They call him the ‘Dancehall Doctor’, but he is Freeman on stage – Dzivarasekwa’s gift to Zimbabwe. One of the most creative lyricists from Zimbabwe’s new generation of musicians, Freeman sees 2012 as his breakthrough year with a tour of the United Kingdom lined up for August.
This is The Truth About: Freeman
Name: Emegy Sylvester Chizanga
Stage Name: Freeman
Born: June 22, 1988
Lives In: Harare
Marital Status: Single
How did you get your stage name ‘Freeman’?
My schoolmates nicknamed me Freeman because I always found free spaces on the football pitch, and I would shout “free man” so they could get the ball over to me.
As I have grown, I have embraced the name as I am a free spirit who loves to explore life and taste new experiences that hold true to the deepest parts of me as opposed to being influenced by what the masses around me are doing.
As Freeman I think freely and have the courage to hear my own voice and follow my own integrity. I've always thought of myself as a free spirit.
How do you best describe your music?
My music is a mixed bag really; some of it is purely party music. I touch on different subjects but the one I’m passionate about is the struggle of the youths from the ghetto who go through the same struggles I go through in trying to make their mark in life be it in music or any other career. I also have love songs, songs of hope and peace.
As 2012 continues to unfold, what do you have in store for your fans?
God willing, I am hoping to complete several works that I’ve started with different people locally and internationally. Internationally, I’m working on some music with one of the hottest producers on the dancehall and reggae scene at the moment from England called Blaze of J&G records. He has worked with big names like Luciano and Gyptian I-Octane just to name a few. He is excited to work with me.
I’ve just released my second album entitled ‘Last Man Standing' and will be embarking on an international tour which will hopefully strengthen my relationship with my overseas fans. I get a lot of encouragement through social networks from fans based all over the world so I cannot wait to return the favour by giving them the live performances that they truly deserve.
What’s your favourite musical instrument?
The bass guitar
FREEMAN feat CALLY C: JOINA CITY
Do you write your own songs?
I write a lot but I prefer doing it in the studio. It’s easy for me to get ideas and ride on the rhythm when I listen to a beat.
Who is you inspiration and why?
Actually, a whole lot of people in my life have had a great deal of influence on me and my career especially my family. I just don’t know where I would be were it not for the support and encouragement that I get from my parents. Despite the hype, to them I am still their little boy.
Presently, I also have some wonderful, warm and fantastic human beings that really have a lot of influence over my musical career including my DangerZone (Dzivarasekwa) family.
Have you ever worked outside the music business?
I have always been doing music, never done any other work besides music. I am so thankful to be living my dream, waking up every day to do something that I love.
What are you most proud of as a personal accomplishment?
This may be outside of what you're looking for, but I'd say my career in music. I have really come a long way from my days singing in the school choir. I'm doing what I really love and what I've wanted to do since I was a teenager in high school.
I've won accolades for my work, but it has also opened some great doors in the community. I've been able to get involved in some great organisations and I've built some good friendships from that. I have a good feeling about the music industry and still think that the best is yet to come.
What do you know for sure in life?
I know that God is in control.
Who is your favourite Zimbabwean musician?
What makes you happy?
Going to church! I am easily pleased, which means that I am quite often very happy. Some of my best moments have been on stage performing, like when Lady Squanda and I performed our hit song “Dancehall Doctor” at the Mavado show. We received a rapturous welcome like no other. When a live performance goes well, it’s like you want to stay up there on that stage forever.
I also know that every breath that I draw is a gift. Every morning I wake up to a new day, and all those songs that annoyingly-cheerful people like me are singing actually have a basis in reality. They help me settle down to enjoying the gifts that I have been blessed with. My track ‘Blessings’ from the new album says it all.
How do you define true religion?
I think religion is so hard to define but for me, Ziggy Marley’s album title “Love is My Religion” defines it all. In my personal view, religion is simply having strong faith in God, but is almost impossible to explain to someone who cannot believe in the Almighty.
James 2:17 really defines my religion when it says “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Faith is the tool that is within me that helps me through each day no matter what joys, fears or hardships come my way. I have already sung about this on my track ‘Dancehall Doctor’. I think people who have a hard time understanding faith are looking outward for definitions not inward where faith is.
What’s your favourite possession?
If money was not an issue, what would you campaign for in the world?
I would campaign for the less privileged, orphans and the eradication of poverty.
Is there someone you would like to meet before you die?
What are your favourite colours and why?
I like red for Dangerzone, and green and white for CAPS United.
What’s your idea of a sexy woman?
Someone who is kind, is not ashamed of where they come from, beautiful, intelligent and hard working.
Lady Squanda and Cally C have been recurring performers in your music. What’s special about these two?
I have had the privilege of working with some truly inspirational young women including Lady Squanda and Cally C who featured on ‘Joina City’ and more recently on the song ‘Pressure’. I think they have shown me how creative and dedicated African women can be in pursuing perfection.
FREEMAN feat LADY SQUANDA: NESHUNGU