First Enzo Now Poptain: Is The Music Industry Burning Out It's Brightest Stars?

Image: Instagram/realpoptain

Artistes have always seemed like the most carefree of creatives. I don't know if it's something about them or music that makes it seem like they often have the more positive image of life. And looking at Zimbabwe's music industry, they were no bigger examples of this than Enzo Ishall and Poptain. From Enzo's up tempo songs that always have humorous lyrics to Poptain's get up and dance sound that always has him hitting his signature dance moves which everyone wants to emulate. These two artistes are the life of the party in Zim-dancehall.

Yet I'm reminded again of how the prism of social media and YouTube only represents a tiny window into the lives of these artistes. The repressed emotions and internal wars never make it, to what we see. After announcing his intent on quitting music, Enzo was interviewed by KVG and that was such an eye opener into what he was going through. One quote that stuck out from Enzo Ishall was when he said, "I have lost so much to this industry..." As fans we often simply take or rather we just receive from the artistes but we often just receive without buying the music (Or streaming from a service the artist can earn) so take is an appropriate word.

We don't really see the other side of what the artiste puts in or the mental strain of creating. After Enzo, Poptain seems to be the latest artiste to suffer from a burnout. What started out as just a social media rant seems to have been a bigger crisis for Poptain. He took aim at various stakeholders in the music industry, from radio djs to award shows and bloggers. 

Awards companies and their folks start making money from our submissions on their websites, the more traffic the more revenue saka what revenue are they bringing your way? Think smart you don’t need the drugs u need an industry!!!!!!!!!!!! If I keep quite because these people will discredit me next decade there will be another very talented broke musician and that cannot be my daughter ZAYNAH BINT JALEEL.

The rants went on and seemed to emanate from a bigger emotional issue Poptain was going through. It seemed as if Poptain was going through a lot of emotional and a lot of it was directed at his opinion that the music industry wasn't paying as it should. Poptain went off from social media after a while and his management Creative Kulture Africa have since shared an update.

Thank you to ever that has reached out to ask about Poptain's well-being. He is doing a lot better and at this time he is with his family and friends. We ask that during this time you give him the privacy he needs to get through this, he is a strong character. We will update everyone about any latest developments in due time.
Please stay safe and much love for the huge support.

The music industry pressures have often seen a lot of artists turn to drug abuse and this has somehow been accepted as the norm. Dobba Don a while back was said to have drug induced psychosis and we saw how Soul Jah Love battled with drug abuse throughout his career. Yet these seem to stem from the same broader mental health issues affecting Poptain and Enzo.

Last year Takura also opened up about his mental health struggles. Before he dropped his EP Star Signs, he talked about how he had stepped away from creating music because his mind wasn't right. So the talent to create is both a gift and a burden at times. It could be how the Zimbabwean music industry is set up but whatever it is has to have a solution because those who bring us joy through music deserve better. 

While artists may often feel alone in their struggles, there is Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) and Zimbabwe Musicians Union (ZIMU). These are organisations created to serve artists and create a better environment in the music industry. Surely if artists approached either of these they could get help. Further more I think the organisations should be proactive. These social media posts by some of our favourite are clearly a cry for help. At the very least the music industry should have more conversations about mental well-being.

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