Gemma Griffiths is an Afro-fusion, award-winning star, proudly hailing from Harare, Zimbabwe. In this episode, we got to sit down with this multifaceted artist on what it means to be 'A Girl From Harare', as per the title of her latest album.
We also speak to her about her love for Zimbabwe; what driving across Africa to make her album was like; how she acknowledges her privilege of being white whilst navigating predominantly black spaces; the curation of the Live version of her album; her backstory and what lies ahead for her.
Keep Up With Gemma
Facebook: Gemma Griffiths Zim
Watch ‘A Girl From Harare’ The Live Album Recorded at the National Gallery here.
Watch ‘A Girl From Harare’ | The Documentary here.
Gemma Griffiths, a household name in Zimbabwe with 4 x ZIMA’s (Zimbabwe Music Award) under her belt, she also counts another two awards from Star FM and a string of nominations for the prestigious MAMA’s (MTV Africa) and Afrimma Awards.
Gemma grew up in Zimbabwe and continued her education in the USA, on a trumpet scholarship. She then moved to Cape Town to begin her career and shared the stage with some of South Africa’s finest, like - Freshly Ground, Goodluck, Majozi, and Matthew Mole. A personal career highlight was sharing the stage with the late great Dr Oliver Mtukudzi at Artscape Theatre.
It was Gemma’s love of Zim-Dancehall, that inspired a rendition of ‘Musarova Bigman’, a track by her favourite artist – Winky D also a Godfather of the scene. Gemma’s version showcased her distinctive vocals accompanied by the piano, singing in both English and Shona. Thanks to social media, her version gained notoriety across Zimbabwe, catapulting her into the dancehall space as an artist as well as putting her directly in front of the man himself…and in 2019, her life changed forever.
By 2020, Gemma independently released her debut EP ‘Pamwe’ via The Orchard. The second instalment, ‘A Girl From Harare’, was released in February 2022 alongside a mini documentary of the same name.
Gemma’s joint first love with travel is playing live and this has seen her take her brand across the continent and beyond. 2022 unveiled a nationwide tour of 11 shows across Zimbabwe, with an artist community of friends such as Nutty O, DJ Tamuka, rapper Holy Ten and DJ King Her. She also toured Dubai and Australia alongside Sungura legend, Alick Macheso.
Whilst Gemma is regarded a national treasure to many, she continues to carve out an international trajectory with music – carrying her beloved home country with her. She says, “I owe so much of my journey to Zimbabwean music culture and to Zim dancehall. I’m grateful for my upbringing, for my parents and my country, as before anything else, I am a Zimbabwean.”.
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