Bubbly Bamzi bounces back mark
Local musician Harrison Kariba aka Bamzigi is back on the music scene with a new album after a long silence. He talks to CAROLINE NYANGA about his new style of music, his battle with drug addiction and future prospects
P: Some people had claimed that you had quit music due to dwindling fortunes?
B: I have not quit music and never will do so as long as I live. I strongly believe music is in my DNA let’s just say negative circumstances caused me to be on the low for a while.
To me music is a long journey that requires patience, perseverance, research and hard work in order to come up with a good product.
P: Any new projects?
B: Well, I have a new third album produced at Red Republik (formerly Red Room). I’m yet to decide on the name. However, some of the singles including Mizuka will be released today and I hope it will do well.
Mizuka also stands for a new style of music that comprises a mixture of upbeat tempos including kapuka, regga and hip-hop.
The album is set for release in December and features artistes like Madtraxx, Kaz, Prezzo and Ugandan artiste Eppi. Unlike my past albums Necessary Noise (together with Nazizi and Wyre) and The Bounce is Back where I appear to be a artiste of one genre, here I come out as an all round singer.
P: Was it easy working on it?
B: The fact that I had just come out of rehab with the desire to do more music made me impatient considering my impulsive nature. Besides doing a remix of Big shot soon after, I wanted things done my way. On the other hand I was not fully satisfied with my ideas. But despite all this, the Red Republik Movement supported me in all ways.
P: You have been to rehab centres severally?
B: Abusing drugs like cocaine was the price I had to pay for fame. Being in the limelight has its advantages and disadvantages because at this point, people expect too much from you. Like many out there I made a mistake and fell into the trap.
P: Is it true that an Fm station fired you because of this?
B: That’s not true! I was never fired because I was good at my job. Instead the station gave me a perfect opportunity to blossom but my drug habits pulled me down.
P: Being in rehab…
B: The feeling was scary mainly because of low self-esteem considering I was a slave to the drugs. At some point I attempted suicide twice- one at a rehab and another at home in between my relapse.
P: Any rumours levelled against you concerning the drugs problem?
B: Contrary to rumours that I spent my entire rehab session in Mathare Mental Hospital, I was in fact in different rehab facilities. My first one was abroad but it didn’t work out. The second also failed prompting me to opt for Mathare. It was then that my supportive family decided to try one at Limuru and luckily it worked, God having given me a second chance to live.
P: Was it easy coming out of it?
B: It was the hardest thing I have ever done considering the odds against me for a span of two years. Statistics show that out of every ten drug addicts only three make it to full recovery. Others die while some end up in jail.
P: Given a second chance would you go back into drugs?
B: If you asked me this question a few months ago my answer would have been yes. But today I would hopefully never go back to doing drugs. Unlike before I now value my life more than anything else having been given a second chance to live.
P: Why did you quit Necessary Noize?
B: Let’s just say that I was not in favour of the management team. It had nothing to do with Nazizi or Wyre who I enjoyed working with.
P: So it had nothing to do with you and Nazizi having differences as an item?
B: Never ever! Nazizi and I have been close friends ever since we were kids. Our two families are also close. To date we still talk a lot. In fact I recently congratulated her on her newborn baby.
P: How has it been working as a solo artiste?
B: The fact that I have freedom of expression is good enough. But on the other hand I have to work extra hard considering there is more ground to be covered. Although working as a group may seem easier its not always easy to blend with each person.
P: Highest and lowest moments of your career?
B: The highest was in 2001 when I recorded my voice in a studio and it sounded real good. Also the fact that my song Clang Clang got immense airplay on radio at a time when only a few were lucky to do so. Nothing can take away that moment.
The lowest was when I suffered negative publicity after leaving Necessary Noize with some suggesting that I would never recover. However, I proved my critics wrong when I made a grand comeback.
P: Are you in a relationship?
B: I am not dating at the moment. I do not want to be emotionally involved as advised by the health practitioners. Perhaps much later I could consider it.
P: With World Cup craze all over, what’s your take on it?
B: Although I am happy and proud that for the first time its in Africa, to me, soccer remains the most boring game in the world. I clearly understand that I’m going against half of the world population but that has always been my take.
P: So you are not rooting for any team?
B: I’m supporting Argentina because their coach Diego Maradona remains a legend in world football. Besides, he is also a recovering drug addict like me. I can’t wait to see him live up to his promise of running naked in Buenos Aires if he wins the World Cup.
P: Future plans as far music goes…
B: Is to live a legacy behind once I am gone. Renowned musicians such as Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Bob Marley — although long gone—continue to live through their works.
P: Last word to Pulsaters?
B: Whatever you do, say no to drugs.
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