In Conversation with: Alpha Centauri
Meet Alpha Centauri, qualified lawyer poet, writer and all round creative.
Where did your name come from?
My name comes from a star. Alpha Centauri. I wanted something that would have some deep meaning for me rather than something random. I was going through something in my life and I looked up at the stars waiting on my “Lion King Simba talks to his father in the clouds” moment and it never happened. So I shrugged it off and named myself after a star so that I could shine the light and give the answers myself. I think it sounds cool and it’s a metaphorical middle finger at the same time. What’s cooler than that?
What inspired your love for music?
Dance is where my true roots are. I’m a dancer. Popping, locking, waving, all the good stuff. My best friends and I formed a crew called Blaze Skwad when we started high school and we did half time shows at basketball matches and then, parties and pageants. Then battle crews at Battle of the Year and The Unseen Movement and all sorta places. I was really good at freestyling and it was pretty cool for a while.
We got a bit older and we stopped dancing. I started rapping to fill the void. I used to turn emotions into movement on beats. I switched to telling stories on beats in the hopes that it would inspire emotion...and then movement. I was raised on R&B, Soul and 80’s Pop music and they remain my greatest influences. I learnt to love Hip Hop as I grew up and I remain a student.
Who are the rocks in your life?
My family and my closest friends. I keep a small circle. They keep me grounded.
How many songs have done so far?
My SoundCloud to date has 42 tracks released. I have archives that go back about 6 years, so I have a lot of music that’s never been heard.
Of all your songs which one is your favourite and why?
This is the hardest question. Every time I write and record a new song it becomes my favourite, but gun to my head? I would say Find The Answers. It’s like an origin soundtrack. It’s what I wrote the very same night I decided on my name and what it meant to me and what was going on and how I felt like I needed music to be my outlet. I wrote this song and put a little bit of my soul in it and it felt good and I thought “yeah, I can do this. I don’t have the answers but they're inside me. I’ll keep making music till I find them”.
What are the biggest lessons that you have learnt in life so far?
Be yourself, unapologetically. I know that’s a dull cliché, but it’s the hardest thing to do for many people. To be your true self without compromise? I’ve found it’s only the people that are comfortable when you're suppressing yourself that get mad when you start stretching and showing your colours. Be yourself. Shine. I’ve never seen a confident person throw shade at somebody else for being confident too. Stay on the lookout for people who feel threatened by your blessings.
Also, second guessing your instincts is the quickest path to regrets.
What do you hope your fans to get from listening to your music?
I hope they get to know a little bit about me, but mostly I hope they can relate to some of the things I rap about. If I rap a song about something I went through and a fan got their earphones on like “this is me, this is soooo me” then I’m done! I’m sound-tracking your life in a “I don’t have the right words to explain but listen to this track it’ll tell you how I feel” type of way.
Music is emotions in words and melodies for me. I just want my fans to feel some typa way.
What highs and lows have you experienced in your career so far?
Highs: rapping in an hour long cypher on a Canadian radio station. Then having a song, I released called Fly or Die play on an international internet radio show. It was a good week.
Lows: getting rejection emails or no responses from local radio stations and bloggers.
How do you deal with the low moments?
I deal with lows by keeping it moving. I’m always creating I’m always doing something new so setbacks don’t take a strong hold on me. It’s not that I have a short attention span, but I can’t park inside a recent rejection and do nothing. I’m Alpha Centauri I’m tryna bring the light so I just gotta find where I dropped the matches….
What has been your favourite venue to perform from?
To be completely honest I haven’t performed a lot due to the professional job. It was hard to find rehearsal time and so on, but Twimbos Giving Hope always gives me a platform and it’s always fun to perform for people who come there. Twimbos like things and it was nice to see that those retweets weren’t for nothing. It’s for charity, we have fun and it’s always love.
If you could pick three artists to work with, who would it be and why?
I’m all about certain sounds and vibes that artists have and I listen to as much Zim Hip Hop and Zim music as I can get my hands on. These are the artists I think I can make incredible Hip Hop music with.
He owns his sound. Charlie Zimbo works with him so well, but he paints vivid images of himself and his city in such a natural way. Just listening to how he vibes on tracks makes you feel like he’s your boy and you can kick it with him any day. That’s not an easy feat.
He’s already making waves. Soko Matemai had elements in it that I try to use in my own music. I enjoy the passion he brings. Those Shona bars have their shoes laces well tied and he’s a great performer. I would like to write concepts for him for new material.
She’s slept on. Big time. She has a confidence and conviction in her style I don’t hear in a lot of other rappers. She’s got punchlines and flow and I think she could be a great storyteller.
Who are your role models in music and in life?
Childish Gambino is who I look up to creatively. Simply because he’s such a talented creator of content be it music, or writing, or producing television shows. To get paid for putting your thoughts into the world in way that captures people's attention? Amazing. I want that.
In life I don’t have anyone I look up to or want to emulate specifically. Kobe Bryant honed his talent and worked hard and he’s a legend today. Warren Buffet makes smart calculated and informed decisions. Jay Z went from drug dealer to mogul. Strive Masiyiwa formed Econet and I still don’t think he’s done excelling. Successful people all have successful traits that I admire and try to copy, but I don’t have a life role model that I form myself around.
Is there anything you can’t live without?
Music, fried chicken, skittles. In no particular order.
What drives everything you do in life?
The need to take care of myself and those I care about. If there’s nothing to be gained I’m not moving.
When you aren't making music what do you do?
I worked in a law firm, now I’m in Canada pursuing other avenues. I’m learning how to make beats for myself because I already produce my own vocals. I write poetry and short stories and thought pieces on various things going on in the world. I just haven’t published a lot of them. I’m always consuming information. I don’t watch TV or follow sports teams, but we can talk about Aleppo, the economics of bond notes or the recent happenings in the Kardashian family. I like to stay informed.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time, career wise and in life?
Getting paid to produce music and create content on a variety of different mediums. Performing at concerts and festivals. Taking care of my family.
When can we expect an album release?
I’m finishing my first release for 2017 called I Am Who We Are. It’s nothing like the music you're listening to now. I pushed the boundaries a lot and I think I did better than your favourites.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Definitely that cypher at the Canadian radio station. We were on CHLY 101.7 with Dj Teenwolf and a few other artists. It was dope. They asked me to come back.
How can people access your music or get in touch with you ?
You can get my up to date releases on SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/centaurimusic
Like my page on Facebook: facebook.com/centaurimusic
Follow me on Twitter: @iamCentauri
I’m putting the final touches to my website right now so keep an eye out for that.
If there is one thing you could change about your life what would it be?
When we were kids my grandmother warned me that if someone jumped over my head I would never grow tall. We were playing leapfrog with my cousins this one Saturday. I wish I could go back and stand up before the damage was done.
What advice would you give to aspiring young artists?
Learn your craft well. Be your true self. Ask for a deposit or payment upfront. Always deliver on time. Shine.