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GQ chats to music promoter – Kuda Manase

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Written by Gilmore Tee

At the early age of 5, American/Ireland based Music Promoter and training Lawyer, Kuda Manase was fascinated by cars and trucks and wanted to own a trucking company with a fleet of fancy cars.

Just like any other energetic young boy, he would crawl around the house pushing toy cars and being a noisy engine. It was at 7 years old that he discovered that his father was a lawyer and he immediately wanted to add that title to his resume.

The 25-year-old law graduate was born at Avenues Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe and is the youngest of three boys. His high school memories are filled with sporting activities such as basketball, something he hoped he could do for the rest of his life, playing in the NBA.

“During school holidays, I would travel from my home, Snake Park to the University of Zimbabwe where I would spend most of my free time practicing my shooting at the basketball courts. My hope was to make it to the NBA, but I failed to secure a good scholarship to an American university.

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Looking back, I think that was wild and somewhat delusional of me as my height was totally against that of a typical basketball player. Besides that, I still believed anything was possible and every dream was valid, I still live by that.”

After high school, Kuda took a gap year working as an assistant teacher at a primary boarding school and then he eventually enrolled at the University of Pretoria before securing a basketball scholarship to pursue his LLB Law Degree in Ireland.

He deems this moment as, anything is possible if you put your heart and mind to it, the hours he spent practicing eventually paid off. It was also during his gap year that he grew interest in promotional work.

Kuda would spend time surfing the internet and scrolling through small business pages on Instagram which he would, later on, share on his platform, Four Promotions, helping create awareness.

The name for his company simply comes from the fact that 4 is his favourite number and he was born on the 4th Day of the first month, hence Four Promotions.

Kuda talks about how his company’s first client was his friend DON-DON who had been making music since high school, and through his establishment managed to invigorate his career, going on to work on major campaigns.

He found it easy to push his music career as he is someone who grew up with a lot of rap and African-American culture, influenced by his older brothers and cousins.

Under his belt, he has worked in the background scene with American musician – Drei Ros, upcoming rapper K Soakin, music producer Kronik and pencil artist Key Pencil Art.

“There was always a rap album to listen to as my oldest brother drove us all to school and I knew all the new songs for bragging purposes in an effort to be the coolest kid in class. Fun times! Then moving on to High School and having peers trying so hard to imitate that lifestyle made it seem more tangible to pursue”
Kuda’s goal with his first artist was to land him a record label deal in the United States, so that led to him aggressively networking and strategising on how to connect to various players in the entertainment industry.

While in university he would spend a lot of time direct messaging record label executives, A & R’s and various DJ’s on social media, in the hopes to connect with them and eventually tap into their networks.

In 2018, his team decided to get into the clothing industry by launching JUNK MERCH, which made them realise that it is easier to create a strong network if one has something to offer or some value addition to the next person, instead of simply wanting handouts.

JUNK MERCH would design sweaters and hoodies for top celebrities and music artists, which Kuda would sometimes personally hand over, leading to him creating personal connections with global personalities such as Post Malone’s manager, Dre London and Drake’s father, Dennis Graham.

In 2019 he moved to Los Angeles where he further pushed his promotional and entertainment interests, leading to him being on platforms such as the BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards and ESPYS, getting in contact with superstars such as Diddy, Trevor Noah, Meek Mill, Megan Good and Sho Madjozi.

Since then he has made it his mandate to travel across continents in the hope of gaining deeper insights on people from different backgrounds, thus helping him easily navigate into those spaces with a full understanding.

“The knowledge of culture and what’s going on in an area is a good advantage when looking to connect with people who are from a different background as yourself.

The most successful businesses make the best personal connections with the local people, because a business needs money and money comes from people, so do connections and a good network and ultimately success.

Although it’s important to always be your authentic innovative self, it is crucial to know that history always repeats itself, as the old saying goes, “when in Rome, do what the Romans do.”

Talking about how law has contributed to his day-to-day business, Kuda highlights that he has learnt not to take business personally when things don’t go your way.

He eludes on how business is a separate legal entity that needs to be treated with so much respect and be allowed to be its own person. Emotional intelligence is something he has used immensely in his dealings, allowing him to trade easily along the way.

Some of his influences in doing business in the entertainment industry are self-made billionaire entrepreneur – Michael Rubin, music executives including Dre London, Dooney Battle and Scooter Braun, who has managed talents such as Justin Bieber, Arianna Grande and Taylor Swift.

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A post shared by @kudamanase

“My ultimate personal dream is to become a business mogul and be a catalyst in closing the entertainment financial disparity gap between Africa and the rest of the world. It is no secret that African talents are not compensated as well as the rest.”

“My ultimate dream for Four Promotions is to turn it into a global Fortune 500 company serving many communities through our various services as a vertically integrated firm. I always remind myself that I need to learn more money skills and be extremely fearless when networking and chasing your dreams.”

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