well, we’ve settled in nicely, we’re enjoying married life and the flat’s all set up, finally got that homely feeling! Studios all set up so it’s all good! Looking forward to getting away for our Honeymoon round February time, so quite excited about that!

How did this come about, did you actually propose on the (Sweet Girl) music video set?

Kazz: Yes, and no. I actually took Shafina to Zimbabwe earlier this year. I wanted her to meet my parents and see Zim for herself. And of course, the motherland spoke for itself, she liked it. I proposed to her at Kyle Dam, by the dam wall in Masvingo. It’s almost surreal actually, it was beautiful, the sun was setting and it felt right. I got down on one knee and asked her if she would like to spend the rest of her life with me. She couldn’t even say yes, she just nodded.
The song Sweet Gal was actually written for her as a dedication to her. When we shot the video for Sweet Gal, I wanted the people that weren’t there for the proposal to see that this is for real; I wanted people to see this is my sweet girl, the perfect girl for me. This track was written for my sweet gal and for all the sweet gals out there who deserve to have a good guy by their side.

Sweet Love: Shafina and Kazz

Sweet Couple: Shafina and Kazz

So how do you define a Sweet Girl?

Kazz: A good girl; someone who listens and takes advice, someone who’s intelligent, funny, faithful and polite. Someone who supports you and has your back no matter what; most importantly, someone who inspires you, has morals and knows the difference between right and wrong. You know a woman who can hold her own is a woman worth having, an independent type with a wifey element, a woman that will tell you how it is and when you’re wrong, that’s my definition of a sweet girl.

Did those aspects make you pop the question to your particular sweet girl?

Kazz: Yes, definitely! Prior to meeting my sweet girl, I have met with plenty of girls. I’m a musician and I enjoyed my single life, but I knew wifey had to meet certain criteria and she ticked all the boxes. For me personally, a girl with morals is always going to be more attractive than one without. I could have looked for a girl from back home, a Zimbabwean girl, but I was lucky enough to find someone of Kenyan origin, so still has those attractive morals of a girl from back home. She’s focused, she has her head screwed on, she’s self motivated and career focused, supportive and just what I had been searching for.

That’s wonderful, all the best for you two.

Kazz: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

So let’s move on to the music. What vibe would you describe your latest solo single Sweet Girl as?

Kazz: Ok, so this beat was produced by Jusa Dementor. The instrumental was actually made for another one of our Zimbabwean artists, African Child. He sent me his new single “Summer Time”, when I listened to it, the beat just hit me so I did what I had to and bought the rights of him to use it. I got thumbs up from Jusa and used it to write my summer jam.

It gave me that very summer-ish vibe, so the song ended up with a beautiful summer slash pop slash dancehall feel to it. I also tried to keep the urban side at the same time writing a summer pop song, similar to those by, who can I say? Sean Paul, Chris Martin style of pop songs, so it crosses all genres.

I’m an upcoming artist looking to get out there; I’m actually working on my first solo album at the moment. There’s 3 album titles to choose from but I haven’t made up my mind yet! There’s “Jack of All Master of Some”, “The Life We Chose” and I’ve also got, “Walking into History” I think the final decision will be made after the albums completed.

You probably guessed that, that was going to be my next question. So when will it be coming out, the solo album?

Kazz: I’m looking to release my album at some point next year, but I need to release the Bkay & Kazz album first. That’s due to drop on Christmas Day so (we are) just adding final touches to that. We’ve decided to call it “Jigsaw”, as in jigsaw puzzle. Let’s just say this album is full of variety. Bkay & I have had a hectic couple of years, so the music went quiet, mum became ill and Bkay had to go back to Zimbabwe to be closer to mum and also help dad, hence the little break. It’s been difficult but we’re back and we’ve got a double album packed full of our best work yet.

Oh, I was going to ask, if that’s what influenced the break (mum’s illness)?

