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Lindiwe Maxolo-Album Review

Authentic, elegant, compassionate, exuberant and soulfully jazzy, these are some of the words to describe Lindiwe Maxolo’s debut album simply titled “Time”.

lindiwe 1The album title, I believe was inspired by her journey and experience in the music industry as a seasoned performer who must have now felt it was time to find her voice and tell the world what she’s all about through her own album. The opening song on the album, “Let It Rain” warms you up to the rest of the album, while the second song “Thuthuzeka” drives one into a beautiful trance with its deeply rooted instrumentals that will take you back to your roots. One of the most appealing aspects about this album is that Lindiwe plays around with different styles of music, there’s a bit of bossa nova, blues, and neo soul. She was able to fuse all of this while at the same time keeping it proudly African.

Original material is interesting with mostly impressionistic lyrics. The production on the album is splendid, with a heavyweight producer Nduduzo Makhathini on the keys. If you enjoy the likes of Sibongile Khumalo, Simphiwe Dana, Thandiswa Mazwai, then you will enjoy this album. I usually review the latest pop releases, but I couldn’t resist to share this one. If you’re not a fan of this kind of music, then this is one album that could possibly open up new areas of musical interests for you. All in all, I’ve enjoyed this album, I give it a stamp of approval, a must have, “P.Mash” certified!

Lol…Enjoy.

 

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Skwatta Kamp – Mkhukhu Funkshen,10th Anniversary

SK

There’s a tendency here in South Africa of not celebrating our music, but I don’t blame it much on us the consumers, I blame it on the record companies. I was looking at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, the album was released in 1982, after that the album has been reissued/re-released several times into different editions, containing remastered songs, alternate versions of the songs, previously unreleased songs. The album is celebrated, it’s heritage to the Americans. So this got me thinking, why there isn’t something like that here in Mzansi? There are so many local albums that I consider classics and I would love to see them being remastered and reissued. I had most of these albums on cassettes but they are nowhere to be found on CDs! Especially the 90’s kwaito, and mid-tempo house era.

So this year I want to celebrate an album that I think it’s significant, ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” by Skwatta Kamp. The album was released in 2003 in the era that local Hip Hop was on the rise. For me ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” was one of the first local Hip Hop albums to do well commercially. The first single “Umoya” was such a smash hit, everybody loved it – even my O’lady loved it. “Umoya” was one of those songs that hit you instantly weather you’re into Hip Hop or not. The album was well made, well produced and I just couldn’t skip a track! I remember Lira sang the chorus for “Eskhaleni” and honestly back then I never thought she would be this far (Not in a bad way though). Listening to “Eskhaleni” now just made me realise how far she has come. ‎When ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” came out, everybody wanted to be a rapper, even I wanted to be a rapper. The album became a land mark for Mzansi Hip Hop from 2003 to now, it kind of opened doors for other Hip Hop cats because they wanted to compete with Skwatta Kamp. A lot of underground Hip Hop cats came out on the surface, cats like H20, Zulu Mobb, Cashless Society and others. I am not that clued up about Hip Hop but I think Skwatta Kamp made people appreciate local Hip Hop more, after ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” people began to appreciate movements like Motswako. Unfortunately I had this album on cassette when it came out, now I can’t seem to find it anywhere and I know if there are people who still have it on CD, chances are it might be super scratched.

It’s been a decade since the release of this great classic album and I know Skwatta Kamp released several albums before ‎”Mkhukhu Funkshen” and after. Bozza, Flabba, Shuga Smaks, Nemza and Slikour have done some solo albums, but I wonder what happened to Infa and Nish? So this year I commemorate this album and I wish it could be reissued as a 10th anniversary deluxe edition, and if there was a way, it would be gold plated. Big Up, I Salute Ma’gents.

By Peter “P.Mash” Mashabane

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Sabelo Mthembu -The next big thang to hit the music world!

Unfortunately due to the rapid pace life seems to travel at, I never have time to ever listen to music, but when I do get time it has to be have been worth that precious minute. So because I never have time for things like fun or social activities I was invited/forced to a performance by a good friend of mine and the opening act was a young man who for once in my life made me shut up and give him my undivided attention the minute he opened his mouth to sing.

SabeloThere is just something about Sabelo Mthembu’s voice that has me believing and knowing for a fact that this young man will become the next big thing to hit SA’s music scene in 2013.

