UK-based Zimbabwean singer rea

UK-based Zimbabwean singer reaches a million hits on YouTube

If video killed the radio star then YouTube must be responsible for MTV’s gravestone. But as videos go viral every day, the proverbial 10 minutes of fame are becoming increasingly accessible to people from all walks of life, as a Zimbabwean-born teenager is finding out for himself

UK-based Zimbabwean singer rea


KELVIN Jones didn’t expect much when he uploaded his home-recorded track “Call You Home” on YouTube in January. But the 19-year-old civil engineering student from Portsmouth has managed to quickly attract over a million hits on the video-sharing platform, making him an online sensation in his own right.

The video made rounds via social media, as another track on his YouTube profile, Jones’s rendition of Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar”, started following hot on the heels of his initial success with about another 100,000 hits.

However, despite his new-found success, Kelvin says that he left his songs available as free downloads in order to reach a broad audience and build a fan base.

The young rising star has been approached with various international media inquiries in the wake of his internet stardom, including a shout-out on “Good Morning America” on the US television network ABC, where host Sara Haines said, “Remember this name. He’s going to be huge.”

Kelvin told Zimbabwe’s The Herald that he’s thrilled to hear his track being played on the radio around the world but hesitates to share what the next step for him might be:

“I’m just beginning, so I still need to develop before I can see myself as a star. I started seriously making compositions last year, writing my own lyrics and performing them. I really want to get an album out but I’m not signed on to a label, so it’s pretty tough to get in a recording studio. I’m only learning how to record and mix music as I go, so if I did it myself I’d probably hate how it sounded upon looking back in a few months, which is why I’m hesitant to release an album by myself.”

Kelvin adds, however, that he’s been fascinated with music since he was a child:

“It all started when I got a guitar at the age of four and have been playing it although I’m still perfecting my playing.”


The young singer, who was born in Chitungwiza and moved to the UK at the age of nine, also mentioned that he would really enjoy collaborating with other Zimbabwean performers, adding that his dream is to perform back in the motherland:

“Given a chance I would love to do a collab with any Zimbabwean artist, as here in the UK they are loved. It would broaden the fan base as well as helping me develop in the music industry. This will help me learn a thing or two from them and make me an even better musician.”

With enough luck and ongoing support, he might just get to realise his dreams in no time.

By Sertan Sanderson, 2014