Multi-talented US based Zimbabwean artist Eve Kawadza yesterday tied the knot with her Jamaican love Noel Blair in Orlando, Florida.
Marshall Shonhai, Zimbabwe
Who is Eve Kawadza, Dj Everjoy? Eve was born in Buhera on the 12th of August 1988. She spent her early years in Rusape with her paternal Grandmother and later came to Harare when she was 4 years old in time for her to start her preschool. She did her Primary school at Houghton Park Primary School in Waterfalls in Harare and did her O’level at Howard High School in Chiweshe and came back to Harare and did her A Level at Harare High School in Mbare popularly known as Danho. She proceeded to the University of Zimbabwe where she did her Bachelor Of Arts Degree BA General.
Eve says growing was good, “I love my parents and my family”. She was raised in a strong family unit. Eve grew up and lived in Mbare on Samuriwo Street but was not raised the typical “ghetto” way. Unlike the norm in all high density areas, Eve never played outside the gate, they were never allowed. “Tairambidzwa kutambira muroad” she says.
I totally understand her because we were raised the same way. It’s actually a tough thing being raised in the ghetto like that, other kids would think “munovhaira” or “munoda kuzvita varungu” being all booouji but alas playing on the streets will invite a thorough beating! But that does not make Eve any less proud of where she comes from, she is proud to be associated with her hood.
So Eve was raised differently from what is usually the “standard” for such a place. Her parents took sent her to school, pushed her to work hard and expected he to be an academic. She says growing up she actually wanted to be a doctor! Imagine Eve as a doctor? 🤔 nah! Hazvibude!
I asked her when or what was was her first experience with music and to my surprise she responded “we didn’t have much access to the radio, like listening to music because we had to study.”
It was only at the UZ in 2008 she discovered and started attending an event and program called “Sisters Open MiC” at The Book Cafe, Sisters open Mic was a platform where women where given an opportunity and a stage to sing and express themselves musically. A lot of our big female artistes horned their skills at these sessions. Here she says “people were supportive and welcoming, it helped boost my confidence on the stage.”
” I did a degree just because I should have done a degree. I feel I should have started music then and studied something to do with music, lacked carrier guidance. Feel like I wasted 3 years doing a degree I didnt like or enjoy, and which I have not used to date.”
Whilst she was at college she made the decision that she was going to pursue music, something which was definitely going to be against everything her family believed in or expected of her.
She later took part in a series called BOCAPA Exposure, she recalls enthusiastically “that was my first playing with a live band and felt I had found my space”
Eve Became a regular at The Book Cafe just to watch other artists play, she got the opportunity to watch the likes of the late great Chiwoniso Maraire, Victor Kunonga, Dudu Manhenga, Prudance Katomeni Mbofana, Jazz Invitation amongst others play.
One of her key early musical or foundational moments include the time Clarybel Nyakujara took her in and featured her in one of her gigs at the then popular Jazz105. Clare’s band backed her, this was like her real first performance in front of a crowd, away from the familiar regulars The Book Cafe.
She remembers “I was so young and didnt know that people actually get paid because growing up I had been told that zvekuimba ndezvemarombe, hazvibhadhare”. Clare gave me “taxi money” which was way way more than enough to pay for my ride home. That’s when I discovered that music could actually be a career.”
Eve is also on the long list of CHIPAWO alumni, she had a stint there. Unlike most who joined CHIPAWO at primary school, Eve only joined in when she was now at university.
“In Primary there was chipawo but never got involved but when i was at university the chipawo office was at Mutevedzi in Mt Pleasent which my near the university so I heard about it and started attending”.
Then they had auditions for New Horizons theater company under chipawo and did a play called Mutambo wepanyika, it was written by Pedro Calderón de la Barça, one of the most important playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age during the 17th and 18th centuries. Mutambo Wepanyika is the only Spanish play translated into Shona by a Spanish priest and first published in Zimbabwe in 1958. The play went on a national tour.
In the year 2010 she auditioned for UMOJA which was going to be held In Zimbabwe, it was also another great platform to gain exposure working and collaborating with various groups from Norway, Mozambique and South Africa.
