Gemma Griffiths: Growing from Strength to Strength

Her rendition of local dancehall guru, Winky D's hit single "Musarova Bigman' virtually changed her fortunes over night. It...

Her rendition of local dancehall guru, Winky D's hit single "Musarova Bigman' virtually changed her fortunes over night. It cast her into the limelight and brought to the attention of the nation at large a very beautiful and talented young woman.

It's only natural that a lot of music lovers were left wondering just who this gem of a talent that had been unearthed, was and where she had emanated from. Today we will afford our readers the chance to have a few of those questions answered!

Over the years she has been a feature at festivals such as Hifa (Harare International Festival of Arts), ZimFest (London 2015) and 'Miombo Magic' among others where she left many awestruck. Yet, this is only but the 'tip of the iceberg' when it comes to her countless list of achievements in music, a list that also includes winning the national Eistedfodd Vocal Cup in Zimbabwe, a sure sign and true testament to her immense talent.

Not only is she gifted vocally but the singer also plays trumpet and piano, in which she was classically trained, as well as guitar.

Urban Craft magazine recently had a brief but insightful chat with the sensational Indie/folk singer/songwriter from her base in South Africa. She gave us a glimpse into a young yet colourful career and also took the opportunity to exclusively reveal that a much anticipated debut EP was also in the offing.

Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you.......Gemma Griffiths!!

> Can you give us a brief background into yourself?

Gemma: I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe. I am an acoustic soul singer and composer and also a pianist, trumpeter and guitarist through studying commercial music in the USA. I've aways had a very strong pull to music, and Zimbabwe's music scene feels like a part of me... Full of incredibe rhythm, sounds, people and experiences. I've been lucky enough to perform at a variety of music and arts festivals around the world, including the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) and ‘Miombo Magic’ in Zimbabwe. I headlined for Zimfest London 2015, and performed at the African Women’s Awards 2015. In 2016 I performed at the Zimbabwean achievers awards in London UK, and then played at Zimstock, Shoko, Zimlive and the Unplugged festivals in Zimbabwe later that year.

I am now based in Cape Town, which is an amazing City for music, and have been blessed to share the stage with a list of local artists such as Jimmy Nevis, Majozi and Matthew Mole. I also opened the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts for one of Zimbabwe’s top artists – Jah Prayzah.

 In 2016 I was nominated for a Zimbabwe Achievers Award for “Music Artist of the Year” and featured on the Mahogany Sessions in the UK, as well as Sofar Sounds London 2017. I recently opened for Grammy Award winning UK artist Joss Stone as part of Stone’s World Tour, and performed with Zimbabwean legend— Oliver Mutukudzi at the Artscape in Cape Town... undoubtedly one of the highlighs of not only my musical career, but my life.

 I've done a few English/Shona interpretations, including Winky D’s “Musarova Bigman” in 2016 which was a wonderful experience and has been received incredibly well.. I've really been in awe of the way it's been taken and the stunning feedback I've got from Zimbabweans all over the globe - it's been an amazingly uplifting experience. In terms of collaborations with international artists I've done a few, including Swiss DJ Askery on ‘Headlights’ which was signed to Spinnin’ Records in the USA, and ‘Game of Love’ with Cape Town’s 'The Kiffness' in 2017.

> Would you mind sharing with us details to any of your current or upcoming projects that fans can look forward to? 

Gemma: I am about to release my Debut EP (April 2018) as well as working on a few really exciting collaborations with some incredible artists!

> What would you say was your career defining moment? 

Gemma: There have been a few incredible moments, including sharing the stage with Tuku, and performing at the Zimbabwe Achiever's Awards in London, but I'd have to say my Winky D - Musarova Bigman interpretation was definitely a defining moment and a big highlight for me as an artist.

> What does your music catalogue look like thus far?

Gemma: As I mentioned earlier, I've done a few collaborations with international artists, as well as some interpretations of some Zimbabwean songs. With the EP almost out, that will be the next addition to the catalogue.

> Can you share with us some of the major highlights in your career thus far?

Gemma: Sharing the stage with different artists has always been a highlight for me. With Tuku in Cape Town, and Jah Prayzah at Kirstenbosch, as well as with the lovely Ammara Brown and Chengeto Brown in Zimbabwe, on Andy Brown's 'Mapurisa' - this was completely spontaneous and a real moment of sharing the music in such a beautiful way.

> What have you set your sights on for 2018 and beyond that? 

Gemma: 2018 is going to be an incredibly exciting year - With the EP and collaborations in the works, some travel and shows around the globe... there is a lot to look forward to.



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Urban Craft Magazine: Gemma Griffiths: Growing from Strength to Strength
Gemma Griffiths: Growing from Strength to Strength
Urban Craft Magazine
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