Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Lifestyle Writer
The song “Fadza Mutengi” has been dominating airwaves and trending on social media, making its composer — Poptain — one of sought-after dancehall singers on the current wave.
Many young people that follow dancehall have fallen in love with Poptain, and his profile is now going up the ladder of popularity.
The good thing about dancehall is that young singers rotate to top charts. The established and upcoming musicians get fare shares to make hits and every time there is a trending star. Poptain is the star of the moment.
But who is the young talented lad?
The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle caught up with the musician who was coming from the studio where he is recording another release.
Poptain’s real name is Ameen Abduljaleel Matanga and was born in Gweru on May 22, 1994.
“My name is precious. Ameen means trustworthy and Abduljaleel means a slave of power- God’s power. I was given the name by my parents and I am Muslim,” he said.
Although the 26-year-old chanter grew up listening to reggae and dancehall music, he did not think one day he would be a music sensation.
Clad in a black track jacket with a hood, the shy musician said music is a dream come true for him.
“I am a very ambitious youngster hailing from the ghetto. I loved music from way back but decided to record in a studio in 2011 soon after finishing high school. I used to be called Mad Arzlaan before my friend Nuddy Nice named me Poptain. I am a Gweru boy but I moved to Harare in 2004.
“All this time I was an underground musician. I used to check some artists on posters and wondered how it felt to perform for a crowd and also imagined how the studio looked like.
“I then gave myself courage to take a step further and ride on a beat. We did ‘Fadza Mutengi’ on Nash TV together with popular Allanah. I always used the term ‘mutengi’ for my music identity, but I did not expect to use it as a song title. When I heard the beat and got excited, I immediately decided to put my all and called it ‘Fadza Mutengi’. The rest was magic since Allanah’s voice went well with every experiment,” he explained his musical journey.
The youngster said he used to sing a lot of sad songs because of the societal settings which inspired him and he wanted to act as a catalyst, giving solution through music.
Although he was not well known, most of his songs were hits in the ghetto but could not find airplay and opportunity with promoters.
“I am still the same Ameen, the ghetto boy you met six months ago. Nothing has changed about me and I don’t let fame ride on me. I write my own songs and they are inspired by my surroundings. I have lost count of how many songs I have. I am still compiling my records and I am hoping to give fans a body of work in an album.
“My role model is Mavado- Jamaican singer. His style is something else. Fame has really been a learning process and it comes with advantages and disadvantages. Now it is difficult to be in a supermarket freely because when fans spot you they start chanting- “Fadza Mutengi” and asking for selfies,” he said.
Poptain said he is married, but he did not want to shed more light on the affair.
“It would be nice to stay low on that relationship note. I can’t give out much details though about my wife but just know I am married. For now, I want to work hard and become a force to reckon with in the whole region and also bring big change to the industry,” he said.
He said he is glued to the microphone for now and is surviving on that.
“I am always in the studio. I am not yet there but, believe you me, we are surviving and I am using this lockdown opportunity to learn more about myself, family and music,” he added.
Poptain shared a piece of advice to the youths.
“I want to tell my fellow ghetto youths to stay away from drugs and chase your dreams. Stay safe especially in these coronavirus times. All my life has been a challenge but I think it is a lesson for me to keep going stronger and I have noticed that one day I can be used as an example to my peers,” he said.
Poptain went to Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe (Independent College Zimbabwe) for his secondary education. He started doing music sessions at school and the encouragement he got from friends and admirers inspired him to seriously take up the art later.
He hopes to join the list of big musicians in the country as he continues to make music.