Home Lifestyle Entertainment Gemma Griffiths : My Inspiration Comes From Expirience

Gemma Griffiths : My Inspiration Comes From Expirience

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Gemma Griffiths

It would be incomplete to talk about the Zimbabwean music scene of today without a mention of Afro Fusion star Gemm Griffiths. Gemma, known for her unique blend of Afro-fusion, incorporating elements of traditional African music with modern pop, rock and reggae. Her songs are often uplifting and inspirational, with powerful lyrics that resonate with her audience. A household name in her home country with 4 Zima’s (Zimbabwe music award) under her belt. She also counts another two awards from one of the Southern African country’s top radio stations – Star FM . Including string of nominations for the prestigious NAMA (National Art Merits), Mama’s (MTV Africa) and AFRIMMA awards. In short, Gemma, who grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe’s vibrant capital, has been putting in the work.

What was your upbringing like. What made the girl from Harare?

My upbringing. I grew up in a very, very open and warm household, full of music, full of people. There were always people coming in and out. I grew up with really supportive and wonderful parents who encouraged me to chase my dreams . to follow my dreams. My parents used to take me to watch a lot of live music growing up. I remember watching Baba Tuku for the first time in a small venue in the middle of downtown Harare. The moments like that where I would do that with my parents. I think was a really, really special way to learn about creativity and to be encouraged in that way.

 when did you start making music?

I started playing when I was very young. I did my first solo at around six years old, and I grew up in a very musical household. My mom played the trumpet and guitar, my grandpa played the clarinet, and my grandpa played the piano. And so, I always had instruments available and was encouraged to learn to play if I wanted to, and I did. I took to music really young, and I really, really loved it. And since then, it’s really been a massive part of my life and slowly evolved into a career as I got older. So, it didn’t really feel like a straight start, but more of an evolution as I grew.

How did you come up with your sound? What are the key components?

I think my sound has evolved as well as I have grown. I think my sound is definitely a blend of some of the influences. I listened to as a child from Zimbabwe. Some of the greats like Thomas Mapfumo, Baba Tuku, and Bob Nabinde. And some of the jazz greats that came before, such as Otis Redding, Louis Armstrong, and Etta James. As well as some of the new artists and their new work that have. You know, been on the scene in Zimbabwe recently, especially in the dancehall space, such as Winky D. The work of Levels and Fantan, Enzo, Aishel, and Matteo. These artists have really all had a massive impact on my work and my sound. And I think it’s sort of blended together with the experiences that I’ve had both within Zimbabwe and traveling across the African continent. To create the sort of jamma Afro fusion, Afro pop sound.

 What do collaborations mean to you?

 Collaborations are incredibly important to me. I think for me, music is connection, and it’s a way of sharing a piece of yourself. And when you sit down with someone, whether it’s an instrumentalist or a writer or a singer or a producer, to work and create something together, it is a moment of saying, this is me. This is a vulnerable and real piece of myself, my art, and my creativity. And I’m offering it to you.

And you know, we’re going to have a conversation and a back and forth, and it really is very real and very vulnerable. And I think it’s an amazing way to connect with people on a very different level—you know, a very real and deep level—through music and through sort of giving of yourself in that way. So, for me, collaboration is a really amazing way to vibe and connect with people, and I really love to do it.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

 I draw my inspiration from experience and from my surroundings. I think a lot of my inspiration comes from moments that I’m living in the everyday, you know, where I am in the world. Which is being in Zimbabwe and being, you know Africa, experiencing the African continent has been especially important to me. Because it’s in those moments, where music isn’t in isolation, with food and culture and just the hustle and bustle of it all. I think that is the real inspiration for me.

You sing to God in some of your songs. Is faith a close calls for you?

Absolutely. I think music is incredibly spiritual. It reaches and it’s able to break down barriers that a lot of things really can’t. I find that you know, no matter, no matter what age you are, no matter your background, no matter your taste and no matter your experience, everybody connects with music, you know. And in a very deep way, I’ve found, you know, the amount that it has really healed me. Also I really do believe that it’s spiritual and God is a big part of my life. And you know, I draw experience from I draw inspiration from the experiences in my life and God and his work in my life is a massive part of that. So, it only feels natural to sing about him

 What are some of the challenges you face in your career?

I would say, you know music isn’t always the easiest career choice because you never really know what’s going to work and what’s not going to work and how long it’s going to take. You know there’s no guarantee and it’s a lot of hard work and a lot of pouring out of yourself into something creative, you know and just sort of hoping that the world receives it in the way that it was intended. But ultimately, I think if you love what you do and the way that I am passionate about making music and that I know it is something that I was made to do it. It makes it all worth it, and it makes it all seem, you know, doable and manageable.

Africa is diversifying and the world at large. Can you speak on hegemony and music?

I think it’s a really, really exciting time for Afrobeats on a large scale. At the moment, The Afrobeat sound and the I’m A piano sound as well have been really making waves on an international level. We’ve seen incredible record-breaking moments from big Nigerian and South African artists. We’ve seen amazing moments on the international music scene from African artists, and it’s a really, really, really exciting space now for the continent. I think because Africa is so filled with amazing not only artists and singers but instrumentalists—you know, Sunguru guitar, amazing rhythms coming out of everywhere—there’s so much heritage and so much beauty in African music.

And it’s just really exciting to see how the world is catching on to this amazing culture. And that’s the exciting part about Afrobeats and the music: it’s so much more than just music. It’s culture, its dance, its fashion, its experience, its events, and its food. It’s all of it. And it’s just this energy. And yeah, I think it’s exciting to see the way that Afrobeat is taking over the world.

How is the world receiving you outside Zimbabwe?

You know, I’ve been working really hard on creating and fin creating sound, and it’s been really, really exciting to watch it grow not only within Zimbabwe but outside. I’ve had the privilege of traveling this past year and a half to a whole bunch of amazing places. I managed to travel alongside one of the living legends, Alec Macheso, to Dubai and to Australia, and we connected with the Diaspora, both Zimbabwe and the Diaspora, and people over there who really connected with the music, and that was such an amazing moment of sharing energy and connection.

I was also privileged enough to travel to the UKA a few times over the last few years, as well as India and the United States, and have been able to really connect with audiences, both friends and people listening to the music outside of Zimbabwe. And it’s just been amazing to watch how music has travelled, and hopefully this is the beginning of bigger growth, but it’s just very, very privileged to be able to take the Zimbabwean flag to the world and do my part as a lot of Zimbabwean artists are doing right now. It’s been amazing to watch as we all sort of branch into this next phase.

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