Phenomenal Afro Pop Musician Interview – Meet Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Machiridza


If you’ve never heard of Rutendo Machiridza, we’ve come to bring you what you’ve missed! And if you have experienced her, then hop right on the bandwagon, compadre, and nod along with us!

Rutendo Machiridza is an exciting young Zimbabwean musician. Described as “immensely talented”, “energetic” and an “emerging star”, Rutendo is pushing the boundaries of Afro-Pop music.

In 2012 with her band Savannah Afros, Rutendo won the National Competition Finals for Music Crossroads, an international cultural initiative. From there, the band proceeded to Maputo, Mozambique for the Inter-Regional Finals where the band came second from a total of six Southern African bands. She was awarded an Ethno Award for being the most outstanding performer at the regional finals of Music Crossroads, earning her a month-long tour of Europe. Outside of Africa, her music has so far seen her performing in Sweden, Germany, Croatia and Denmark, and there are still yet more places to reach.

Apart from being a darling of the audience at the Zimbabwe–German Society’s Acoustic Nights and concerts, Rutendo has performed regularly at the Book Café and as well as at several live music joints in Harare. Rutendo also toured various venues in Zimbabwe during the 2011 UMOJA Cultural Flying Carpet, where she performed together with artists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Norway and Mozambique. Rutendo is currently working on her debut album and consolidating her career.




Anna T: When and why did you start making music?

Rutendo: I started making music in 2006, because music has always been a passion of mine since childhood. It is the best mode of expression I know.


Anna T: What would you say is your genre of music?

Rutendo: My genre is afro pop with a bias for rock.


Anna T: Did you grow up in a musical family?

Rutendo: No I did not grow up in a musical family at all…I’m the first musician I know in all of the extended family.


Anna T: Do you write your own music? And what is the inspiration for your music?

Rutendo: Yes I write my own music. Inspiration comes from many sources; personal, empathy for others, things we want for humanity, injustices, need for change, anger, pain, love, beauty… It can be anything, even the things we may consider insignificant or unimportant.


Anna T: Tell me about your relationship with the mbira?

Rutendo: We met when I was 13, in one Shona room at the Dominican Convent. We fell in love and became best friends.


Anna T: And do you play any other instruments?

Rutendo: Not really, I play hosho and I like to mess around with guitar, piano, drums and marimba


Anna T: I have seen you perform and you have a magnificent stage presence. What does it take to achieve that?

Rutendo: I actually find it fascinating that people love my stage presence. I do not know how to teach people how to have it. I just know that when you are onstage love what you do and enjoy yourself. Music gives me life, it is my everything. So when I am onstage that love blossoms, that energy within me radiates to all the people around me….I guess because people get so engrossed in it I then look good onstage, kikikiki.

 tendo on stage

Anna T: And your strong voice- is that all nature’s doing?

Rutendo: Nature gives you talent. But hard work gets results. Ideally it is a combination of both. I have had to work very hard for my voice, took risks, ventured into forbidden territory… Your hunger will determine your success.


Anna T: Do you have a stage name? If yes, what is it? If not, why not?

Rutendo: I use my real name as my stage name. It is unique enough; there is only one me. It is also a part of my personality; being REAL.


Anna T: Do you get nervous before a performance? If yes, how do you handle it?

Rutendo: Nervous?? Are you kidding!!! Of course, all the time. It is a very natural thing and normal to get nervous. You have a large audience to impress, a resume that speaks tonnes of good things about you. So there is always pressure to maintain the standard.

Calm down, breathe, relax, think of pleasant times, have a positive mind-set. Get on stage and have fun!


Anna T: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Rutendo: Mistakes happen all the time, so when it happens improvise, smile, forget you made a mistake, it’s a new spice we have instantly added errr (just without warning, lool!).


Anna T: You are currently on tour in Germany; what has that experience been like?

Rutendo: Germany this time is a crazy experience for me! It is my first time in a cast of 50 plus people, in a circus show learning to dance, doing theatre work etc, with people from different countries: Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Germany, Ivory Coast, Tanzania… I’ve been away from home for almost 4 months, living on a bus (sleep liner), performing every day, weird waking up schedules, eating schedules, good and bad relationships. Ohh it is a lot of drama. I feel like I am in a mobile Big Brother….with the benefit of no cameras kikiki


Anna T: And you are set to start at the Berklee College of Music! Tell me about that?

Rutendo: Berklee is just the greatest gift anyone can give me. So if there is anyone willing to pay my tuition OH GOD! I would be more than ecstatic. It means everything to me (from the bottom of my heart). I cannot wait to start…you know, I dream about it.


Anna T: Where can we get your music?

Rutendo: My music is available from the Book Café (Harare), and online on amazon and iTunes 🙂

Get Rutendo’s music on these links:


Anna T: Do you have a favourite musician and/ or genre of music?

Rutendo: Oh yes; Mariah Carey! The most amazing singer I know… When it comes to singing seriously difficult, or shall I say impossible songs, she is your girl! Favourite genre is pop music….It is the music of the people; universal and relates to the things happening at present in people’s lives!


Anna T: What are three things Rutendo can be found doing when she is not wowing masses of people?

Rutendo: Listening to music, swimming, sleeping, (dancing…well trying to, lool)


Anna T: Finally, any words of wisdom to leave us with?



Connect with Rutendo on Facebook and Twitter: and @RutendoMachi respectively. Like her page on Facebook: Rutendo Marchie. Finally, much-loved reader, take a listen to Rutendo’s music and prepare to get your socks knocked right off!

tendo berklee


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