On December 13, Blantyre came to a standstill when Eli Njuchi launched his debut album The Book of Eli at Robin’s Park.
Social media was awash with images of a venue packed with patrons enjoying his music. Many more asked who is this lad? Who is Eli Njuchi?
Eli Njuchi, real name Chifuniro Magalasi, first released a single titled Never Leave You in 2016. Produced by Chycoon, the love song received a good response from the fans.
In 2017, he released two solo projects; Illuminat and Zitatu which allowed him to set a foundation for his career.
Shortly after that he travelled from his home Lilongwe, to establish himself as a serious musician in Blantyre. Once he settled in Blantyre, Eli Njuchi went straight to work, putting together an extended playlist (EP) titled The Book of Z, which came out in April this year.
What makes the EP uniquely exciting and catchy is how each track name starts with the digram Zi. The songs are Zitheke, Zisunge, Zitatu, Zilu, Zitaye, Zithe and Z.
Now the musician has just launched his debut album which he said is a personal story; either based on true-life events or just imaginary.
He said: “The Book of Eli is mainly my story. I am more comfortable talking about my life because no one can tell it better than myself, I believe somehow our personal stories interact with each other without knowing.
“I believe my stories are somewhat the same with someone’s story out there. I believe that’s what allows me to meet people in my songs without actually meeting them in person.”
Prior to Eli Njuchi becoming comfortable as a stage performer, he had his first professional show at Comesa Hall during this year’s Valentine’s Day. It however, ended badly for the rookie, prompting him to share his feelings over the mishap, through a song.
“When I came to Blantyre, I started training with The Hive Band. My first show with a band in my life was on February 14.
“It never went well. My team says it was a technical fault, but I had other thoughts. They are in the song, Ziloleni,” said Eli.
The Zitaye hitmaker has shared the details as to what inspired him to do The Book of Eli.
“Last year, I left Lilongwe to live in Blantyre and in the song, Phone, is a conversation I had with my father when I was leaving Lilongwe.
“Ma Ine follows after my conversation with my father. Mothers are precious. I am where I am because of her prayers,” he said.
Just like in the EP, the Blantyre-based singer and songwriter comes out with maturity not of his age as he sings from the future. Eli Njuchi shows the same prowess in the album as he confronts issues bigger than his age and life in general.
“One and Only is a song about why we have to appreciate our loved ones especially in this season where it’s so hard to be happy in our relationships,” he reasoned.
On real life stories, Eli Njuchi took time to do a number of songs on the same.
“Marry You was written from a true story, events that led up to the wedding day. God made marriage to be fun,” he said.
The artist explained that last year, his friend lost her parents and her life changed.
“I thought the song Maria would bring comfort to her,” said Eli.
Although he is young, he has had a life experience worth sharing with the general public.
“Where I come from, I have experienced struggle, real struggle. But I have learnt to share my story because it is not about where I am coming from, but where we are going; hence, Ghetto Survivor,” Eli Njuchi said.
He said when he started music at the age of 13, few people gave him a chance.
One of the album’s conspicuous theme is love. Njuchi sings Nyimbo, which is a parable of love and Ululu.
“From Nyimbo, which talks about us failing to continue working hard to be in love, sometimes we end up hurting each other,” he said.
The artist boasts of being part of a talented squad that has led to the creation of hits that fans are enjoying now. Said Eli Njuchi: “My main producer for all my vocals is Sispense, but with instrumentals, I work with a lot of guys. In the album I have worked with most upcoming beat-makers, one of them being son of the late Grace Chinga; Israel Moffat.
“I thank God that I have released an EP and an album within the same year. I just put my mind to this and allowed God to do the rest. I am thankful to all the people that have been involved in this journey, it’s an honour,” he avers.
The artist also belongs to a group Njuchi Zitatu. It came out of a group formed by Chycoon. It is also part of the motivation behind the artist’s moniker.
“As time went by they decided we have a new age of Njuchi; hence, me, Chizmo Veda and Coctiz formed Njuchi Zitatu.
Of his own stage name, Eli explained: “Eli Njuchi is a short name I got from my grandmother. She was Elizabeth and we were very close. When she passed on, I decided to get her name for memories so I took Eli from her name. Njuchi is a crew name which I am in.”
One of the aspects the artist is famed for is visibility through branding and being disciplined. His manager Prince Chikweba said everything about an artist has to be close to their reality.
“This is so that it doesn’t create a false image. For me it’s about working on his abilities that make him different from the rest. He is a humble young man with so much to offer and the ability to withstand the pressures of the industry is vital,” Chikweba said.
After the Blantyre launch, the team plans a countrywide tour next year, according to Chikweba.
“The album is set to be available online on December 20, a week after the launch as we would like to push for physical CD sales in the country. Digital will be our second wave of pushing. January is the starting month for videos off the album. We plan to be releasing a video each month,” explained Chibweba.