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Munnya Usuwana: The man behind the mic

05/08/2017 00:00:00
by Tidi Kwidini
 
Don’t be afraid to fail ... Munnya Usuwana
 
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ZIMBABWEAN poet Munnya Usuwana will this weekend make his film debut in Love Triangle, premiering at the Odeon IMAX in Greenwich, London.

The Nigerian- Zimbabwe production also features celebrated Nollywood actors Alex Ekubo and Daniel Lloyd.

Directed by award-winning film director Nelson Spyke, Love Tringle follows the complex love story of Razor, played by Usuwana, an intellectual fraudster who is embroiled in a world of dishonesty and corruption.

We caught up with Munnya, to talk about the film and what is next on the cards for him.

You've been on the scene for a few years now as a spoken word artist and now as an actor. What inspired you to become a performer?

MU: Life experiences, both good and bad as whole. I felt I had to put those two things to good use in terms of creativity and progress.

A number of people know you as “Munnya the wordplay poet” but, what other things are you most passionate about and that define who you are?

MU: I am a drummer and song writer. I studied Automotive Technology and Motorsports Engineering. Cars are a huge part of my day-to-day life - from random drives to recreational driving.

Who were your influences growing up, and some of the poets and writers who inspired your journey into poetry?

MU: I remember my brothers used to listen to Tupac a lot, he was a great poet. Not to forget Maya Angelou and the music icon, Oliver Mtukudzi.

You have recorded a number of singles. Any plans to release another album?

MU: I released an album in 2015 but, yes, the next album will be Secret Admirer, with five tracks featuring some of Hampshire’s finest guitarists and musicians and, hopefully singers.

Would you ever consider doing a tour and if so, who would you most like to tour and perform with?

MU: Tours are on my mind big time and I would really like to perform with Emeli Sande. However, I have a poetry evening on the cards for later in the year called; A night with Munnya Usuwana.

You are starring in an upcoming film entitled Love Triangle, how did this opportunity arise?



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MU: I was invited to perform at a movie premiere in March this year and provoked the interest of a few Nollywood directors. One of them gave me a call in May and offered me a role with Nollywood actor, Alex Ekubo. I was later asked to take the lead role in the film with another Nollywood actor, Lloyd Daniel.

Tell us a bit about the role you play in the film and do you share any similar traits with this character that allowed you to easily adapt?

MU: I play the role of a very cunning and intellectual thief that uses complex tactics to gain financial security. I even go as far as using my own girlfriend to get my way. It's funny, I am a very sensitive young man, empathetic in a way and nowhere close to the character I play in the movie. That’s the thing about acting; you are usually the total opposite of who you are in real life.

What were some of the rewards, challenges and lessons you learned from this project?

MU: Some of the challenges I faced were the filming – it was repetitive at times. Some scenes had more than 20 takes just to ensure it was perfect. It was often tedious but worth it. I learnt how to be patient and to persevere. It was also wonderful to see how the world of filming works and what it really takes and means to be an actor. The rewards were in abundance on set because we were treated really well, with overwhelming recognition from everyone. It was nice to see and have people around me that truly appreciated my talent.

You have performed at several prestigious events, including the Tuku@65 tribute dinner and the ZIWA’s, what have these experiences taught you so far?

MU: I was honoured to be asked to perform and I have absolutely loved each experience. These events have taught me that not all stages and crowds are the same but, that my work continues to be received and appreciated in an amazing way.

What are the ultimate platforms/venues you would still like to perform at?

MU: The Royal Albert Hall in front of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Glastonbury and Theatre’s all-around England.

What is next on the cards for you and would you consider another film role this year?

MU: Film roles, yes. I would be honoured. I would also love more live settings as opposed to just performing. I'm looking to have a whole production that includes lights and sound effects.

What would you say to those wanting to pursue a career in the arts?

MU: Don’t be afraid to fail.


 
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