“Music is embedded in my soul, so it only makes sense that I use that passion for spreading the right message’’: How one Christian artist has used music to shine light in a year of bad

Twenty-one-year-old Tino Masvaure, a.k.a. Dally, has been making music since he was a teenager and in a year of bad and dark, has been creating gospel music with RNB and Afrobeat influences to spread a message of positivity, blessings and uplifting oneself.

With new track Blessings gaining over 51,000 views in less than a week, he is steadily gaining pace and is ‘excited for what comes ahead.’

After speaking to Tino Masvaure for just a few minutes, it is immediately obvious that he is a very kind, optimistic and positive-minded person. Someone who emanates good vibes and good energy.

‘‘I try and be a positive person because in life, you’ll always experience bad but you need to pull through it and count your blessings,’’ says Masvaure.

‘‘If you’re in a negative state of mind, you’ll only see the world as negative so that’s not an ideal mindset.’’

Masvaure’s personal values and opinions are heavily intertwined with his music. A university student living near London but from Devon, he began making music at 16 and released his first track at 17 in 2017, titled ‘‘Training,’’ a straight rap track about striving towards an individual’s aims in life.

‘‘The uplifting and positive message I try and put out in my songs has been there from the beginning. And I was influenced by people such as Tinie Tempah, Lethal Bizzle, Kano, the greats,’’ he says.

‘‘I originally just began making straight rap tunes but many people do music like that so I wanted to do things in a different way.’’

Inspired by British artists such as rappers Dave, J Hus and Darkoo along with gospel and Christian music, Masvaure says he wanted to ‘‘merge sounds together’’ and to create his ‘‘ own lane.’’

After releasing afrobeat influenced and melodic ‘‘Paradise,’’ Masvaure decided he wanted to sing instead of just strictly rapping as he says it felt more ‘‘natural’’ and a ‘‘logical progression.’’

‘‘I thought singing was more natural to me, it truly allowed me to express myself, it was a no-brainer,’’ says Masvaure.

Masvaure says he continued to release music over the years but didn’t gain ‘‘much momentum’’ until he released a track in early 2020 titled ‘‘Naija,’’ an Afrobeat and RNB tinged tune with an infectious melody accompanied by equally tuneful production.

‘‘Many people who didn’t pay attention to my music did so when Naija came out. A lot of people enjoyed that song,’’ he says.

‘‘It wasn’t a gospel song, it was about a girl but it became a blueprint as to what I could do and that’s when I thought about mixing gospel, R&B & Afrobeats together.’’

Since then, Masvaure has been refining his sound over the course of the lockdowns and says he has tracks ‘‘ready for release.’’ One particular studio session in October, he says became an ‘‘important turning point’’ for him with regards to his music.

‘‘I was in the studio with my producer and he said I need to let my soul and energy through my music, to be focused on what I’m doing, like the business side of music, my sound and overall that I need to let my personality shine through my tunes’’, says Masvaure.

‘‘Importantly, he also said I shouldn’t have to think about conforming to what’s popping in modern music and to go in with gospel and Christian music. And not just that, but also make my music an instrument for good.’’

‘‘I feel that songs nowadays like Afrobeats and RNB, they’re all about topics I’m not a huge fan of about and so I wanted to make tracks that are relatable and good for everyone but also allow myself to channel my faith so his opinions further reinforced that for me.’’

This particular change in outlook, Masvaure says, was why he released ‘‘Blessings,’’ another R&B and Afrobeat influenced track, but one whose lyrical content is ‘‘fairly different’’ focusing on counting ones blessings in life, from previous releases.

‘‘Blessings is essentially my sound and also peoples’ favourite track of mine so far. 51k views in less than a week isn’t bad at all, it’s given me a lot of confidence,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s about having a positive and uplifting mindset which I think is necessary to have in life overall. This mindset will also allow me to see errors and only improve and so I can elevate with my music and as a person in general.’’

Having gained over 60,000 views on just ‘‘Naija’’ and ‘‘Blessings’’ alone along with rapidly gaining over 1,100 followers on Instagram, Masvaure has been gaining increasing momentum and says he has received support from fans across the country and beyond.

‘‘People have become fans of my music and have reached out to me. Honestly, I’m grateful that people like my music, it’s a lovely feeling,’’ Masvaure says.

With regards to his aims regarding music and goals for the future, Masvaure says he says he wants to release more music, focus on mastering his sound, build a larger fanbase and ‘‘a foundation for a music career,’’ along with building his own channel further on YouTube to build ‘‘organic growth.’’

‘‘I aim to do music professionally and make a living off it. So I also want to start dropping more tracks this year, providing the lockdown lets me. Regarding views at least this year, I’m aiming to hit 30k views minimum per track I drop,’’ he says.

‘‘I also want to drop more tracks as admittedly in recent years I haven’t dropped as much as I should’ve, but I do believe in quality over quantity, you have to have a focus on promotion, the music video and other things etc.’’

Masvaure also plans to build a following in the US in the next few years as gospel and Christian music has a ‘‘larger and more accessible audience’’ than the UK.

‘‘Christian and gospel music in America is a lot bigger than it is here, people are more open to it and it’s more diverse. Lecrae and NF for example have had number 1 albums,’’ he adds.

However, Masvaure’s biggest goal and desire is to make a ‘‘positive change in people’s lives and to uplift them.’’

‘‘I’m not very bothered about streams and money and all. Obviously it’s important but my biggest goal is to make a good difference in someone’s life, to make them feel happy, to uplift them through good music,’’ he remarks.

‘‘I want to spread good energy and good vibes to people. Being a source of positivity and good is worth more than money or fame can ever be.’’

Rean Rehman

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