Welcome back to another edition of the Music Estate Musician of the month series. In this edition, we are featuring the talented, versatile singer, pianist, organist and musicologist Zitu David Benafa.
Lets meet you. Your name and background
I’m Zitu David Benafa, a practicing musicologist and musician with specialization on vocal and keyboard music. I am the last of 4 siblings from my mother. I’m also happily married.
When and how did music come about for you?
Well, I think music chose me. My journey into music started pretty early! As a child, I had great appreciation for fine music as my father played lots of classical music with his turntable. Getting to love music, especially classical music was not a big issue for me and my siblings.
However, studying music was never in the table of contents. I honestly never knew music could be studied. I had always wanted to be an engineer until music called and I answered. I had a few friends who thought I should take a course in music. Well, here I am today.
What genre of music do you do and why?
Basically classical music as we call it. I also have a deep affinity with soft rock and related good music. Why? Like I mentioned above, I had no choice! The everyday play of classical music by my dad was the trick. For rock music, I guess my adventurous nature got me there.
What is your educational journey in music so far
So far, I have a master degree and a bachelor’s degree in vocal music performance.
Apart from the Piano/Organ What other musical instrument do you play
Professionally, I play the keyboard instruments, piano and organ and their variants. I can also do one or two things with the tenor and soprano recorders, bass guitar and the drums. I am an amateur in those areas.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far?
Working to be yourself can sometimes be an herculean task in a world were there is a constant thirst for imitation.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
For me, I enjoy being a musician because it makes me experience life in a unique way. I find music a pallet of life’s experiences.
I really do not hate being a musician. It’s a journey I can’t choose to hate if I must find myself.
Tell us about the initiative Friday nights with Zitu Benafa
Friday Night with Zitu Benafa was an offspring of the covid- 19 saga. I had to figure out ways to keep music lovers ‘sane’. It was more of contribution to the well-being of the music space.
You are also an African Composer, What inspires your compositions? How many compositions you have so far
Almost anything inspires me to write music – events, places, people, LOVE and experiences. To be honest, I have not had an update of my compositions, but they are over 200.
What drew you to the music industry? Your motivation.
Nothing particularly! I just found myself in it. I think most musicians in this clime may say same.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
The hearts of those who make up the industry. A heart of together we build it!
Who are you inspired by?
This is quite difficult to answer. Since the inspiration comes in many ways, I’ll choose to say everyone who fits the moment.
What’s an average day like for you?
I respond to several messages online, teach music, eat good food, movies and walks.
What is your biggest achievement so far and what do you hope to achieve in the nearest future?
My biggest achievement is setting up ZimusiQ – giving the upcoming an opportunity to advance the art of making music finely and preparing them to take the future. In the nearest future for me, I hope to be less active with music and give my all to family and rest. That will be a big achievement.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans
I can be very social when I want to be. My fans make me, so, I interact with them to the finish. This is mostly on social media.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?
I have to do something I love. It’s everything anyone would want in life. My least favourite is the environment not being the best for the genre.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
Yes, I have!
Have you ever had to deal with failure?
Hmmm! Failure is a path way to every successful venture. Every man pursuing success must meet with failure – the ultimate test.
Tell me about your favorite performance venues
I don’t really have favourite performance venues. We do not really have proper venues (in Nigeria).
If not music what else will you rather be doing?
Business and human capacity development.
What are your future plans?
Family centered. For music, the future is leaving my hands and going to the hands of those who believe in me. I can only but support them for the future.
How do you balance and career and family?
Family is fully musical so that brings the balance. Though, I’m hoping to do more of family and less of my personal dreams.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The path is tough! If you dream of making music finely, you’ll have to manage all that comes with it. Discouragement, unhealthy rivalry, hate and jealousy. Amidst all these, you must keep focus on the goal. Never settle for less.
Hope you had a great time getting to know about our Musician of the Month Zitu David Benafa? Drop your thoughts in the comment box below.
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