Finding your space as instrumentalist in a vocalist dominated music industry

After the lockdown, the drummer looks forward to starting classes and having interesting collaborations with other artists. In the meantime, virtual visibility is his priority.


Fadzai Mathabire interview with the former vigilance drummer, Delroy Scara Maripakwenda

Mention the word music and the first name that comes to anyone’s mind is probably a singer’s. For decades, vocalists have dominated the music industry taking most of the spotlight. You then tend to wonder if there is something big enough for the rest of the musicians out there? To grasp how a musician can thrive in a vocalist dominated music industry, we interviewed Delroy Scara Maripakwenda who was illustrious for being “The heartbeat of Winky-D’s live performances” and one of Africa’s aero drummers through his exceptional drumming skills. Read through and find out what he had to say about finding his space and thriving as a musician in his own right.

“The keys to thriving as an instrumentalist in a vocalist dominated music industry are authenticity, dedication and heart.”

Photographs by Wilmed photography

MFN: General knowledge says “Scara” is a drummer, dancer and choreographer Please tell us, who is Delroy or Scara beyond the stage and the drums?

DSM: Scara is a sociable, fun and energetic creative. A level 5 computer programmer who loves to spread positivity and live life on his own terms while focusing on being human and kind, helping others and spreading happiness through music. Very passionate about music and family.

MFN: What can you say is the highlight of your life?

DSM: The highlight of my life would be Stepping on to any stage and being able to share my talent with the world and being able to use my drumming skills to put my country on the international map.

MFN: What’s your definition of a successful artist?

DSM: My definition of a successful artist is One who helps spreads positivity in his community and around the world (everywhere he goes or Performs). Someone who defies odds and follows his own path and is confident in his/her own craft, someone who impacts knowledge to other People, especially the Youths fostering sustainable development.

MFN: Can a generic instrumentalist have a meaningful career and be successful outside a band?

DSM: I believe a generic instrumentalist can have meaningful career and be successful outside a band as this allows one to be open and unique in their own craft and be able to fully articulate their own vision in light with their own talent. Being in a band limits one toconform to the lead artist’s vision and at the same time the visions should be the same and in sync if one is going to make it with a band.   

MFN: How do you see the Zimbabwean music industry changing in the next five years?

DSM: A lot can happen in the next 5 years, the Zimbabwean music industry is more likely to face a change in perspective and not only focus on vocal capabilities but also look at instrumentalists as valuable assets to the industry. I see a shift in music and due to this corona virus, people won’t ignore the fundamentals. 

MFN: As a drummer what’s your future like in the next 5 years?

DSM: As a drummer I’m working on making my brand Not only national but internationally recognized. One that offers unique and exceptional drumming entertainment for all people of all nationalities and ages. I am looking to do More collaborations with artists/musicians locally and internationally, and I see myself part of the shift, we as instrumentalists are looking for. 

MFN: Anything that the world doesn’t already know about you that you want to share?

DSM: Growing up I never thought I would be an artist or creative I always thought I would be a scientist.

MFN: Which stereotype about drummers is true about you?

DSM: Drummers always do rhythmic tips.

MFN: If your best friend wanted to be drummer or an instrumentalist, what are the three principles you would advise him/her that have worked for you would you?

DSM: I would say Authenticity, Dedication and Heart. Be authentic in all that you do when it comes to your work. Try and bring out the you in every set and that will make you different and better than anyone else. Always be dedicated to make a difference and define the life you want to live. Always play with heart, love what you doand that makes all the difference in the world. And always remember patience is Virtue practiced by many and mastered by few.

MFN: What can we look forward to from you after the lockdown or on the virtual space?

DSM: After the lock down there is going to be the Reinvention of Scara the drummer. I will also be introducing drumming classes and I will be working on a drumming rehabilitation initiative for Autistic children. I will also be continuing with wedding choreography bookings and am looking more into the virtual world because that’s where we are headed as a globe.

MFN: Thanks for taking this interview with us. Any shootouts to your people? And can you share your social media handles for those who may want to follow your drumming journey??

DSM: Shout out to everyone who supports me. My social media ID’s are FB: Delroy Scara Maripakwenda, IG: Scara_tha_drummer, YouTube: Delroy Scara and Twitter: @delreezy105

There you have it guys, patience is virtue so allow yourself time to grow as you put in the work in any profession. Every element of music matters and there is enough pie out there for everyone. Possible career opportunities for musicians off the band include teaching music, playing at events, running workshops, musical instruments therapy and working in recording studios. Authenticity and heart can take one a long way with the right amount of dedication. We look forward to an industry where musicians behind the piano, saxophone, drums and other instruments thrive and make big names for themselves sustainably.

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