This year's search for
Zimbabwe's own singing idol has kicked off with auditions in Mutare, Bulawayo
and Harare. The winner of the competition (the CBZ A Academy) will win a
recording deal. Last year's teenager idol, 18-year-old Jonah Sithole, has just
released his debut album 'Diversity'. But critics say it fails to live up to
the hype his winning the contest created. Voice of America English to Africa
Service reporter Derek Moyo in Harare, Zimbabwe, says Sithole's 10-track CD has
failed to rock local music charts, despite its executive producer Gary Thompson
pleading with the media to give the idol "a chance".
The CD cover features Thompson
praising Sithole, who he describes as a sensational, original, and talented
individual who has a "great attitude." The producer concludes by writing "You gotta believe in him,
Unfortunately, Sithole's CD
fails to impress. Local critics have slated Sithole's performance as
"lacking identity". They also argue there's nothing Zimbabwean about
The opening track on Sithole's
album is titled Diversity. It also features Tapiwa Mugadza and an artist called
"Young Doe". The lyrics urge people to unite, while celebrating their
diversity. This is not a new sentiment; in fact critics say it sounds more like
he's copying African leaders appeals for an African renaissance.
The tracks on the CD are
heavily influenced by American R'n'B and contains up-tempo beats.
Like most other young
Zimbabwean musicians, Sithole sings about love. Tracks dealing with matters of the heart include 'Equation of me
and you', 'Ease Up', 'Puerto-Rican Girl', 'Need to know' and 'Right Now'.
While Sithole has been
described as an American imitation with his baggy jeans and "bling
bling" chains, he insists he has an identity.
In his only Shona song, titled
Kwandinobva (Where I come from", Sithole sings about how he grew up
listening to Oliver Mtukudzi and the late Marshal Munimunwe's Four Brothers.
While some might not like his
style, Sithole will no doubt inspire fellow aspiring young musicians who're
eager to get the same chance that the CBZ A Academy gave him.
These musicians may not become wealthy or
praised for a trend-setting style, but they will achieve their five minutes of
fame, thanks to having their faces splashed across newspapers, posters and on