Kazz: Yeah, Bkay has been back in Zim for the last year. I went back home in April and we recorded two tracks while we were there, and finished the last two tracks when he came for the wedding in November. Our first release from the album Jigsaw was the track, “Mercy” and we recently dropped the latest one called “Be Alone” which also features another of Zim’s finest, Karizma. Jigsaw’s definitely the one you need to watch out for. The name “Jigsaw” was actually chosen because of all the different concepts, materials, styles and sounds we’ve come across in the last 2 years. All the individual projects pieced together nicely like a puzzle.

You mentioned that you have a number of other Zimbabwean artists on this and your solo album.

Kazz: Yep, on “Jigsaw” we’ve got our very own Boomslang artists, Jonah, Munetsi and TK Paradza. We also have a track featuring Carlprit. Trust me when I say this albums definitely going to be worth the wait.

My solo album features the likes of Narco, Metaphysics, JJC & Rozzalla Miller. There are more in the pipeline, but not confirmed as yet. 

Last BKay ‘N Kazz Album Before Kazz Solo Effort: Jigsaw Dropping 24 December 2013

Last BKay ‘N Kazz Album Before Kazz Solo Effort: Jigsaw Dropping 25 December 2013

You can enjoy the full prelease stream on this link or by clicking the image above.

Ok, you represent Southern Africa. Clearly, in your music, you’ve got that Dancehall (Reggae), RnB, Afropop, all mixed up in one. Can you tell us a bit more about that element?

Kazz: Yeah, Afrobeats, Afropop, Dancehall, Reggae, RnB that type of stuff.

What contrast do you make, between what you do and West African type Afrobeats? I say this because when anyone mentions Afrobeats, they talk about West African specific songs and stuff. No one really ever mentions the Southern African equivalent; everyone just mentions Azonto, and the likes of….?

Kazz: Azonto (influenced music) is one of the most recognised components of Afrobeats right now. For us personally we try and dabble with a bit of that house element, I mean, people like Liquideep. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them? We try to relate to their stuff because they’ve got that nice RnB flow with a little fusion of house involved. So when it comes to the Azonto infused Afrobeats style of music, we try and keep that as well.

Do you think it’s a challenge to successfully bring up the Southern Afrobeats elements to the common Afrobeats table?

Kazz: Yeah, it is a challenge because there are certain things that we’ve got to represent, we’ve got to represent where we come from, we’ve got to represent the kind of music that we’re doing, we’ve got to represent Africa as a whole and we’ve got to represent ourselves.

Alright. So what other things are in the works?

Kazz: Well, recently I featured with JJC on his latest track “International African”. We’re looking to shoot a music video for that soon, that’ll probably be sometime in the new year though. We also did a collaboration with him a while back for the track “We Are Africans”.

So moving on, who inspires you the most, musically?

Kazz: I’ve got a lot of influence from a lot of places, Otis Reading from the whole Soul side of things and people like Akon. My biggest influence is probably R.Kelly for the fact that he comes up with so many different concepts, the way he plays around with his ideas is amazing. So he’s probably one of my biggest influences, from an artistic perspective, not just the lifestyle he chose or what he does.

You know; there are other influences who are my friends as well, Jusa Dementor, Winky D, and upcoming people like Money B. I see them on the grind every day. We tell each other, keep on grinding. Obviously people like Michael Jackson are the gurus of the industry so we try and write those hits that stay forever.

So if you were not doing music today, what do you reckon you would be doing?

Kazz: Well, apart from music, I also do a lot of other things. Like you already know, I am part of a label called Boomslang Production. In Boomslang there are lot of things that we do. We do audio engineering, we do videos, we do advertisements and we just started a new clothing line as well. We also have artists that we also manage as well, so apart from focusing on my own personal music; we’ve got artists such as Nash Daddy, Jonah, TK Paradza, Munetsi, Decibel, a lot of upcoming artists. So essentially I would have still been in the entertainment industry one way or another, even if I was not an artist.

