In Conversation with: Sharky
Where did the name Sharky come from?
I got it in high school, the year was 2006. I was in Form 1, so these friends of mine just sat down and said yo we gotta get you a “cool” name because everybody else had a moniker, it was the “in thing”. It came from that movie “Sharkboy and LarvaGirl”.
If you see somebody calling me by my birth name, chances are they went to school with me or something, but it’s still weird because even at school my peers used the name Sharky.
Who is Sharky?
I was born Marshall Zivashe Muchenje in the small town of Chitungwiza, the year was 1993 June 8. I am the 3rd son in a family of 3, ndiri gotwe, supposedly the one who got spoiled. Pretty brilliant student who didn’t manage to go to college because of finances, but scored a day job and I am also a hip-hop artist. I like to believe that I am an artist before anything.
Where did your passion for music come from?
I have always been a good writer, in terms of essays and even speeches. (I actually was Headboy at Zengeza 1 High School and public speeches were my thing, they even displayed my speeches in the library for others to see.) So combine the story telling ability with exposure to a lot of music, hip-hop in particular, artists like J Cole, Kanye West, I listened to these dudes and it felt like they were talking about my life. I saw how they turned out despite all the challenges they faced growing up, and I got inspired to do the same, I felt inspired to inspire as well.
So I just started scribbling bars, wasn’t even sure I was ever going to record ever, but I still wrote them anyways. My first time recording was in late 2012, in this bedroom studio in Chitungwiza. I became instantly hooked. That first time was a feature on somebody else’s song but after that day I remember I went back for my own cuts, I was so addicted to it.Started recording professionally in 2013 when I was kinda signed to a record label which I left to go indie after a year. And now here I am. Still independent.
Where do you see yourself in music, are you a Hip hop artist or just an artist?
I would like to believe that I am more than just an artist. The skill and artistry goes beyond hip-hop, and I think this shows mostly in the performances. I have been trying to make them less and less ordinary as of late. I am incorporating a bit of theatre into it, some acting, costumes, etc. I do not want to be the type of artist who does not leave a mark.
How did the Soko Matemai, album come together?
I honestly never really wanted to drop an album, every artist will tell you this, it’s like the greatest challenge ever. Because its different from just dropping random songs one at a time, an album has to have cohesion, continuity, so I always kinda shied away from that. But I had a lot of unreleased music, I had lots of stories which I wanted to tell. DJ Krimz finally convinced me to just work towards an album, because the music was there already. My brother Ronald otherwise known as Afro8oi also said “yo man whatever you need, I got you, let’s do this”, so we worked on it till we had full length project.
Where did the inspiration for your songs come from?
Its mostly personal experiences, it could be my own, or somebody else’s. I like to think of myself as a sponge. Even if I am not going through all these emotions, I might absorb whatever energies are being given off by the people around me, and that could turn into a song. But it’s almost always very personal. Whatever the case is, it is always driven by emotion.
Which song from your album would you say is your favourite and why?
That is quite tricky hey, because all those songs contain a bit of my soul. I have different songs for different days. Depends on how I’m feeling, I mean some other people’s favourites on the album are some of the songs that depress me the most because of how I was feeling when I wrote them, but that also makes them really powerful.
If not for music, what else would you be doing?
Um I have always wanted to be a doctor, I mean from way back in primary school, then there was a time I really wanted to be an accountant, an economist (Economics was my favourite subject at A Level, I got prizes for it as well haha). I also have a day job for now. I am actually now sure what I would be doing if not for the music, perhaps then I would be studying something while I go to work anyway.
Whatever it is I would be doing if not for music, I think it would be really depressing. I just hope that it would be something that allows me to still inspire people and touch lives. Something fulfilling.
What do you want people to take from your album?
It is a story yeah, I want people to know who I am, but also to learn a few things about life in general. The album has songs about child abuse, domestic abuse, women and the challenges they face, a bit of current affairs. I want people to at least see a silver lining in whatever dark clouds hover above them.
I have been labelled a pessimist by a friend, but I still want people to at least have hope for a brighter day. A sponge doesn’t really care what happens to it when it cleans and absorbs dirt, in this case other people’s emotions.As long as the job is done. I just want to give hope.
Who are your role models in music as well as life?
Music wise, definitely J Cole. And life, it has to be my mom. She is such a strong woman. She raised 3 men all on her own.
Who is your favourite Zim artist?
Jah Prayzah merely because he has managed to capture both the young and older audiences which is also what I am trying to do but with hip-hop.
Do you think Zim music will reach the heights that other African countries have reached across the world?
If an only if we have the support of our fellow countrymen, yes it can be done.Every major African artist that you see has got their respective nation backing them all the way. In Zim we just kinda look down on artists on some “Ah why would I buy this dudes music when we use the same combis every day,” or “I want a free ticket to come to the show bra to show support” kinda thing. Love yours.
What is the one thing you can’t be without ?
Music. It is my life, literally. I am not even a movies person. I love music. I live music.
What is next for Sharky?
I just dropped a 21 track album, so I think the next thing for me would be to make sure that this album gets to as many people as possible. A lot of people haven’t heard it, so it’s more of just marketing and promotion and trying to get it to as many people as possible. We will do visuals definitely. A documentary as well, and also music videos.
How can your fans access your music or get in touch with you?
My social media handles are as follows:
Facebook – This is Sharky
Twitter - @iAmSharkyZim
Instagram - @iAmSharkyZim
Snapchat – iAmSharkyZim (not much of a snapper lol)
There is some free music on my soundcloud “Sharky Tha Emcee”. But if people want to stream my album for free they can do so on www.youtube.com/iAmSharkyVEVO . There are links there on how to buy the music as well.People can also get copies of the album in Harare, at the Cnr Leopold Takawira/Jason Moyo.
Have you got any advice for young artists who are starting out?
I wish I had all the answers bruh, but I don’t. All I can say is hard work pays off, I don’t even care how cliché that sounds, but it’s the damn truth. Work hard.