I first noticed Styles Melik after the recent release of the video for the Shanda song he did together with Fatima Katiji affectionately known as Stimela. I took a keen interest in the fresh artist and decided to find out more about him. The artist, Brighton Tinashe Machaya grew up in the streets of Kadoma Rimuka but is now based in Harare. He is definitely one of the new voices to watch.
I am a Christian, father, husband, artist and I also work for one of the leading mobile network operators in Zimbabwe. Funny enough, I do not have any musical background in my family but I have always liked music from a very young age. So you can call me a family trail blazer in that sense.
2. How did your journey start, where, and at what age did you discover your talent and passion for music?
We started off as Mabhiridha Clan in Kadoma with my Friend Shemah Razemba. We had just finished school and did not have any real options for things to do in life really. In addition we had a strong passion for Mangoma as we called them. Back then we were recording muzvikwere zvehuku and sometimes nemaLatops anga asina kana screen. Funny enough we became popular in Rimuka and people we didn’t even know would greet us in streets and some asking for pictures. This served as an eye opener of just how far we can go. I later got a formal job in Harare in 2017 and this meant I had to leave my friend Shemah and everything we had build together behind. It was painful, but as my mother called it, it was an opportunity to advance my studies and do something meaningful with my life. I came to Harare and started working and studying for my Diploma at the same time, however I still managed to make time for Music. I later met with Cymplex and produced what I think was my first serious track called Mwanangu Ndofa. I later on worked with Oskid on Munzira and now working with Rodney beats as my Executive produce.
3. What do you want to be known for?
I want to be known for creating timeless music that transcend age, time and race. Music that anyone (yound/old/black/white) from anywhere can listen to at any time (today or 5 years from now) and enjoy as if the track was released that very day. I want to be known for making people dance, smile and sometimes cry. Music is 80% about emotion so if I can channel that to the people in an impactful way I would have been successful.
4. How are you progressing towards it?
I have had my moments, I have had some small victories here and there. Ndinotemba newe; mwanangu ndofa, Paivapo featuring Trevor Dongo; paminamato featuring Gary tight and Life are some of the songs which have been well received. But if you are going to listen to the upcoming projects there will be a deliberate bias towards urban traditional largely because its bankable and trancend age and time. Itype yeMuic isingapere and inotererwa nemazera ose.
5. What’s your creative process like?
I am inspired by the life I have lived and the stories that I see every day in my day to day life, some stories are sad, some stories are joyful and the hunger to tell those stories in a way that everyone can relate to inspires me to write music. For example, the most inspiring story I have seen to-date is how I have seen my mother through the years working hard to provide for us and the relationship that we share. This explains why to date I already have about three songs that contextualises in a deeper sense, a mother and son relationship.
6. Talk about your new project
The new upcoming project is probably the biggest track I have worked on to date. Based on the benchmark of my own standard I would say this will be my best musical track so far. It’s a complete departure (in a very good way) from what people are used to hear from me. We roped in probably the best producer in Zimbabwe Rodney beats to assist on the track and I was also very privileged to get to work with one of the best vocalists in Zimbabwe Sisi Fatima. I am sure my fans and the people at large will be surprised by what we are about to offer.
7. How did you land your collaboration with Fatima?
Sisi Fatima is a very long story. I wrote the first draft yaShanda in January 2021 and I gave it to the team at Epic Play Inc. my record label as a demo. When they played it, the first thing they said is we need Stimela on this track, they were convinced that she would add immense value. But deep down ndakatoseka ndikati these guys are crazy, how can I possibly work with Stimela she is way way out of my league. They tried all they can to get in touch with her, looking for her management, DMs on her social media but we failed to get any responses. I think it was largely because she was busy out of the country at that point. So in the end we decided to give up. We chased two other big names who just fell short of telling us that we were not worth their time. It is tough out there guys as an upcoming artist.
Anyway, we decided to go to the studio on our own without a collaboration. We chose to work with Rodney because he is probably one of the most versatile producers in Zimbabwe. When Rodney heard the song he went completely nuts and said we needed sis Fatima on the track. I told him how we had struggled to get her own the song and he just said leave everything to me. Next thing Sisi Fatima’s was on the track.
8. How is it working with her?
It was a life changing experience to be honest. More than making a good track I think I learned a lot from her. For starters, she is very professional; she worked on the track without asking for a single cent. She never told us she wanted to work with us, she just went to the studio and worked on the track. We only knew she was on board after we got to listen to the second sample of the track; Rodney presented the sample with Sisi Fatima to us as a surprise. It made my team panic a bit because we were not sure if we could afford her and now she was on the track but she asked for nothing she just believed in the project. She owned it and worked tireless on it which is the reason why this is not a feature but a collaboration.
Though the team managed to pull something through as a thank you we are not sure if it will ever be enough given the impact she has had. We are forever indebted to her. We later sat together and exchanged ideas on things to improve and also to finalise the track. This process alone was more like getting a Master’s degree in Music. It was a life changing experience indeed.
9. In what ways do you think this collaboration will push your career in music?
Apart from learning from Sisi Fatima and making better music., I think it is important to realise that Stimela is such a massive brand in the Zimbabwean music industry. I am hoping that working with her is going to give music fans beyond my own fans the patience to listen to my music. I am hoping that with a voice like raSisi Stimela alongside mine I will finally have people’s ears and hearts which will help my brand to grow.
10. Any other upcoming projects?
The project we did with Sisi Fatima is part of “The Quartet – Inguva Singles collection” which comprises of 4 tracks. So far we have released two of the four Songs – Paminamato (Video) Featuring Gary Tight; Paivapo Featuring Trevor Dongo (Audio) and we are left with Shanda and Inguva. Shanda as you know is dropping On Monday the 18th and Inguva will be out sometime before September with a video again. We will also have two more tracks Handitye and “Love Tonight” dropping before Christmas with the accompanying Visuals.
11. Message to your fans
Thanks for the support and we have a lot of things we have in store for you this year and more years to come. I also want to take time to thank my team at Epic Play Incorporated who have been unbelievable in supporting me. Thanks for the faith and the support, God Bless!