His voice is husky yet also like silk. Rough and rugged, but also perfectly smooth and pure.  I’m so happy that when he gets nominated at the SAMA’s  or Metro’s this year in the Best New Comer category I will be one of those people who will sit back from my couch and say “Kasi Times told you so”. His music speaks to the heart in that he sings about love, life and brotherly affection in a cheerful yet soulful manner with a sprinkle of quality jazz elements in it. Rare for someone his age. I’m no Simon Cowell or Randal Abrahams but “Songs of Brotherhood” is an album I would buy any day and rock in my car, phone, ipod, stereo or hi-fi.

sabs3

The former SA idols contestant sings about things I can relate to, things I aspire to feel and his beats are simply …beautiful. I love each and every track because I can tell he did not rush himself in creating songs like “Ungumfowetu”, “Phola nhliziyo” or “Ofana nawe” which by the way is the title track to Thami Ngubeni’s SABC talk show “Life with Thami”. I can tell through tracks like “Dreaming in Cairo” that this brother is serious about his talent. I am a sucker for anything related to love so the song “Angiphili mawungekho” is my favourite/national anthem.

 

_JCA1930 copyHe sings both in vernac and English and has a voice so unique you would have to hear it for yourself in order to get what I am going on about. But if I would try to compare his vocal quality to anyone famous I would drop names like Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and Lemar except the difference is that he is unique in that he does it in a proudly Mzansi way. “Songs of brotherhood” drops at the end of February 2013. It’s a must have.

View his profile on www.sabelomthembu.com

Download his single on  http://soundcloud.com/sabelo-siphelele-mthembu/ofana-nawe.

Blessings

Poppy Pops Vilakazi

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Review – Gemini

Hlubi The Twiin-Gemini

A friend showed me a tweet of someone saying that “R&B is not for South Africans and it’s not our thing unless you’re Kabomo.” My friend retweeted and said “What a load of crap! Has this person ever heard of RJ Benjamin, S.Davis, Brian Temba, Nothende, and What about Afrotraction? I love Kabomo’s work but he’s certainly NOT the only artist who’s making some good R&B/Neo-Soul, this person might have been living under a rock or something.”

The R&B scene in Mzansi is getting better and even more interesting, with new artists coming through. Amongst the Newbies in this circle is Hlubi – The Twiin, with his debut album titled “Gemini”. Hlubi-The Twiin, Born Hlubi Kwebulana independently released his album. He describes it as  a rare R&B album sung in isiXhosa, drawing influences from the likes of Boyz II Men, Ringo Madlingozi and Ladysmith Black Mambazo just to name a few.  What I love the most about independent artists is that their talent is raw, and this allows them to let their creative juices flow. I love the passion in this album; I felt it from the first track, to the very last track. The album comprises of 13 tracks, including 4 interludes and a hidden track. “Gemini” took 5 years in the making, all songs are composed, written arranged and produced by Hlubi, with a couple of tracks co-produced and co-arranged by guitarist, Denver L. Damons.

Hlubi Twinn.docx-pic

The album touches on themes like love, Faith and his life experiences. My favourite song is “Andilelanga’’ as well as the current single on the airwaves “Ngokabani Ke Lo”. The beauty about this album is that Hlubi has managed to create his own soulful sound through lines of harmonies in vernacular.

Connect to him on Twitter: @hlubi2win and on Facebook: “Hlubi Twiin”

By Peter “P.Mash” Mashabane

@MashabanePeter

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It’s a wrap!

Ok, it’s a wrap
It’s amazing how good our music has become over the years, Some of the pleasures of working in a music store, (apart from the fact that I love music) is that I get to see the trends in what’s selling, and who exactly buys what’s selling, I can from there mentally conclude my own stats. Foreign music still rules in sales, however, it’s good to see that people are buying more local music, not merely for the sake of supporting artists but for the love of good music.There have been some interesting releases this year, I wish I could talk about them all, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll highlight just a few, which I think have the potential to be SAMA winners in 2013.

Kabomo – All Things Grey

This album has set a new landmark for neo soul music in Mzansi since the release of RJ Benjamin’s “Who am I”. The first single “Busiswe” got some heavy airplay, people welcomed the unique sound of neo soul, and embraced it with open arms. When the album came out, Kabomo was testing the market by printing out a few copies, to his surprise when those few copies hit the stores, they got sold out within a few weeks. Most stores were out of stock until Kabomo got a new distribution deal and the album became widely available. Great production, great song writing – if this album doesn’t win a SAMA award, I’ll boycott the award ceremony! Struu!

 

The Muffinz – Have You Heard?


