The world will never be surprised one day when the southern terraces of Kamuzu Stadium will rise after being enchanted by the footballing magic feet of Gabadihno Mhango Jnr.
Almost everybody grows up admiring what his father does. Such is the nature of the world.
Circumstances have often times defied this logic though. But for Jonny Zembani Banda, son to Malawi’s music icon Lucius, the tale is about to take this predictable course. Jonny is one guy who needs extra motivation to take on the music path.
His father has breathed music all his life. An art he credits to the orientation he got from his elder brother Paul during their days at Allelujah Band. Paul is Jonny’s uncle. Such has been how close music has been in Jonny’s life.
The 22-year old does acknowledge the influence he has received is the son to ‘Soldier’ but he says ultimately the decision to take the music path lays in his hands.
“The influence the two have had on my life is huge. Music is mainly what I have grown up watching and listening to. Music has defined the environment that I have grown up in. There is no other thing I know more than music.
“My parents raised me and my siblings to go for what we believe God gifted us with. Personally, I feel music is what flows in me naturally. I have not gone to any school to attain this art, it is in me,” Jonny says.
Jonny is the older of the three Banda siblings, a nest which includes sister Laura and Mapiri (Bakili).
The young lad has just finished Business Administration studies at Malawi Assemblies of God University in Lilongwe.
Despite his early ambition to become a businessperson, Jonny is destined to take music as a career. He says he is doing so with full knowledge of the challenges associated with the industry has been close to his dad all his life.
“My dad and I have been really close, and I know what it means to survive in this industry. It is never always easy. I pray to God to give him a long life because when the going will get tough, I know I will always run to him,” says.
Much as being a son to one of the country’s most successful and vastly respected musicians come along with its advantages, the young Banda knows that association attracts its fair of challenges as well.
He explains: “You know where my father has been to and choosing a similar career path as him is both exciting but also challenging. The quest will be big as the expectation is that I have to live up to his standards or more. But that is a normal thing.”
He has grown up idolising many great artists both from Malawi and abroad such as Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, His dad Lucius, Lawi, Chris Martin, Faith Mussa, the late Sam Mtukudzi, Anthony Makondetsa, Chronix just to mention but a few.
Friday (yesterday) evening, Jonny made his official bow on the stage at Motel Paradise during a thank you show by the Black Missionaries band which was organised by the Entertainers Promotion.
“I have ever performed on stage but this is the first time that I have been told well in advance that I will perform. It has allowed me to rehearse because I know people’s expectations are quite high. I do not bring people a half-baked performance,” he said.
His father says the decision by his son to take music as a career brings a good feeling to him since he knows that he is following his dreams.
“As parents we made it a point that he will not be allowed to do music before he finishes his first degree. Now he is done and just waiting for his graduation. He is following his dreams and I cannot stand in his way.
“I will support him as a musician and as a fellow artist. I would encourage him to work so hard because the shoes he has to wear are quite huge. And the expectations from the people will be too high as well,” said Lucius.
But Soldier has urged people to give the boy some time since he is new in the industry as it may take long for him to master the trade and its demands.
Entertainers Promotion Jai Banda said he felt compelled to include the young Banda on the line up of performers after he saw him perform during the Carlsberg Street Party in Blantyre.
“He has undoubted potential. And people have been coming to me enquiring why we do not include him during the various shows that we have across the country. Now this is his opportunity to show the world what he is made of.”
The shy and usually reserved Jonny has three singles under his belt, She is Mine, Usasiye and Mwai.
He said plans to release his own album soon.