Eli Njuchi, real name Chifuniro Steven Magalasi, was not well-known in this country at the start of the year 2020.
Among die hard urban music lovers, he was a promising rising musician. But he really was just another aspiring artist trying to make it big.
The artist, who first released a song in 2016 titled Never Leave You, slowly made progress in 2017 with his songs Illuminat and Zitatu. This was the beginning of great things. But it would take three years to reach the pinnacle of success that he always dreamt of.
On April 5 2020, the young lad released an Extended Playlist (EP) titled The Book of Z comprising songs namely Zitheke, Zisunge, Zitatu, Zilu, Zitaye, Zithe and Z.
With the release of the EP, right in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown, many took their time to listen and notice the artist.
Though it was a gamble torelease the EP without a traditional launch, the dancehall artist got everybody’s attention.
In an interview with The Nation he said: “It’s been tricky and a bad time for us artists but we have to find ways of still pushing our content. Gladly, the response has been amazing. I am overwhelmed by the response.”
The EP The Book of Z was arguably loved due to its maturite content. Many agreed that the songs oozed maturity.
Tackling domestic violence, love, hard work and jelousy as some of the themes, The Book of Z finally placed Eli Njuchi in the league of big artists.
Later in June, Eli Njuchi released his first-ever DVD titled The Live DVD of the Book of Z.
Shot and edited by Viny Visuals, he was backed by The Hive Band. The 55-minute long DVD had a bonus track titled Illuminat.
It wasn’t long before the young artist attracted the attention of one of the country’s biggest media institutions; Zodiak Television Station.
Writing on his Facebook page, Eli Njuchi said: “Woke up to good news Honourable Gospel Kazako has offered us airtime on Zodiak Television for free, to show The Book of Z live set on TV.”
Writing on Twitter, Kazako said: “You will know Malawi has a future in music when you will be privileged to listen to a young up-and-coming musician answering to the name Eli Njuchi. He did a song titled Z. He is abundantly stunning, amazing, just raw sheer brilliance.”
On August 15, Eli Njuchi went on to shine on Zodiak Television ,impressing audiences in Malawi and beyond.
Though he had a beautiful year, the young artist also had a fair share of challenges with the failure to host his first-ever NjuchiFest.
Planned for Soche Mountain on October 31, the artist was forced to cancel it after it emerged that during the same weekend, the country’s biggest music event; Sand Music Festival was set to take place.
But the setback did not dent the dancehall artist’s spirit as he went back into the studio to record what would be his first-ever full album titled The Book of Eli.
“The album chronicles my personal journey in the last 16 months. I wanted to offer something greater than music. I am inviting people in my story and the things that I have been through,” he said.
Officially dropped on December 13, the album delivered a statement that Eli Njuchi was no longer a wannbe, but someone Malawi should look out for.
Launched at Robin’s Park in Blantyre, the album was well received with many scrambling for the album while high-profile people bought it at high prices.
Speaker of parliament Catherine Gotani-Hara bought it at K100 000 just like Minister of Gender Patricia Kaliati.
Other artists couldn’t help it but admire the talented young artist.
Wrote Fredokiss on Facebook: “History made. Congratulations Eli Njuchi.”
Another rapper, Gwamba posted: “The future is here! Eli Njuchi.”
And to crown it all, one of the country’s biggest mobile companies, TNM crowned Eli Njuchi its youth ambassador. What a year it has been!