By Titus Phiri:
It is no easy task for an aspiring secular musician in Malawi to make a breakthrough and this can equally be said of the closely-knit gospel circle, where many have been trying their luck for ages without much fruits to show.
Blantyre-based gospel singer Gladys Kunsiya surfaced on the music scene in January this year after releasing her first song titled Ati Tabwera and not only did she surprise many with her fine composition but she equally made a lot of people take notice of her.
Since then, she has gone on to release more songs such as Saulo and Zili Ndimapeto which have echoed in the ears of many and they have been wondering as to who the lady behind such a beautiful voice is.
Kunsiya, who is not yet married, said her interest in music started to grow way back when she was a Sunday school choir member.
“My interest and my journey in music started during my childhood as I used to sing at our Church. And on top of that, I also liked to cover songs of other artists like Chitheka Family when ever given a chance to sing,” she said.
She added that by and by, her passion in music grew to a certain level as she started to write and compose her own songs but, by then, she had no money to go to a studio and start recording.
Indeed, many good artists that could have shaken the musical terrain in the country have over the years found the going very tough when it comes to pulling financial muscle with which to promote their art and only those who are truly determined have managed to find their footing and Kunsiya believes that she has landed and the best is yet to come.
She described her journey as full of ups and downs. She said that when she started out, there were many people who tried to put her down from all corners. On the other hand, her parents had also tried to pry her away by urging her to focus on other things, saying music would not take her anywhere.
Nonetheless, she continued to punch her way through in her music career, adding that she has always drawn inspiration from late Grace Chinga and Phylace Mang’anda, saying their songs always have a great impact in people’s lives.
Indeed, Chinga’s music continues to resonate with many and is still being enjoyed long after she passed away. It is no surprise therefore that up and coming artists such as Kunsiya are still looking up to her.
“In my life and for my music journey to reach where it is, I have been getting inspiration from others,” she said.
She quickly added that there is still a long way to go before she can reach great heights, a feat she is determined to achieve.
On the first song she released Ati Tabwera, Kunsiya said the feedback she received was both encouraging and negative, saying not everyone can appreciate an artist’s work. She has since opted to use the positive feedback as fuel in her musical pursuits.
Asked as to why she decided to be a gospel singer, she emphasised that she chose gospel as one way of ministering and spreading the word of God to many people through her songs.
She added that her vision as a gospel artist is for her songs to reach as many people as possible both in Malawi and the world at large.
“I believe that through my songs, people who are helpless and are facing difficulties in their everyday lives, they will be able to find some words of encouragement and comfort,” she said.
She stressed that she is in the music business to stay and is geared to give people songs that will change their lives and draw them closer to God.
She added that she is not in music for the sake of money but to help save the lives of other people who do not have time for worship.
In any activity, planning is essential as not much can be accomplished without it and this has not escaped the attention of Kunsiya. Considering that she is also into business, she said she makes it a point to balance her time as music also needs much time.
“I can say that I don’t panic with my everyday activities…from Monday to Friday I do business while Saturdays and Sundays are the days that I concentrate on my music,” she said.
For a relatively new artist, hearing your songs blaring out on radio stations is no mean achievement and this has inspired Kunsiya to consider coming up with a full album.
At the moment, Kunsiya has got seven songs to her credit and she highlighted that come 2023, she plans to launch her first CD and to collaborate with a couple of other artists.
It is not easy to coin your own identity as an artist among many but Kunsiya is optimistic that if she continues on the path she has taken, very soon her gospel music will have its own unique style.
Only time will tell if indeed Kunsiya is a blossoming flower of gospel music destined for greatness but with her sheer determination and an ounce of luck, she might just make it big.