Still on that neo soul tip, by the way, I keep using the term “neo soul” if you’re wondering what it is, it means “new soul”. Neo soul is an alternative genre of soul that originated in America by artists such as Maxwell. It fuses elements of Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and sometimes the spoken word. What I love about The Muffinz is the fact that they are so unique it’s actually hard to classify them. I love the musicianship that they possess, they play real instruments and it’s a pleasure to watch them live. What I love about this album is that it’s neo soul delivered in an African style.

The Soil

I sometimes feel that they are a bit overrated, which is a good thing because it simply means the support they have is massive. I’m a jazz lover, I can’t stand acapella. However, I can’t mention great albums without including “The Soil”. This trio has brought a fresh, organic sound. They deliver love songs like never before. The song “Inkomo” got some heavy air play, so much so that I ended up liking it. Lovely album.

 

Tokollo – Heist

I often hear people saying kwaito is dead, blah blah blah! The Durban guys have reinvented Kwaito, and took it to a whole new level, although it will never be the same as the 90’s, it’s cool, music evolves all the time. Tokollo, aka Magesh came to the rescue with his latest album titled “Heist”. This album just took me back to when Kwaito used to be big. The first single from this album “Sgidi” proves that even if kwaito has changed, some artists like Magesh have managed to stay true to the original kwaito sound we all know. Magesh, I salute baba!!

 

Ralf  Gum – Never Leaves You

House music is the fastest growing genre in Mzansi, there have been a lot of releases that were great, there have been quite a few favourites, but if I had to pick all of them I’ll fill up the KT page! These include the likes of Da Vinci, Lulo Café, Pepsi, and of course the December releases that are in the fight for the song that will get us into the new year on the 31st of December 2012, these include the likes of Professor, Mahoota, L’Vovo, Fistaz Mixwell, Oskido and Black Coffee, who made history for the release of his DVD “Africa Rising “ . I feel as if his album will only peak next year, there isn’t too much noise about it yet… I’m a sucker for deep house, with vocals and Ralf Gum delivered this album brilliantly, the song “Take Me to My Love” has been on repeat on my stereo, with a nostalgic velvet voice of Monique Bingham that took me back to the days of the song “(We Had ) A Thing” she did with Abstract Truth. I could go on and on about this album, it’s a great album, my favourite house album to come out this year.
So what’s your favourite album to come out in 2012?
By Peter “P.Mash” Mashabane
@MashabanePeter

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Music Business 101: Your Money Team

 

To succeed in the music business as an artist you must first understand and acknowledge that you are a business, and like any other enterprise, you will need to put together a team that can run and manage your business affairs.

In the New Music Economy, artists need to think differently in order to maximize their opportunities and increase their revenue streams; this means you need a team of experts around you that will help you make the most out of your talent and career. No two artists are the same and therefore, no two artists should have the same exact team structure. I will get to this in a future article.

For now I will look at the key people you need to have in your team if you want to WIN!

Personal Manager:

The personal manager should be the first person you hire in your team; this is the CEO of your enterprise. This person will provide a strategy to help you materialize your vision, negotiate on your behalf, guide you, protect you and help you make all the difficult decisions.

A personal manager should be someone with ‘smarts’. This person must be passionate about your career, must clearly understand your vision and have a plan to bring it to life, must have an extensive network base, and must be willing to go to the trenches with you.

Once you have appointed a personal manager, it will be that person’s job to find the rest of the team.

Lawyer:

“Copping chains is cool but what’s more important is lawyer fees” – Jay-Z (Never Change, Blueprint)

This is really self-explanatory; a lawyer will help you understanding all those difficult law terms they usually throw in a contract to confuse the likes of you and me. If you are going to make any sort of money in the music business, then you are definitely going to have to sign a few contracts.

You don’t need to put the lawyer on a retainer unless you are one of those people that prefer to live on the other side of the law.

Brand Strategist:

“But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” – Robin Williams (as John Keating in Dead Poets Society)

Before you can leverage your brand equity, you will need to brand yourself first. This is instrumental in today’s music industry climate.

There are 3 main reasons why people don’t buy your music:

  1. They do not like you
  2. They cannot find you
  3. They do not know you exist

Notice that none of the reasons above say: they have no money.

If you are an artist and you are struggling to sell your music, you may want to really look at some of these reasons above and see if any apply to you.

What if they do not like Read the full story

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F What You Heard, Local is Lekker!

