Shadreck Mugede is a UK-based Zimbabwean gospel musician who recently released the single ‘Ndiwechete’ in November 2019.
by Simba Harawa
We’re delighted to feature you in our December edition of HoM Shadreck! Can you tell our readers who you are?
I was born in Murewa, grew up in Runguto Village in the area and am the fourth of five children.
How did your career start?
Well first, after finishing my O’ Levels, I moved to Chitungwiza to live with my father. My first job was working for Heat and Air Systems in Harare which lasted two years.
When did you start playing in a band?
When my brothers came to join us in Chitungwiza, we decided to revive our passion for playing guitar. I’d started when I was 13 years old. When we were growing up, there was a Mozambican, Tito, who helped our family herd the cattle. He made guitars from empty cooking oil tins – the five litre ones. My younger brother Samuel learnt how to make the guitars too and we all learnt how to play guitars on those handmade pieces. In Chitungwiza, we then formed Mugede Brothers and did several live shows. I played the bass guitar and sang lead vocals. We tried to record but couldn’t as we didn’t have enough money.
So, what happened?
I later joined Staben Mawire and Chimbekeya Hotline. I helped him to record ‘Zama’ and the video featured my brother Stanley and I dancing. This video was used as an advert on Mutinhimira wemimhanzi which was very popular. Funnily enough, at the same time, we had a hair salon with my brother Samuel in Chitungwiza. After Staben died, I played with several bands such as Carlisto Nyamhute, Ngwenya Young Brothers and helped other upcoming bands to record when they wanted a bassist. In 2001, I joined Charles Charamba
and the Fishers of Men until I came to England in 2003.
Who inspired you as you learned to play guitar?
Zvidzayi, my nephew who played bass guitar for Leonard Dembo was a huge inspiration, as were Mudhara Andrew who played lead guitar for Simon and Naison Chimbetu. Tichaona Chacha who played rhythm guitar for John Chibadura used to let the four of us watch him
playing then he’d teach us a few tricks too.
When was your first recording?
I recorded my first album in 2009 – Jehovah Ariko. That was in Northampton, England and featured Samuel on lead and rhythm guitars, Thomson Chauke on drums and backing vocals and me on bass guitar and all other vocals. The album was released in 2010 in the UK and I sent some copies to Zimbabwe. In 2015 I released another album, Tsime Reropa, and did my first video recorded by Tawanda Chimuzinga in 2016.
Do you play for other musicians?
Yes, I do. Between 2016 to 2018, I played with Tomson Chauke and the Limpopo Groove, playing the rhythm guitar.
What’s your latest release?
This year, I recorded the album Salvation that you can find on my YouTube channel.
Tell us how you compose your music?
It’s really through my faith in God because of what he has done in my life. That’s why my message is about praising God, salvation and love.
In a group vs fronting the group…
It’s time consuming to play in a group because we need to coordinate.
Have you toured as a group?
I toured in England with another Zimbabwean singer, Chanda. I haven’t toured yet on my own but look forward to it.
What challenges do gospel musicians in particular
have to contend with?
Promoting music is becoming expensive. After spending a lot of money on production, promoting and marketing the music, people can download music for free. Copyright is violated and the musician loses out. To establish yourself as a musician and as a brand
is hard. Part of it is because people do not play your music if they don’t know you. Without getting airplay it’s difficult to get brand recognition. We do have the opportunity to play in churches, Christian parties and weddings though.
What about getting airplay in Zimbabwe?
Well, when I tried to promote my first album Jehovah Ariko, I did send some copies to some radio stations. Some of the DJs demanded money to play my music which is still an on-going thing.
How do you think your music inspires other people?
Music connects people and brings them closer to God. I have experienced it myself and so have my family.
Your next album comes…
Next year…and I’m already working on the songs.
What advice do you have for young musicians, especially Zimbabwean ones?
All I can say is that music needs perseverance and team
work. That team can be your family or friends. You will
have to make sacrifices – time and money. Remain
humble and be open for advice and to criticism. I hope
my music can encourage you and I to live a Godly life.