I understand your family; your parents were in the music business as well?

Kazz: Yeah, my dad is a musician and also one of my role models.

So you were born in it then?

Kazz: Yeah I was born in it. I’ve been doing this thing for a long time.

Ok, how often do you go back home then?

Kazz: I’m planning on going back next year April. I think it’s time for Zimbabwe could do with a little bit of Boomslang Production magic. (Laughs)

Is that a regular thing (going back and forth to Africa), or is it a whenever you can thing?

Kazz: Well at the moment we try and keep it international. We are still working as Zimbabwean artists, but reping internationally.

So when you are out there, what do you enjoy to eat?

Kazz: I’ve got two favourite dishes out there. I’ve got sadza, muriwo and steak. That’s one of my favourite meals, and my other one is curry chicken, rooti and peas.

Alright, what do you think are the advantages of you being here (in the UK) as compared to being and working in Africa?

Kazz: Well, first and foremost, you guys are Diasporaw, so it’s a good question. For me personally, the advantages of being in a first world country are that, it’s a whole lot faster than Africa so we get to see things that were developed before Africa even smelt them. For instance, internet in this country is amazing. It’s a blessing obviously because it makes us work quicker. Every place has disadvantages and advantages.

In an international country like the United Kingdom, it makes you realise that time is money. Having that in mind, you are always on the grind because you know that every second and every minute is valuable. Successful people in Africa are those who understand the value of time. You get to learn a lot this side. If I was in Africa I wouldn’t have learnt how to operate the camera or learn how to edit as quickly as I have here.

Once you understand values, you can take home what you have learnt and use it to your advantage. Knowledge truly is power. To be successful, you have to be ahead of the game.     

Man With A Vision: Kazz aka Mr Boomslang

Man With A Vision: Kazz aka Mr Boomslang

So if you had something to change right now, what would it be?

Kazz: If I could change anything, it would have been to realise our potential sooner, to make the most of our talents and to have been more dedicated from a younger age. My brother and I were always told to perform for occasions and I’m sure if we would have taken music more seriously years ago, who knows where we would be now and what kind of achievements we would have under our belts right now. Though I am thankful that by Gods good grace, I am where I am today.

It’s quite amazing, you guys won a big competition in the UK didn’t you?

Kazz: Yes, we won a competition called Live and Unsigned back in the day, beating over 30000 other applicants. We came up with two prizes actually. We won the overall competition and the best duo prize as well. It was pretty awesome, that was obviously the platform for understanding the entertainment industry on a professional level and therefore a benefit for us. I always look at that as our initial stepping stone. Because after that we realised that this is more than just a game, it’s serious you know. There is a business aspect to this thing. We always thank the people from Live and Unsigned for giving us an eye opener into the first world.

This will probably be the last question. What is the future like and what have you got to say to your fans and the world at large?

Kazz: Firstly, I would like to thank my fans for being patient. We’ve had so many people ask why we haven’t released anything for so long, but there has been so much going on we just haven’t had a chance. Mums situation impacted us in such a way that we were on standstill, emotions were all over the place, and we didn’t know what the coming months were going to bring. BKay left within a month of mum becoming ill and it wasn’t easy being alone on this side. It’s been very hard, but we would like to say thank you to the fans for the continued support. We hope that this album that we are dropping will tick all the boxes and make up for our silence. We hope the fans will continue with the support and spread the word, we want to show the world that we are doing it just like the likes of Fuse and P-Square, so we can hold our flag high and say yes, we are here to represent Zimbabwe, and Africa in general.

It’s been good talking to you Mr Kazz. Thank you so much for taking some time out to chat with us.

Kazz: No, thank you. I also want to let the fans know that my new stage name is Mr Boomslang, so it’s Kazz, aka Mr Boomslang.

Again, thank you so much for sharing with us.

Kazz: Anytime, Thank You.

 

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