Canada-based afro fusion artist Tapiwa Lewis Manyenya, aka MANYENYA. is definitely a talent on the rise with his “new age” approach to his sound and music. The Zimbabwe-born artist who often lists the likes of Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino as musical inspirations has recently been making rounds in music spaces far and wide with popular releases such as Rongeka and Respectfully, both released in 2022.

MANYENYA. also takes clear inspiration from the South African sounds of Amapiano as can be heard and referenced in his most recent singles. Another notable in his music is his lyrical content that often seems to be layered with inspirational messages presented in a somewhat unconventional manner and can easily be interpreted as intending to bring one to true self or even “closer to home”. MANYENYA. does all this whilst also balancing out with work in the film industry. It is no question that MANYENYA. has clearly taken well to the Vancouver creative spaces.

Below MANYENYA. speaks on love for the art as well as briefly talks us through life as a creative in a foreign country.

Your love for the art of music, where does that come from?

I simply can’t live without it.

Who/what do you find to have been or to be sources of inspiration?

My sources of inspiration change depending on the season I’m in. If I’m in a good mood I look to people who create things that make me feel that way, be it fashion, music or comedy. Vice versa, if I’m feeling low I turn to artists who speak to that emotion. If I had to name a few off the top of my head though, I’d say Kendrick Lamar, Stromae, Kabza de Small, Childish Gambino and Bill burr. 

What is your favorite part of creating music, the thought process, conceptualizing or the actual composing?

That’s a tough one, because I like every part of the process for different reasons. But I think nothing beats that initial light bulb when you first get an idea for a song or a line and you just know it’s going to hit!

What do you consider as a reward, in relation to your work?

I think moments such as this when you are reached out to to do an interview are what I would consider rewarding. You heard something I created halfway across the world and felt it needed to be shared. That to me is the most affirming part of what I do.  No-one from my team asked you to, and yet here we are. 

What are some of your favorite songs by yourself and what from them stands out?

Rongeka is definitely my all time favourite. I love it so much because it’s personal yet it resonated with so many people on a deeper level. Songs like Changu Chabata and Ini Ndoda come close but Rongeka takes the cup home for me. 
It’s the perfect fusion of AmaPiano and Hip Hop. Something I’ve been working really hard on for the last 5 years. 

It is said “at times scarcity breeds appreciation”, do you share this sentiment in relation to how audiences in Zimbabwe and Canada consume and appreciate your music respectively?

I actually don’t know to be honest. I’ve seen artists do really well with sharing some new kind of content everyday and I’ve seen others finesse with just one thing over a long time. Like one artist with a single can get the same amount of attention as the next guy with an album, so just remind myself that whatever it is I decided to share, I have to be sure it’s something I can stand behind. I’m obviously aware of the era we are in and how the algorithm works. But I try not to let that dictate how I navigate release cycles or how often I make myself present. I’d like to think who I am when I’m not selling something, is what resonates the most with my audience. 

What underlying and additional challenges come with being an artist in a foreign country?

I think the biggest challenge is that your roots are elsewhere. So in the early stages of your career when you need the homies you grew up with to show up for your shows, you’ll have to hustle to get a room with those same numbers. So it takes longer for you to progress and even longer for your ideas to be affirmed. There’s a silver lining though, because you learn a lot more about yourself and become confident in your own skin faster than the other act. It’s a gift and a curse really.

What can we look forward to from your side?

I got two new singles that will be final loosies before my debut album is set to drop next year. So a lot of music, some curated shows to go with that and then album mode. 

Do check out MANYENYA’s latest single titled, Tribe, out today (12/12/2022) right here.

You can also follow MANYENYA. on Instagram and Twitter.