Hitmakers go head to head as ZAA nominees announced

A quintet of Zimbabwean global hit makers will do battle for this year’s coveted International Music Artist of the Year gong at the fifth annual Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) in London on 9 May.

Tinashe Kachingwe. Photo: nehandaradio.com
Tinashe Kachingwe. Photo: nehandaradio.com

Organisers of the prestigious red-carpet event recently announced over 85 nominees across 18 categories covering business, community work, media, sport and culture, literature and music. The nominees will be subjected to a public vote starting from 9 March till the end of April. Thereafter, an expert panel of ZAA judges will sift through the votes and apply a rigorous research-based assessment to arrive at the final winners.

ZAA Panel Chairperson, Dr Martha Chinouya, applauded the public’s enthusiastic participation in the nomination process as more than 500 nominations were received this year. “We’ve sifted through all the submissions that were put forward for this year’s event and emerged with a strong field of deserving candidates for recognition this year. People can now visit our website to vote for the nominees who have been shortlisted,” said Dr Chinouya.

The music category is a major highlight and cause for much excitement as it brings together five artists who have distinguished themselves remarkably over the past year. Millions across the world have sung along to Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z’s hit track ‘Drunk in Love’, but very few know about the track’s Zimbabwean producer, Brian Soko. He recently became the first Zimbabwean-born Grammy winner after the song notched up two awards at this year’s ceremony.

Joining Soko on the list is another US-based artist, newly emergent R&B star Tinashe Kachingwe. With millions of Youtube views for her underground mixtapes, Tinashe came over to London in 2013 to headline ZAA’s 2013 event. The following year, she released her critically acclaimed debut album, Aquarius, which spawned the hit song ‘2On’, featuring rapper Schoolboy Q.

UK-based versatile producer and ‘African dancehall ambassador to the world’, Jusa Dementor, also had a remarkable and highly productive 2014. With Zim Dancehall finally getting mainstream recognition in Zimbabwe, Jusa has not only contributed to that genre’s burgeoning success but has also fired up the spiritual home of the music, Jamaica. One of his major 2014 highlights was his production of the ‘Evidence Riddim’ which features a clutch of Jamaican heavyweights including Demarco, I-Octane and Jah Vinci.

Also weighing in with an illustrious 2014 firmly under his belt is US-based producer Tinashe Sibanda, aka T-Collar, who co-produced the hit song ‘Them Girls Be Like’ for the US girl group Fifth Harmony’s debut album, Reflection. Zimbabwe-based mbira songstress Hope Masike’s hard grinding work ethic saw her traverse the globe dishing out Mbira vibes from Asia to America and back to Africa, all in her stride.

Fuller profiles of this year’s nominees will be made available on the website to provide the voting public with helpful information about the achievements of all the shortlisted candidates.

This year’s ZAA will be held on the 9 May at the five-star Royal Garden Hotel in London’s affluent Kensington district. With spectacular views of Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens, the hotel provides a fitting setting to what is set to be an unforgettable event. ZAA Executive Director Brian Nyabunze urged the public to take advantage of the current ticket discount that will be ending soon, with prices reverting to the standard £89.95 from the current £69.95. “Our world class ticketing system allows you to choose your seats alongside your companions on the night. Groups and corporate bodies that would like to buy tables can also pick the best location in the auditorium, although such choices will increasingly become limited over the next couple of weeks. So hurry and book your table now,” said Nyabunze.

The ZAA is the premier platform within the UK Zimbabwean community for recognising and celebrating the achievements of people of Zimbabwean heritage. Last year’s event at the Royal Garden Hotel proved a hit with guests and organisers have promised to raise the bar even higher this year as the awards celebrate its fifth anniversary at the same venue.

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