Building from ground up with Walter Wanyanya

When he is not designing his next events and artists management he is on biking trails around the country, and regional.

Humble beginnings don’t have to distinguish you ,Walter has risen from being the son of a maid to leading one of enormous musical festivals in Zimbabwe the Jacaranda Festival and working with superstars in Africa in Hugh Masikela and Oliver Mtukudzi. I soaked all the knowledge from a distance now I had a chance to help document one of the most important stories in the music and entertainment industry.

Greetings from the other side, Covid-19 has changed a lot for us right?

Grettings brother, this is most definitely true and I sure hope we all somehow get used to the “new normal”

From being a guitarist to leading Events Promoter and Producer, how did that happen?

I guess life for me took its natural course in this regard, I didn’t plan for it to turn out that way, I was clueless as to what I wanted to do with my life as I didn’t get much help in career guidance, all I knew was I wanted to play music as a bass player. It’s a bit of a long story but I was exposed to music at Celebration Church and it was known as Hear The Word Church back then. My mother was a single mother and she was working for an amazing family as a maid and we lived with them on their property. They soon became my second family because they had two sons age who naturally became my friends. They took me to church one Sunday and the rest as they say is history. This is where I first saw a full band playing music and having a good time doing it and I knew I wanted to also play music like those guys. I eventually found myself in a book store and bought myself a beginners guide to learning how to play bass, I taught myself how to play by reading this book and I would then practice what I would read at church in between services because I didn’t have a bass guitar of my own. Fast forward a few years I was now playing touring and recording with the main Celebration Church band. This was all I wanted to do for the rest of my life but I had to get a job, so I was offered to train with a computer company that was being run by one of the guys in the church. This is also how my journey into me getting into being a certified Apple Technician, another story for another day. So as I grew in business now and I couldn’t continue playing in the band at church but I still wanted to be part of the music, I couldn’t ignore it because is all I have ever wanted to do. I found myself managing artists and eventually producing live events. My events company Ngoma Nehosho was established because I had to formalize how I was working with artists and make sure all was done professionally. 

You’re also a tech support specialist and man of many talents

Yes I am, I am a certified Apple Technician and I run an Apple Dealership, have been working with Apple products for the past 20 years now. 

You started Ngoma Nehosho, why and how was the entertainment landscape then and now?

When Ngoma Nehosho was established it was after some years of working in the music scene informally, as soon as we became a force we had to set it up so that we could do more in Zimbabawe and on the continent. The landscape hasn’t changed much since inception. The current pandemic has however changed much of what we were used to in events and entertainment.

Music/Artist management is a like the CIA in Zimbabwe. Why is it like that?

I wouldn’t say it’s like the CIA, I would say artist management is more like a marriage between the artist and the manager. You become one unit, how you work, your direction for the music, your plans, everything has to be in sync, you both have to be speaking the same language, dreaming the same dream, be on the same journey, the minute that changes you will find that will be the turning point for that “marriage”.

Walter Wanyanya and Oliver Mtukudzi

What are the three most difficult things to do in Management?

One – First is the actual decision to say I will manage this person, choosing who will work with is a difficult decision because it’s usually very long term. 

Two- Gaining each other’s trust is for me the next difficult thing but if you took time to carefully choose who works with trust will not be a hard thing to overcome.

Three – Managing business success, financial success, and managing your artists once certain levels of whatever they may see as success is another one. Once you as a team succeed you now need to succeed at success and that is a whole other beast. 

What does a management has to know before picking an artist to manage?

I would say know the person, know the man or the woman as a person before they get on stage, will they be able to give a lot of what is needed for growth and success as an artist is not really about how much someone is talented, its habits, its character, it’s a lot to do with who they are off stage and out of the studio. I was lucky that all the artists I have worked with had this as a plus.

Any Policy change Creatives should be advocating for?

It should be easy for us to have partners and people we worth with to come to Zimbabwe and work with us. A lot of growth with happen for artists when they interact and work with artists and creatives from other countries. Dr. Mtukudzi gained a lot from being able to work with so many different acts on stage and off stage because he traveled a lot and that provided the opportunity to collaborate. A lot of our younger acts and creatives cant travel as much and as extensively as him but we can bring others here and that process to bring in creatives to Zimbabwe is long, painful, full of red tape, and should be made as easy as we have sportsman come into Zimbabwe to take part in games, etc but for the creatives, it is so difficult.

Being an Event Promoter what are some of the terrains that are hard to navigate?

The above the worst for me and also we do not have any spaces built and designed for entertainment be it performances, rehearsals, training, etc we don’t have entertainment real estate basically and that is a problem to hold certain shows that need a special venue. 

Working with Mdara Tuku and Bra Hugh how was working with big African brands?

I can simply say this was the highest honor for me and I will forever be grateful to them and all the people I worked and still work with because working with such icons is never a one-man effort. It takes a team. The fact that they were successful at success made it easy, it was the best experience.

You’re one of the biggest endorsement deal brokers, any secrets 😉

Respecting everyone at any level of work and the deliberate effort in nurturing relationships.

What is lacking in the Zimbabwean Music Industry?

The Industry itself sir. 

Message to young and partriot Zimbabweans

Find your lane, love that lane, and make sure you find like-minded people to help you stay in that lane, learn as much as possible about that lane and become a fountain of knowledge yourself about that lane and now teach others and make sure you teach enough for them to do better than you as they take on the next level of work in that lane. If those you teach do not become better than you then you haven’t taught them well, hold nothing back when sharing knowledge. Zimbabwe is ours and it’s ours to build no one is coming to do it for us but us.

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