Jah Prayzah Biography
Lanky dread-locked musician, Jah Prayzah, born Mukudzei Mukombe, is now officially musician with the highest earnings in Zimbabwe based on attendance figures at live shows.
It is a typical rags to riches story for the musician who grew up herding cattle in Uzumba.
While Zimdancehall is proving to be the most popular genre, Jah Prayzah is making the most money from gate revenue of all local musicians who stage shows week in, week out.
Sungura Legend, Alick Macheso is now trailing behind and this has been blamed on the revered artiste’s failure to release a new album even though he has been sampling songs from his upcoming album. He is yet to see though, the return of those who are boycotting his shows in protest of the ‘starvation’.
Oliver Mtukudzi is not part of the ‘sample’ given how his local shows are few and far between.
Such is Jah Prayzah’s growing influence on the local scene that he is no longer accepting a flat fee for live shows, in lieu taking gate revenue.
Jah Prayzah Age and Background
Jah Prayzah was born on born 4 July 1987 at Nyadire Hospital to parents John Mukombe and Shirely Savanhu. He was the last born in a family of 5 children; in order of birth: Joe, Chamu (who passed away in 2005), Simba and his only sister, Lydia. Growing up, the young Mukudzeyi dreamt of becoming a soldier.
This dream was to later inspire his bands performance costumes. The name Jah Prayzah evolved mainly from his first name Mukudzeyi, which in Shona language means Praise Him (God). His love for Raggae music led him to adopt the Jamaican name for God which is Jah. He then fused these two meanings to come up with his artistic name Jah Prayzah.
Jah Prayzah Education
Jah Prayzah attended Musamhi Primary School and later Musamhi High School in Murehwa in Mashonaland East Province. He then relocated to Harare where he stayed with his uncle Mr Savanhu and he eventually completed his ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level education in Harare at Kuwadzana High 1 School.
Jah Prayzah Music Career
Mukudzeyi’s first experience with creating music was when he was in form 2; “In form two there was a teacher who played the mbira and I was so in love with the instrument. We would ’dub’ the music in the era of cassettes and listen to it,” he said. Later, while schooling at Kuwadzana High School, Mukudzeyi bought a Mbira music instrument from a close friend, Tichafa Matsika.
In Budiriro, Jah Prayzah started to record dancehall and reggae tracks with his friends with some tracks creating a vibe in the suburb but failed to hit the national music scene. He later decided to venture into his longtime hobby, that of contemporary music and afro jazz and recorded tracks with DJ Thando and other local producers, releasing hits such as Sorry Mama and Seiko, these tracks had wider reception that his previous songs but few knew about the man himself.
Mukudzei had been encouraged by a cousin keyboardist Simeon Mukombe to record a demo together with him. They did the album called I Love Reggae. The album didn’t do well but they got a lot of encouragement from friends that listened to it. Later in 2007, he recorded another album Rudo Nerunyararo which didn’t have much success. The album had the track, Zororo, which became popular much later in his career.
Commercial success started to come after the launch of Sungano in 2012. It included songs like Sungano Yerudo. The album earned him the much needed attention, catching the eyes of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest music promoters, Patson Chimbodza, known to many as Chipaz.
In 2012, he released Ngwarira Kuparara which contained club hits such as Gotchi Gotchi, Maria, Ngwarira Kuparara and Dande, a track which featured the late Chiwoniso Maraire. Ngwarira Kuparara was the breakaway he always dreamt about. It quickly put him in the spotlight and he became a household name as fans rocked to the tracks in-house, in clubs and at parties as well. He fast became a must get artist and was quickly offered a contract for the Wednesday slots at the then popular Jazz 105 joint.”
In 2013, Jah Prayzah released the album Tsviriyo whose title track was very popular. The first CD copy of the album was reportedly bought for US $12,000 by businessman Philip Chiyangwa at an auction conducted at the launch.
Jah Prayzah Albums
»Mdhara Vachauya (2016)
»Kumbumura Mhute (2014)
»Tsviriyo (March 2013)
»Ngwarira Kuparara (2012)
»Sungano Yerudo (2010)
»Rudo Nerunyararo (2007)
Jah Prayzah and is band wear army regalia sometimes that resembling that worn by the Zimbabwe National Army. In 2013, Jah Prayzah explained that he had sought clearance from the army to wear military camouflage. He said then that he had at least 20 military fatigues. The clothes are supplied him from Europe and a designer in South Africa.
As Jah Prayzah is a brand ambassador for the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, it has generally been thought that he has clearance to wear the fatigue.
Jah Prayzah Successes
Jah Prayzah has done successful collaborations with musicians of various genres such as Oliver Mtukudzi. Soul Jah Love, Sulumani Chimbetu, Progress Chipfumo among others. On the New Year’s Eve of 2013, on the popular radio top hundred count down hosted by Radio Zimbabwe, Jah Prayzah took all top three spots with songs Gotchi Gotchi, Maria and Chirangano, the first time ever for this to happen.” His fame earned him ambassador status for the following companies:
»Population Services International Zimbabwe (PSI)
»Zimbabwe Defense Forces – Culture Ambassador
»Chicken Slice – Brand Ambassador
»Champions Insurance – Brand Ambassador
»Savanna Tobacco Brand Ambassador-the artist was in January 2015 endorsed to become one of the brand ambassadors for Savanna Tobacco joining other fellow musicians, Tocky Vibes, Sulumani Chimbetu among others.
Jah Prayzah Awards
»NAMA 2013 award for song of the year – Gotchi Gotchi
»2013 Zimbabwe Peace ambassador award
»NAMA 2014 Awards – Outstanding Album Tsviriyo
»NAMA 2014 Awards – Outstanding Song Tsviriyo
»NAMA 2014 Awards – Outstanding Male Artist Jah Prayzah
»NAMA 2014 Awards – Outstanding Video Mwanasikana
»NAMA 2014 Awards – People’s Choice Jah Prayzah
»NAMA people’s choice award
»NAMA male artist of the year
»Zim Dream Online award- 2014