By Sunday Mail

FROM the days he emerged on the Zimbabwean music scene back in the early 2000s with the hit track “Musalala”, he has become a darling of many.

He has become one of the most sought-after entertainers in the country. His name is ExQ. Twenty-six days from today he will open for Nigerian reggae-dancehall star, Patoranking, at the HICC, and five days later he shares the stage with Davido and Nasty C.

The laid back father of two has managed to stay consistent for almost two decades, emphatically proving his staying power and dominance by scooping five gongs at the Star FM Music Awards held last month. He is up for two nominations at the upcoming National Arts Merit Awards this April.

The Sunday Mail Society caught up with the decorated singer, who shared insights on his career; how he has remained relevant, the changing music scene, tastes and much more.

His advice is; “Working hard is the secret, I believe. Trying new ideas is also critical. However, it is a risk. If it works then bho (all good), zvikaramba (if not) try other things.”

Early career, bonds

ExQ has worked with a lot of local artistes and those from the continent. However, he has always collaborated with two particular individuals — Roki and Stunner. It is a miracle he is not as controversial as his peers.

“Roki and Stunner are the brothers I never had in my family,” he said.

“I was also close to the likes of Leonard Mapfumo and Discord, and most of the musicians during the rise of urban grooves. But visions in life change. Some of the guys we grew up with in the game are no longer into music. But Roki, Stunner and I are still heavily pushing and we have stuck together.”

The “Nzenza” singer revealed that they are cooking something together in the studio.

“We got plans to drop some material with the guys. Currently, I am working with Extra Large, Stunner and developing something with Leonard Mapfumo.”

Low moments

With all the success he has achieved, the happily married singer said he had some low moments in his musical journey.

“One of my lowest moments was when I was trying to adjust to changes in sound,” he revealed. “I had mastered the dynamics around urban grooves and one day the sound changed to trap and Afro-beats among many other grooves that popped up. It was not easy trying to adjust, people around me were mocking and laughing at me. So there I was, one moment I was making hits and the next things have changed and I was struggling.”

Tempted to quit

After dropping the hit single “Alleluyah”, which featured Roki, ExQ wanted to quit music.