Greetings from the recording studio in beautiful Victoria Falls.
My birthday was ten days ago and I had aimed to release this video by then! The fact that I am only getting there today reminds me of a very apt saying that I’ve had respect for ever since I first heard it…
When it comes to achieving your dreams, you can decide ‘what’
but you don’t get to decide ‘when’.
There is so much in the business of turning something from your head into something real and as an artist, you learn that things often take much more time than you would like. The real world obstacles are always a challenge, particularly getting the right people to notice you and more importantly to understand your vision.
This marks my first release of 2016 and the first of a new cover series I’m launching which will see more releases coming soon as I continue to carve out my musical landscape and vision in what is one of the most interesting and booming industries out there 🙂
A friend sent me the new music video to the Chemical Brothers song called ‘Wide Open’ which was uploaded by them at the end of January and it immediately stole my heart.
It is so close to something I’d do, especially in vibe and intensity. I paused work on my new original single ‘Drowning In Space’ in order to immediately start recording my own version of Wide Open.
The music video features a fellow Zimbabwean who I think is a very talented dancer who is studying dance in the UK. I can already picture her in videos on MTV Trace Urban or dancing on stage alongside the Biebers and Beyoncés of this world one day. With any luck, I’ll be one of her collaborators in the pop world too.
Introducing Tasi Lightfoot:
Wide Open is written by: The Chemical Brothers and Beck
Vocals, Instruments, Music Production, Studio Engineering, Programming, Mixing, Mastering and Video Editing
Filmed in Zimbabwe and The UK
Dancers: Tasi Lightfoot Connor Davis
Choreography: Tasi Lightfoot Matt Walker
Subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE to be the first to get the new video releases
Download this song free on Soundcloud HERE (up to the first 100 downloads)
Tonight, I packed up my belongings and moved out of a room in the Danish capital of Copenhagen’s Amager district in which I’d lived for the past three months tying up a three-month residency of gigs.
An interesting fact hit me as I filled my suitcase with the various belongings that had been allowed enough time to park outside of their small permanent wheelie home …
These last three months mark the longest period of time that I’ve lived in the same room since April 2012!… true story! (It is now November 2015!)
Since 2012, I’ve been no less than a rolling stone, going to The UK (multiple times), Belgium (twice), The Netherlands (at least five times), Germany (three times), Spain (once), The US (twice), Australia (twice), New Zealand (once), Zimbabwe (three times), South Africa (twice), Zambia (twice), Denmark (five times), Sweden (twice) and I’m off to play in Norway for the first time in two weeks 🙂
Most people ask two things, first… ‘why?’ and secondly… ‘how?!’
I finally read the book called The Alchemist a couple of weeks ago and now I see why people have been bringing it up and recommending it to me for years. It’s a story of a boy shepherd who spends years walking with his sheep and goes on an incredible international journey in search of his own personal legend that ends up making him very, very rich and wise. He even gets to marry the woman of his dreams, quite literally.
Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, over shadowed by financial difficulties, I’ve never been one to let my circumstances limit the size of my dreams (and I am very ambitious by nature). I’ve always been interested in getting bigger, better and going far in whatever I set my heart on.
Your attitude determines your altitude
How does one go from being grounded in Africa for two and a half years with an empty bank account to performing on four continents numerous times, playing solo and releasing new music by carrying around about fifty kilograms of luggage and recording gear, as shown in this video?:
The How (abridged):
In mid 2012, I had about 100 USD to my name and was living by the majestic Victoria Falls where I moved to from Harare knowing no one in that town apart from a face or two I’d seen at the festival I played there. Why did I move there?
It was the way that place made me ‘feel‘ whenever I was there for a few days at a time to perform. There’s a sense of calm and a sense of community in that transient little town by the mighty Zambezi River.
I had started focusing on following my heart/intuition more, no matter how crazy it seemed and did less worrying about what people are ‘supposed’ to do or what is ‘expected’ of me…
By November that year, I flew back to London armed with my new EP recorded in my backpacker bedroom studio. Still low on cash, I had never been to any of the countries mentioned above apart from The UK, The US and the ones in Africa. Focusing on what I did have, I opted to use my newly acquired European passport to actually see places I would have found it hard or impossible to get to on a non-EU passport. I was and still am a full-time musician and I couldn’t afford to rent in London or anywhere really so it was time to improvise with the accommodation thing.
My main focus was to keep performing and growing as an artist. Nothing great ever came without sacrifice and yes, of course I’d like to have my own home one day. I totally plan on owning a wonderful home that will be fully paid for by my art/skill. I may not have much money right now but I am very aware and grateful for the many other riches I already possess.
