Tendai Nguni better known as Tehn or King Dimple is positioning himself to have Zim hip hop appreciated like other musical genres. With an impressive new video ‘No Stress’ which has received lots of airplay ,King Dimple shares with the Exposé team how his journey has evolved over the years.
Tell us what you are known for?
Tehn: I am known as an MC in Zim Hip Hop, lyricism, flow, storytelling and very high energy performances.
How and when did you know you loved music?
Tehn: My earliest musical memory was when I was four years old in front of the television singing and dancing to Aretha Franklin & George Michael’s “I Knew You Were Waiting”.
When did you start performing?
Tehn: I’ve been performing since I was six, I guess, in the school choir. My first time on stage was when I played the Tin-Man in “The Wizard of Oz”.
Who or what influenced your genre of music?
Tehn: Jay-Z for the most part. I’ve always loved his music and his ability to tell a story in such a way that even if you haven’t lived that moment in his life, you can still relate. I also love his approach to the business side of music. He definitely laid down the blueprint for most of what I’ve done in my career.
What is your all-time favourite track?
Tehn: Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”.
Do you write your own lyrics and what inspires your lyrical content?
Tehn: Yes, I do. I write for myself and others. I started out as a song writer, I didn’t think I was good enough to be a singer. My writing is inspired by things that I see, my thoughts and ideas.
What time of the day do you write your lyrics?
Tehn: I write first thing in the morning. After I wake up, i drink water, work out, then I sit down and write for 90 minutes. Other than that I cook up when I’m in the studio or just write whenever inspiration hits.
Where does the name Tehn Diamond come from?
Tehn: I recently dropped the Diamond and it’s just Tehn now. It was Tehn Diamond because my first name is Tendai and I wanted a stage name that sounded close to my given name. My first stage name was Diamond, which then morphed into “Tendai Diamond”. I didn’t think it flowed right. So, I changed it to Tehn Diamond, and the rest is history.
What is your musical background?
Tehn: I don’t come from a musical family. I just always really loved music and I was always involved in drama, choir and musical theatre. More than anything, I’m a fan of words. Those were my toys growing up. When I wasn’t busy playing Golden China or Sega Mega Drive.
Do you play any instrument?
Tehn: No not really. I know how to play one song on Mbira but other than that I don’t know how to play any instrument. I really want to learn how to produce so I guess I have to learn how to play an instrument eventually.
Do you have a formal music education?
Yes, i have ‘O’ level music. I don’t remember all the stuff though, because at that time I wasn’t thinking of going into music. It was more out of curiosity and just love for learning.
Do you get nervous before a performance and how do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Tehn: Yeah, I do get extremely nervous before a performance. And as far as mistakes, I don’t worry. For example if I forget lyrics I start free styling. I have fallen on stage before but I got up and kept going. Fortunately, I have an incredible team (DJ Take Fizzo,) he knows all my stuff so he backs me up.
In what ways has your newest music changed from when you started?
Tehn: My music has changed in as many ways and as much as I have changed as a person throughout the years. Particularly this latest project, it’s very musical. I took a lot of creative risks. The subject matter has changed in this album (A Few Good Poems) and this album is like one long love letter.
Which has been your best performance so far?
Tehn: When I had the pleasure of gracing the Big Brother Africa stage in 2014. I performed the songs ‘Happy’ and ‘Grown Up Kid’. Most recently I would say my performance at the 2017 Miombo Magic Music Festival.
Out of all your songs which one is your favourite and why?
Tehn: Thats easy, it’s “Be Amazing” and it’s because it’s my mission statement and a constant reminder of why I do what I do. And also my compass in life generally.
How do you balance your music with other obligations, e.g. family, love life etc?
Tehn: I am terrible at balance. Most of the things that matter to me in life are all mingled and intertwined. I don’t have any hobbies, my work is my hobby. I don’t take any holidays, and as far as my love life I have always dated within my industry. In some way or another, that’s made it easier.
Can you tell us about your recent tour (The Tehn outta of Ten Tour)?
Tehn: It was very enjoyable, difficult, fun, stressful experience. It was good to get out into the country and see the impact Zimbabwe Hip Hop is having.
Who is your manager and producer?
Tehn: I am managed by a company called ISIO Africa, in Johannesburg.
Any shout outs?
Tehn: All love to my mother and my father. My mother’s always encouraged me to build castles in the sky, while my father’s always reminded me to build the necessary foundations underneath them. The perfect combo of support and inspiration. I’d be nothing without them.
Make Up: Facebeat by Tessa (IG @tessamasawi)