We are living in a special time, a time where we have the privilege of witnessing the birth of another Zimbabwean star. Danai Clay is simply an enchanting musician who has mastered the art of infusing the mbira into her unique sound with unparallel astuteness. Her entrancing sound qualifies her to be future of Zimbabwean music altogether; This young musician is truly a legend in the making. Here is a deeper look into Danai from Danai herself.
Tell us the story behind your name, Danai Clay?
Danai Clay started off as being derived from my second name “Claudette”. The meaning became deeper when a friend of mine said to me that we are made out of clay by God. So I am the Clay and God will mold me into the artist I should be.
When did you begin your musical journey?
Music has always been my life , I started singing and playing mbira when I was 8. However, I started venturing into the music industry in 2018 and I released my debut single entitled Rudo.
Why did you decide to infuse mbira into your music?
I was inspired by the late Chiwoniso Maraire to start composing songs using mbira. I also love the unique identity that mbira gives to music. It is purely Zimbabwean.
How many songs/albums do you have to your name?
So far i have 3 singles entitled “Rudo”, “Nguva yacho” and “Power”. I also have an EP that I released this year in May entitled “Mavambo”. It has 6 tracks.
What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?
So far the highlight was the project that I did entitled “The Trade” this year 2021. It was a virtual artistic residency done by the Incubator Zw in collaboration with Gilbert’s house Botswana and The British Council. It was an all-females collaboration and i worked with two lovely ladies from Botswana an animator and visual artist. It was a different experience and i got to learn more about the culture from Botswana, their music and language. During this project we composed a song entitled, “Power” and it looks at the spirit of togetherness.
Which of your projects are you most proud of?
I am proud of all my projects. I see growth in each project and I am proud of that.
What are the obstacles you have faced in your musical journey?
In this music industry, funding is a huge obstacle. Without funding you will not be able to do any project. I am grateful that my family supports me financially and that has made the music journey possible. Another obstacle I faced was lack of identity as an artist, I almost fell into the trap of following the trends. However, I am grateful that I got advice from my family and a guru in the music industry Mono Mukundu to have a unique sound that’s not following any trend.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years as a musician?
I see myself having won some national and international awards.
Who inspires you in the musical industry?
Chiwoniso Maraire, Feli Nandi, Amanda Black, Berita Soulful, Lira, Zahara and Lila Iké.
Where do you draw your inspiration to compose?
My inspiration comes from my experiences and societal issues. Life itself is an inspiration and also the word of God also inspires my music.
If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I don’t want to limit my capabilities to only being a musician. Currently, I am also a business woman. I would want to venture into acting and maybe writing books.
So I will be all the things I wish to become and explore all my capabilities.
What is your personal mantra?
Wherever God places you, leave your mark.