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
One of my greatest tools is to focus on what I do have and to start from there. I can get very far, when at the start of each day I am aware of my travel-friendly passport, my network of friends/family, my musical/artistic talents, my sense of humour (audience members often tell me I should become a comedian lol), my various computer skills, my intrinsic optimistic nature, my great passion for singing, my huge desire to excel, my boundless energy and current good health along with the other gifts I already have at my disposal including the very day itself that I get to live through. Life is a precious gift!
When starting to build your dream from scratch: If you learn to use what you already have, you won’t need what you have not, the rest will manifest in time – Ryan Koriya
Which brings me to…
To build a successful music career takes quite a lot of money and support from the relevant sectors of the entertainment industry. I was quite deficient in both of these at the time and so rather than give up or be tied down by an office job to pay for a small room in an expensive city, thus relegating my music to the lower ranks of my time and energy banks, (with such an evolving industry as is the modern music world that is full of new possibilities), I opted to start building my career from the ground up. Brick by brick on my own, fan by fan, show by show, song by song, lesson by lesson, new skill by new skill, hurdle by hurdle.
Most importantly, like an Olympic athlete who trains every single day, I am now a musician who is at the top of his game, ready to perform and entertain at the drop of a hat having just sang in public (gigs) for around 210 hours (actual singing time) in the last three months alone, and that’s not including any singing I did in practice.
Besides, isn’t travelling globally and performing music what the well-known successful artists do?!
So that means I am now already living the dream. Being an artist is a lifestyle and it is who I am everyday. I create and perform, I have people in the countries listed above and more, who have already heard my music and who have met me in person, or know someone who has met me.
The fandom has begun, it may be small now, but it is already pretty spread out and bubbling. I’m building a career to last unlike the prominent flash-in-the-pan mentality of today. One day, I envisage all of these RK supporters becoming one big community of fans when the crucial hype machine finally kicks in.
Thinking back, as a Zimbabwean kid who took four years and three months just to get out of the then sanctioned country overcoming what seemed like a dead end situation, dreaming about a successful international music career, it now feels like it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but more a matter of ‘when’!
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul
It’s about August 2012 and I’m living at a backpacker’s lodge called Shoestrings in stunning Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. I am renting a twin room for myself and spend my days recording using my makeshift bedroom studio. The sun is bright and the energy is potent. This is also where Exsouliation this blog’s theme song was recorded…
I had moved back to Zimbabwe to record material, knowing it would benefit from the more positive ‘sun-filled’ energy of home seeing as my songs in London were turning out to be quite depressing with all the uphill battles I had to face when recording my first demo in an abandoned hospital building in Fitzrovia. Plus I really struggle with the British Winters!
The plan was to record in Zimbabwe for about six months… I had now been there for nearly two and a half years! My laptop died shortly after arriving in 2010 and it took me 11 months to save up for this new one pictured above, but that’s another story.
Something She Said Really Hit Home!
I was dating a lovely Spanish girl who was in Victoria Falls for six months to improve her English (now there’s a sentence a lot of people will find surprising, talking about how Zimbabweans do indeed speak English very well) 😉
Fast forward to the European Summer of 2013, we are now living in London and she says to me (paraphrasing a little)…
Last year when I was still getting to know you in Victoria Falls, I thought, I must be dating a mad man! You sat there in your little room by your computer on which you were recording a supposed new EP, tinkering away everyday. You had about US$20 to your name and then you tell me with a straight face….
‘My plan is to complete my EP, and release it by the end of the year then play an EP Launch here in Victoria Falls and in Harare (the capital). Next, I will fly back to London to assemble my first UK backing band, play an EP launch gig there (and now being on an EU passport), I’d love to go and check out places like Holland, Germany and hopefully go play at a close friend’s wedding in Australia in January’…
… I was amazed! How could you possibly think any of this is doable considering your current circumstances? Then, I watched you go and do literally everything you set out to do! It’s amazing how optimistic, passionate, resourceful and driven you are! So inspirational!
She made me realise how I’m so used to having to manifest so much from the seemingly impossible, otherwise, I’d have stopped being a musician years ago! It just doesn’t work on paper!
I had just come back from being in Australia for three months, to play at my friend’s wedding and then went travelling down the East Coast.
I had finished the EP in Zimbabwe, pressed the CDs, played a few launch shows and composed an original soundtrack which all helped fund my flight back to London in late November. By mid December, I was in Holland for the first time and by mid January, I was in Australia for the first time. I then went on to play in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Denmark all for the first time and also returned to the US later that year (having been there for the first time in 2009 to have my hopes dashed). By Christmas, I was back in Zimbabwe and about to do it all again a second time in 2014! The music train was back on track!
On January the 24th 2014, I landed in London and started my audio diary…
Captain’s Log | January 24, 2014:
(PS: My younger brother has told me that he did get to fly to Botswana once)