Her music career started taking shape when she met renowned jazz pianist Filbert Marova who introduced her to jazz music, which she warmed up to.
“Filbert taught me my first jazz standard, summer time, that is all the time i fell in love with jazz music in particular the music of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.”
That December, the lady who was meant to do a duet with Filbert for the Christmas season at a local hotel was was booked at other shows and could not attend, Eve was called to step in for her since she had attended some of their shows. That is when she started working with him I did my 1st gig that paid me a Christmas entertainment I did a duet with him.
This was also her first well paying event. “A few weeks after those shows, Filbert gave me a large sum of money as payment, I remember I bought lost of groceries for home and my family was shocked that I received such an amount from just singing and she said “saka magitare anotobhadhara” that’s when they started warming up to the idea of me pursuing music.” Her family has since become her biggest support when it comes to her music.
Following the success of that Christmas season, a band was formed. It was called Blaqberry music, it featured the current Winky Dee’s Vigilance band bassist Taffy Bass, Tafadzwa Marova who happens to be Filbert’s son, drummer Mutsawashe Gudlanga on drums, Filbert on keys and Eve on lead vocals and they started playing at a lot of Corporate events. They recorded an album but it was never released with only the single Zvinodhura making it to radio and received considerable airplay at some radio stations. That year too they performed at HIFA on the Coca Cola green.
After BlaqBerry Music separated, Eve retraced her footsteps back to Sisters Open Mic where she received a lost of support from Batsirai Chigama, Penny Yon. She had the opportunity to watch and learn from fellow female artistes like Tariro Chaniwa otherwise known as Tariro neGitare, Hope Masike, Edith Woutonga, Diana Samkange Mangwenya . The Book Cafe and The Mannenberg Jazz Club managed and ran by Pamberi Trust held workshops for artists were they learnt a lot of things. Many of our female artists were really moulded and groomed at these programs by Pamberi Trust, one such program was called Flame.
As a solo artiste Eve performed at HIFA twice, in 2014 she did a tribute to legends Edith Piaf and Ella Fitzgerald and 2015 she did a collaboration with Marondera schools Orchestra a combination of Peterhouse and Watershed Schools. She also performed at various other festivals around the country.
From there she went full time solo and started doing a lot of corporate days as well as singing at Embassies national days where she has sang the national anthems for countries like Canada, French and Brazil amongst others.
Eve also attended the Zimbabwe College of Music in 2014. This helped strengthen her confidence and live performance skills on the stage because of the many shows that would be held there
In 2016 she went into the studio and recorded the song Mari yangu produced by Oskid and has a video directed by Nico Abote.
Eve loves the French language, she has studied it at Alliance Francaise and speaks a bit of it. She has also been a music teacher at the French school of Harare. She was also Vocal coach for 2 seasons on a competition called Sing your way to Paris,
In 2017 she was offered and accepted a contract in the USA and moved to Orlando Florida where she worked as a featured performer at Walt Disney world in one of their theme parks. At the end of her contract which she choose not to renew she decided to settle in the US where she is now fulltime pursuing her career as Eve Kawadza
She has since released another single called Good yangu which was produced by Renowned producer Mono Mukundu and has an amazing video to go with it directed by Josh Dasher. Work on her first Album will begin soon.
That is not all about this multi talented young lady, there is a whole different side to Eve Kawadza, a whole different persona, her alter ego DJ EverJoy!
I am sure most of us are familiar with a video of her that went viral a few years back as she played and danced to Jah Signal’s Mubako! Or her popular friday afternoon Facebook Live sessions where she would play local music mostly Zimdancehall.
See the contrast? A jazz artiste who is a Zimdancehall DJ!
“I love music so much and when I’m DJing I vibe”
and that is true, DJ Everjoy is the crazy one and Eve Kawadza is the normal one!
In a spare time she is booked for “I started getting booked for gigs here in the US, It didn’t happen in Zim because in Zim you have to stay in your lane, you can’t sing and be a DJ, you are almost expected to be identified with one thing”
Eve also loves and is good at acting and dancing and is hopeful it’s going to land her somewhere someday.
Wishing Eve Blair and Noel Blair a blissful marriage filled with love and joy ever after!