I can never stress enough the importance of creating musical works that are relevant to your community and region. The concept of ‘think local, act global’ not only applies to business but to an artist’s music and personal branding too. Unfortunately in South Africa there seems to be a proliferation of new artists that ‘think global and pretend to act global.’ They live in the sky and create music that is obviously designed to appeal to a New Yorker or an ATLien (a resident of Atlanta, term coined by Outkast,) and then wonder why their music fails to attract a South African audience. That’s because they fail to CONNECT and make music that is relevant to their immediate community.

The market sees this type of artist as a ‘wannabe’ and an impersonator that is too busy trying to mimic their favourite ‘American artist’. The market does not relate to their stories, energies and packaging; even their slang usage is more ‘Ebonics’ than Tsotsi Taal.

I had the opportunity of working with both Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid early in their careers. The one thing I learned from both these acts was the importance of representing your true self. Through their music and presentation, both these acts were representing elements of the South African kid growing up in the townships. Pro Kid’s “Ungaphel’ Umoya Son” is a great example of a record that connects to the South African audience. On the record, his message of inspiration is specifically designed for a township kid going through hardships and its references are also things we can relate to; things we have seen, experienced and lived.

Thebe’s ‘Bula Boot’ is another great example. Black South Africans have their own way of partying that is unique to us and this record captures that uniqueness to perfection. I can completely relate to it, and I know the majority of Black South Africa can too. Now there’s nothing wrong with making records about ‘poppin’ bottles’ and that sort of thing, however, you have to be mindful of the fact that most people’s reaction to your record will most likely be ‘A se mo States mo’ (translation”: this is not the States). Fans don’t want imported concepts and ideas from their South African artists; they want music they can feel and relate to.

Remember the formula? CwF (Connect with Fans) + RTB (Reason To Buy) = Success.

If you connect with fans, they will want to hear more of your music. In turn, radio stations will increase your rotation, so will music TV channels/programs.  Promoters will want you at their shows. Brands will want to use you for endorsements and sync your music in their ad campaigns. That’s how you WIN!!!

We all know Kwaito’s success story. Look at the core of what made the South African youth fall in love with the genre and you will realize that it went beyond the beat and the chants. There was a strong emotional connection; it was our own thing, it gave you a different feeling. I can say the same thing with the early 2000s Hip Hop scene, from Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid to Hidden Force, H2O, Morafe, Tuks and others.

That was the only time South African Hip Hop artists regularly sold albums in large volumes. Skwatta Kamp’s ‘Mkhukhu Funkshen’ went platinum and so did Pitch Black Afro’s ‘Styling Gel’, Pro Kid’s ‘Heads & Tales’ shipped 15,000 units, and so on… Pro Kid was part of a Smirnoff campaign for their ‘Storm’ brand; he was also the face of the MTN’s campaign for the SAMA Awards. Skwatta was doing big things breaking down doors and putting SA Hip Hop on a whole different level. Right now Teargas, Mi Casa, Big Nuz, DJ Cleo and others are running the game and dominating charts, sales, awards, gigs and etc. They all make music that connects.

Next time you hit that booth, think about whom you are making music for.  As the late Dr Mageu would say, “A se mo States Mo!!!”

#FWYH, LOCAL IS LEKKER!

Hit me up:

Email: Thabiso.Khati@gmail.com

Twitter: @HipHopScholar

Twitter: @360Street

Till the next one.

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Why SA Artists Die Hungry!

I’m going to be frank with you. The reason why SA’s cream of the crop dies poor is because you don’t support them. Yes you, the individual reading this!

You would rather buy Lil Wayne’s new album for R180 than to buy AKA’s latest offering for R99 at Musica. Not only do we not buy enough local content but some of the few individuals who do support local music will do so from a pirated DVD/CD or from a 30 gig memory stick plugged into their radio sets.

You and your girlfriends or boys plan movie nights watching American films but can’t be bothered to go and see local films like A Million Colours, State of Violence, or Umtshado. It’s no wonder we have Americans telling Mzansi’s stories or playing lead roles in our own movies, like Red Dust, Cry Freedom, Disgrace and Catch a Fire. It’s because we don’t support and invest in a ticket at Ster Kinekor for just R50, on Tuesdays you get a discount but still, we don’t go!

You would much rather purchase a Gucci or Levi’s t-shirt than buy a local brand like Mantsho, Butan Wear, Head Honcho, Ephymol or Stoned Cherrie.


If people knew just how much work, creativity and genuine old school hustling goes into making a 30 minute show like Intersextions to air on SABC 1 during prime time, I think they would respect TV and watch local content like Dineo’s Diary, Running with the Reps, My World or Culture Shock instead of sticking to Life on the fab lane with Kimora, or Keeping up with the Kardashians, with Kim and her annoying relatives.

