A True Artist’s Heart: Mwiza

Soul Snatcher, Entrancing Mwiza

A shallow skimming of the barrel of hardships that birthed the artist, reveals the fine tuning of the emerging Mwiza. Drums. Guitar. Budda Bum Bum. Strummmmm. With a voice that vibrates under your skin, this guy really knows how to win, and honestly, it’s natural for him. Everyone has thought about playing an instrument at some point. Commonly after a few days of trying to read notes, or attempting to create their own music by ear, many get bored, and give up. Not this amazingly talented, African guitarist Mwiza. Construction worker by day and singing, songwriting guitarist by night; Mwiza’s unique tone and melodic voice lead into memories long forgotten and dreams given up.

Mwiza began writing songs in June 2013 when he came to Tampa Bay for work but wouldn’t release his budding talent until early 2017. Exploring open mics to build on his creativity and understanding of the crowd.

Originating from South Central Africa, Zambia, right above Zimbabwe, Mwiza came to the United States at the ripe age of 10. Mwiza has lived in Jacksonville, Orlando, Kissimmee, St Petersburg and Tampa. Mwiza currently resides in Tampa, enjoying the various opportunities and never-ending activities of this bayside city, trumping the overcast skies of Jacksonville or oversaturation of tourism in Orlando/Kissimmee.

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 Mwiza chortles that he used to know 5 languages before he came to the U.S. but now is only familiar with American English. Mwiza came from a lineage of doctors and teachers. He attended school for Art Therapy, following the path for a psychology major to be developed into a psychiatry doctorate, to become a child psychiatrist.  He has since discontinued pursuing this career path to chase music.

Besides the “typical” guitarist difficulties of finding gigs and making money off the music, Mwiza has faced struggles that have pushed him further into the artist he is today. This includes a miscarriage in a past relationship and the sickening and passing of an aunt. These deeply emotional experiences with death, occurring between 2013 and 2017, was when his music truly began to reflect light. He had been going through the expected process, working 9-5, making just above minimum wage. Working to climb the American ladder of success which continually loses rungs at convenient life milestones. Making the progress, slower going than the American dream presents. Mwiza’s mindset changed, he knew something was missing. Self- expression, use of his God given gift, and the impact he could make with it, quickly became worth exploring. Escaping from his bouts of depression, Mwiza moved to St. Pete. He would perform at random venues and outside shops. Joining in with saxophonist Jamal, at a moment’s notice. After a year of Petersburg vibes, Mwiza moved back to Tampa for a day job and due to the ease of travel in the inner big city, continued his night time musical explorations. Dabbling between car sales, construction, and finally landing in hospitality with a full-time host position, Mwiza has found the funds to supplement a talent worth growing.

Mwiza is a self-taught guitarist exploring the natural sounds of the strings according to the tune in his mind, head tilted slightly to the side to hear the best tune. “Guitar is still fun because there is so much I am still discovering when performing, but with art, I am more like, this is how I show this perspective. This is how I get this outcome or feedback. It was more like a formula,’’ he explains.

Mwiza barely practices, simply allowing the notes beating in his heart, to dance down his skin, escaping from the strings as a new song strums away across the asphalt of another day. Mwiza speaks on the need for dedication as an artist, comparing the talent of the trained and naturally gifted, reminding that if properly educated; individuals should excel to or above the God gifted level, and both must be able to withstand the torrent of failures that will lead to success. 

 “A lot of people use music to escape but I want people to think. A lot of people aren’t as introspective as I might like them to be. So I want to use my music to help them connect and challenge people to explore why they feel the way they feel, as opposed to regurgitating or just ingesting something with no substance. A lot of people have been raised to think a certain way so if they have not been exposed to it, I wouldn’t expect them to do certain things. Certain ideas are more common in some circles than others,” Mwiza paints a picture of comparison. He tells the story of taking a girl on a date who had never been exposed to a certain type of food, such as Chinese food, because she was raised Puerto Rican. She may enjoy the new Chinese food and never have known it existed if not exposed to it or experienced it.

Mwiza has been playing guitar for a little over a decade picking up the universal instrument at age 15, intrigued by the physical appeal and portability of the well-known instrument. While the word artist seems to embody all creatives with different talents. More specifically this musician is also a pencil and pen artist, drawing the world through his mind’s eye. As a child this was the vision of the type of artist he wanted to be. Full of lead and charcoal, eraser burns, and shades of different inks, bleeding life onto paper. Being schooled on natural talent burned out his hand-drawn creativity. Once taught how to force regurgitation, in order to mass produce, according to requirement, the love of the movement dwindled away into the logical abyss that creativity goes to die. The chords of guitar strings dangled an artistic life line to the naturally gifted Mwizza. He used the strength of his soul resounding voice to pull himself free of losing his creativity to a world where scholarly formulas were not needed to hear the heart speak.

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Mwiza surprisingly thrives very well out of his left brain, emphasizing his childhood skill in mathematics which has strengthened his analytical thoughts but causes his song creation to drag out over months and up to a year. Mwiza reflects this after having started between 75-100 songs and only finishing around 60; while cycling through less than 20 songs for public performance. Mwiza has hosted multiple artist performance events to showcase people with talent who are like minded, stating, “I want to make it easier for venues to find artists that they like. As well as get in contact with those with the ability to let them know what they need to do to get where they want to go“. 

With a laugh Mwiza displays his humor stating that being short and black makes him stand out before answering more seriously, “Honestly the thing that makes my music different is how introspective it is because nowadays you don’t really find that. Notice how typically you hear the same kind of music. You might hear a song and the artist will explain like ‘oh yea man I was going through this situation’ but then when you hear the song there is nothing that is really touching you. Like it’s based more off the beat than it is about the message, or the feeling. I am basically one of those people that if I sing a song, I want to put you in your feelings.  I word my music in a way that is accessible to people”. 

In the last few months Mwiza has been bunkered down recording his first new song releases in years. “On Your Day” was recently released on April 20, 2020, with a new EP to follow shortly. There are several musical collaboration projects underway including joining a new band led by Stetson Lucier.  Mwiza’s music is available via his social media platforms including youtube, instagram and multiple streaming services. With 2 albums loading, and many opportunities flowering for talented Mwiza, this is one upcoming artist who is a must follow; his journey to fame has just begun. 

Link Tree :   https://linktr.ee/iammwiza

Written By: @writerreyes

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