The quality in his polished beat, the maturity in his message, the energy in his live performances and the creativity in his videos have all propelled Jeys above the rest.
In a career spanning more than two decades the Bulawayo-based artist scooped his first award, Best Video for the title song “Emarabini”, off his debut album in 2003. Prior to that he had travelled widely and shared the stage with some of the most popular international stars like Britain’s Peter Gabriel, Senegal’s Youssou N’dour and Mali’s Salif Keita.
“I loved singing from a young age and in 1992, I formed an Imbube (Ndebele acapella) group that I called the Comforting Brothers, which comprised mostly my friends and former schoolmates,” said Jeys, born in Dekezi Village, Filabusi, Matabeleland South, the same place he also launched the group.
“In 1992, we moved to Bulawayo in search of a better market because that is where the radio, the television and jobs were. We held our own outside the Revenue Hall, where we competed against other Imbube groups like Black Umfolosi, Sunduza, Amakhosi and Amabhubesi. We would perform there, in the open while people sought candidates for their various functions and we won many of those jobs because we were very good.”
Jeys’ biggest break came in April 1994, when he was invited by Simon Banda, lead-singer for Sunduza, to cover for the group’s deputy lead-singer, who had fallen ill. Two months later, they went on a two-month tour of India. They later toured Canada and the UK.
“Among the highlights of those tours was when we performed at the Womad Festival and the world’s biggest – the Glastonbury Festival, where we shared the stage with the Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo of South Africa,” saidJeys.
“Personally, the highlight of my career was when I shared the stage with Peter Gabriel, Underground, a UK band, coming face to face with Womad director worldwide, Thomas Brumen and the rest of the international stars. I had lived a dream.”
He hopes that his recently released sixth offering, “Jeys at 40” will live up to his traditional hit-making record.
“Its title comes from a surprise gesture towards me by Bulawayo musicians and the public, who held a wonderful party for me in central Bulawayo when I turned 40 years,” said the icon, who has also held shows with almost every popular South African musician.Post published in: Entertainment