Born on the 8th of June 1994, Yves Tonderai Chanda also known as Tony Lyas is a Hip-Hop/Rap Artist from Zimbabwe who’s been in the secular music & later switched to Christian Rap after getting born again in August 2017.
Tony Lyas started rapping at a tender age of 8 in 2002 after being influenced by Zimbabwean Urban Groove Rapper Maskiri’s music which was ever played on radio during the time. Tony’s influence into rap music furthered after he got a copy of Maskiri’s album “Muviri Wese” which played a bigger part in driving him deep in the rap genre, he could sing every Maskiri’s song word to word & was later nicknamed “Maskiri Jnr” both at school & in the streets, just at the age 8.
It happened that during the same time he was influenced by Rap music, was the very same year when American Rapper, Eminem had just released his album “The Eminem Show” & this added up to his liking of rap music & at the same time, he started liking Eminem even up to date.
Rap music was the only music genre, Tony listened to & continued to grow in him, this also made him a young rapper who would perform at School’s variety shows such as “Talent Showcase” among others.
At the age of 13, Tony was involved in street cyphers which he clashed with elderly people & was the youngest amongst them, he would challenge them singing some of Eminem & Maskiri songs & he gained another nickname “Di Crunkboy” because of his unique voice & fast tempo in rapping.
Tony got advice to start his own music from people who would come every time he battled in cyphers but then because of his young age & fear of no support from his family, he didn’t answer to the call until he was 16 (in 2010) when he went to the studio with Kwekwe based dancehall chanter “Tevin High” who made him love to do his own music.
He then wrote his first lyrics of his song ‘Ngatiite Zviripo’ which was recorded by Lovejoy Matare also known as L’ Kat. “Ngatiite Zviripo” got a positive response which then forced him to do more music. He then recorded his second studio song in the year 2011 & was recorded by Lazurus Kavhu also known as Lexx Kay.
Since he was young & still a school student he couldn’t cope up with both, academics and music, he was forced to take a break at that moment to focus on school.
In 2012, Tony recorded A few demos which include “Ndapinda Ndapinda”, “Mic in ma hand” and “Kusvika Ndafa’ which made rotation at his college school & also made teachers and school mates to recognize his talent & he was later called for a television interview on local television show ‘YGT’ where he peformed ‘Ndapinda’, and was then for third time given a nickname “THE PALADIN” which means Champion or Hero.
On a school break in 2013, Tony joined Gees Records a local studio owned by Martin Gosha and there he did a few singles & also did some recordings at another backyard studio called Hillside Records, he had some ONs & OFFs in recording music because of age & not taking it professionally.
In 2014, Tony took a much huge step in doing music & professionally worked with Rockers Mix. Rockers Mix played a big role in producing Tony Lyas’s music which later got his music played on radio for the first time.
The combination managed to produce Tony’s first professional project, a mixtape called ” Imwe Type” which had some huge tracks such as “Ndiri Hustler” which featured Benny B (and was also co produced by Benny B), “Ungandiudza Chii” feat Triggerman, Champion, Harare Yese, “Usandisekerere” feat Rockers Jnr, “Ngwarira” feat T. Gonz among others.
In the same year, Tony’s music career began to be promising, he had many articles writing about him both on internet tabloids and in newspapers.
Later on in 2016, Tony Lyas teamed up with one of Zimbabwe’s Legend Songstress and one of Urban Grooves music pioneers, Tererai Mugwadi. Together they made a massive love anthem “Forever”, which made rotation on radio, got many online downloads & gained Tony Lyas known.
Later in the same year, Tony Lyas made another huge song entitled “Jeso Christo” which was a Gospel song. Both “Forever” & “Jeso Christo” contributed in making a profile for the rapper, which later made him called for radio & television interviews.
Jeso Christo‘s response made Tony Lyas realize, his ability in making spiritual Christian music, this later brought a confusion to the fans to understand if Tony had switched to gospel music or still in secular, but the rapper was still in secular & had just did a Christian song out of no reason.
In the same year, Tony Lyas continued to work with his producer Rockers Mix & produced good music & an E.P called “Birth Of A Paladin” which carries tracks such as “Death is the Equalizer, PaHasha, Tonderai, Kusvika Ndafa, Dai ” & the two mega hits “Jeso Christo & Forever”.
In 2017, Tony moved to South Africa & got born again the same year under “The Family Of God” church & that made him change his music to engage on a new journey as a Christian Hip-Hop/Rap Artist & he’s currently working on his first album with producer “Benny B” & has started working as Christian Artist.
So far, he’s getting inspiration from other Christian rappers & among them is Lecrae, Mc Jin & Mouthpiece.
Tony Lyas recently changed his name meaning to Tony Loves You Almighty Savior (Lyas) from an old meaning not to be disclosed as he asked.