SoulDeep, born Rutendo Magwenzi is a God-girl, a singer/songwriter and fashion designer and aspiring linguist from Harare, Zimbabwe. I like to use the term ‘artist’ because I am inclined to so many aspects of it.
How did you get into music and how did you come up with your name?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, both my parents were in the church choir and my dad had an awesome LP collection when I was young, so our house was always full of music.
My name was given to me by a fellow musician who I did my very first house tracks with(unreleased). I wasn’t really feeling it at first, but he kept calling me by that name, and soon others did too.
Who are your music influences?
This is a very hard question because they’re always changing depending on the season I am in life and sometimes my location too. I would say from the time I was young I was inspired by urban grooves legends like Leonard Mapfumo, Tererai Mugwadi, Cindy Munyavi, Plaxedes Wenyika, Sanii Makhalima, and Trevor Dongo. Then you have national treasures like the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and Chiwoniso Maraire.
On an international scope, I grew up on TLC, Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, India Arie, etc. Casting Crowns got me through high school, I am also into NF and Jackie Hill Perry. I have recently dived into Chinese and Korean music, and I have come across amazing gifts such as G.E.M, Zhou Shen, Eric Chou, JJ Lin, Park Hyo Shin and Day6, 2NE1 and IN2IT.
How would you describe your style of music?
Without boxing myself into a single genre (though my first official project is house), I would say it’s soulful, full of life, sometimes fiery and energetic, but always powerful and either moves your body or your heart. Sometimes both.
Where does your passion for fashion and designing come from?
Undoubtedly from my parents. My dad is a qualified artist, and my mom was always into making clothes for us and decorating the house when we were young. My brother is a graphic designer and comic book artist, so I guess it runs in the family.
What has been the highlight of life as a designer?
I’d say holding my first solo fashion exhibition took a lot of doing. “Entomoligia: The Invasion” for me was an experience I will cherish all my life. It was a relatively small production (musical fashion show). I believe it was groundbreaking for a designer in Zimbabwe to create an entire collection from pre-loved/upcycled materials in order to raise awareness about the impact humans have had on the environment.
Who are your fashion influences?
I don’t have specific people I look to as fashion influences. I am inspired by specific groups of people I have been around and exposed to. It’s not just the musicians or actresses or fashion influencers, it’s ordinary people like me and you that influence. They can be from the past or present, but anyone and anything is a possible fashion influence for me.
Where can people find them clothes you design?
I am currently not making any as I have gone back to school and I am focusing more on music, watch this space.
What do you hope people will get from listening to your music?
I want people to be entertained and inspired and I hope we can help them dance through the rain. My hope is we can face the pain together; I hope we can learn how to deal with life’s complex issues together. Through this music, I hope we can heal together too.
Who has been responsible for nurturing your music talent?
I think my mom helped nurture my singing while growing up because she would always volunteer me to sing at family gatherings (still does). By the time I got to high school, I knew I could sing, and I started considering it as a career. I transferred to Watershed College in form 3, and there I met Mr. and Mrs. Chokera, for the next few years they would become what I like to call my ‘musical parents’. They trained me to become the most versatile singer I could be, and therefore I never shy away from songs that may seem vocally challenging, in terms of low or high notes. The Chokeras also taught me to play the mbira, and that is a skill I take pride in as a musician, more so a Zimbabwean.
What have been the highlights of your music career so far?
I think the highlights of my music career have been opening for Sauti Sol at Unplugged, Harare and releasing my first ever music video which we did for ‘Never Going Back‘ last year.
What’s a typical studio session like for you?
Depending on the project, the process differs. Usually, I would have already listened to the song and written down my lyrics when I get to the studio. I like to do this in advance in order to give myself time to experiment with my vocals when I’m recording. However, sometimes I can hear a beat, and immediately start singing. This was the case with my latest offering, ‘Roundabout‘. I just heard the beat and immediately got into the booth and started fooling around with words and melodies and by the end of the day, we had a song.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My Bible. I haven’t had a physical copy in years, and it feels weird.
Also chewing gum, lip balm and hand lotion. Wait, you said one thing?
What’s the soundtrack to your life?
It would be a mash-up between Lesley Gore’s ‘You Don’t Own Me’ and Jackie Hill Perry’s ‘No Ways Tired’.
How have you keeping busy during the lockdown?
I am mostly studying, I have also been able to write a lot of new songs, and I am currently trying to find creative means of making visuals for the music we have out already. And of course, singing covers on K歌！
How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who lived fully dependent on God’s grace and mercy. For people to see God’s grace over my life, for the things that will happen in and outside my music career that can only be explained by grace.