For those of us like me who didn’t know much about Tanzanian artist Harmonize, you would have only associated him with some of his bangers ‘Kwangwaru’, ‘Bado’ and ‘Happy Birthday’. But Harmonize is more than just a great singer, songwriter and dancer. His story is one full of struggle, hope and overall G.R.I.T as the artist has fast risen to be one of the best things to happen to the Tanzanian music scene.
Hawking to get food on the table
As best described in his hit song Matatizo, Harmonize takes me through his journey of selling almost anything to get food on the table at the end of the day. From selling water and other confectionery on the street, to hawking tea at the Kariokor market, he recalls how every day was a struggle for him. “Even when I started focusing on music bado ilinichukua miaka miwili to create a name for myself. At some point, I felt God had not planned I become a musician. There was a time I almost gave up in life, but my mother kept encouraging me to continue pressing on,” he said.
A little-known artist then, WCB boss Diamond is the one who introduced him to the entertainment scene some time back at the very place where the two were performing. Harmonize has since fast risen to fame after his music debut in 2011.
Despite his doubts whether his ‘Matatizo song would be a success, it resonated with many who can relate and surpassed all expectations to become a big hit.
Being a Blaze Mentor
How does it feel like being associated with Blaze? A movement that’s focuses on empowering the youth through their talents? He says that this was a dream come true for him because it doesn’t just focus on getting an education but highlights the need for the youth to get more out of life through their respective talents.
Kenya ni kati ya nchi zinazo nisupport sana na nilifurahi sana nilipoambiwa nitakuwa mentor wa Blaze. Nimetamani sana kupata nafasi ya kuongea na youth kama mimi wanaoona kwamba maisha yao inalegea ili niwape motisha ya kuendelea” Harmonize said. (Translation: Kenya is one of the countries that support my music so I thrilled to be told that I would be a Blaze Mentor. I’ve always wanted the chance to talk to the youth who feel like they’ve hit a slump in life because that’s where I was before anf look at where I am now.)
’Unajua maisha ya waafrika wengi sio mazuri na wenye Maisha mazuri ni wachache sana. Niko kati ya wale walioyapitia maisha magumu sana japo kuwa si vizuri kuzungumza juu ya up and downs, japo naona mtu akizungumza anawapa motisha wengi.’’ As you know most Africans, especially the youth, struggle to make ends meet every day and those that have money are very few. I’m among those who had a difficult life and although it’s not very nice to talk about your struggles, I always felt that it was important that my fans heard of my story and felt motivated to change their lives. There were many times I wanted to give up but I’m grateful that I had people around me who wouldn’t let me give up. I’m especially grateful to Diamond for giving me this platform to showcase my talent and to also encourage others.
Did he ever imagine a time would come when thousands of people would be singing his songs word for word? Honestly no. “I know sijafika but God is good sahii. Watu wamenijua and I feel so humbled kusikia watu singing my songs line to line.”
For him, apart from working hard and not giving up, believing in himself has always been his daily motto. “As much as you can put in the work, people might want to bring up ways of bringing you down. They might even want to make you believe that you don’t have what it takes, but look at me, a humble boy from Tanzania being given the stage to inspire thousands of young people because I always believed in myself. I always say, if you want to achieve something believe in yourself, you can make it. That is what made me who I am today.”