Mzansi’s most creative musicians, most gifted painters, designers and singers are all dying broke even though they have this talent that Americans find amazing. When last did you buy or listen to Freshly Ground’s music? Have you taken the time to appreciate the sounds of MXO, HHP or Tuks? Do you know when and where they are performing this year? How much is a ticket? Yet we all flood to the Dome when we hear that chubby guy who doesn’t shave his beard is coming to SA. What’s his name, Rick Ross?

Your excuse for not buying local content cannot be that SA is lacking, because if you think that’s the case, then I hereby declare you ignorant. Hugh Masekela is loved overseas, Nomfusi – that jazz songbird – is amazingly huge in Europe, yet you don’t even know her. Yes, we are different and will not like the same things in life but, for you to overlook artists because they are local and rather copy their CDs than buying them, tells me you’re heartless. I’ve had to watch musicians like H2O, Pebbles and Gommora fizzle away into SA’s archives because their music wasn’t bought by locals. Shame on you!


If we lived in the states I bet Busi Mhlongo, Bhekumuzi Luthuli, Lebo Mathosa, Brenda Fassie, all would have left behind truckloads of money before their passing. But, because you and I didn’t support them while they were alive and still don’t buy their music today, their families and children will remain the hard working citizens that fill up Mzansi’s malls selling overseas products to Africans.

Regards,

Poppy Pops Vilakazi

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Music Review: Going Back to the Roots with Mbuso Khoza

Artist               :  Mbuso Khoza

Album             :  Zilindile

Over the years, Mbuso Khoza has made a name for himself as a backup vocalist for artists such as Thandiswa Mazwai, Siphokozi, and Themba Mkhize. He’s recently featured on a song by Revolution called ‘Angisoze Ngakulibala’ taken off their latest album. He has finally made his long desired career breakthrough by releasing his debut album titled ‘Zilindile.’

The album has been beautifully executed, with an outstanding production which features the likes of Themba Mkhize and Lucas Senyatso, amongst others. The album has been under the guidance of a young producer and pianist, Nduduzo Makhathini, who has also worked with the late Zim Ngqwana, Simphiwe Dana, Feya Faku, and Zamajobe. The album has some contemporary jazz influences with an urban sound, accompanied by true lyrical integrity. On the album, Mbuso takes the listeners through the journey of his life; this is evident on songs like Eshowe and Nabaya, with meaningful lyrical content that many can relate to.

What I love most about this album is that it is authentic and does not try to emulate American music; it truly reflects South African culture, and all songs are in isiZulu. It’s a shame that a lot of people don’t embrace this kind of music anymore. This album is well-crafted, so rich and spiritual and has reminded me that I’m unashamedly African. Chances are, you might not like it the first time, but as you give it time and listen to it over and over again, it will make sense. It’s worth adding to your collection.

Rating: 5/5

- By P.Mash

To stay up to date with where his CD can be purchased, and to get more about him and his music, you can visit:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/mbusoKhozaSA

Twitter    :  @MbusoKhozaSA

YouTube: “Mbuso Khoza”

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MiCasa’s Mo-T says his bit

With being nominated for multiple awards at the 18th annual South African Music Awards, and also being scheduled to perform at the very same event, it’s expected for them to have a hectic schedule around this time. But nevertheless, I got the opportunity to have a telephonic chat with one third of the sensational trio. Here’s what Mo-T, MiCasa’s trumpet player, had to share:

KT: I know you’ve probably been asked this a million times before, but please tell us how you guys got together?
Mo-T: Well, we were all scheduled to play at a hotel in Sandton. At that time I didn’t even know who Dr. Duda was. When the time to perform came, we were just randomly put together, and that’s where it all started. After that, we just started making music together.

KT: Was it a childhood dream or just a random moment in your life that saw you taking the music route?
Mo-T:
Oh it’s been a childhood dream! I come from a musical family. My father used to play for Mango Groove. So, since I was about five years old, I would just watch my dad play and perform. I was taken away by the experiences and as I grew up, I decided I’d also do music.

KT: Entering into a very well-dipped genre of music in SA, what was the biggest challenge you faced?
Mo-T:
Our biggest challenge was not being taken seriously by the industry. However, we really believed in our music and still carried on. In this industry, good musicians don’t have a platform or they’re not taken seriously because their different.

KT: What kind of House music do you guys produce and what’s the biggest influence behind your fresh and different sound? Read the full story

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Just 10 with Wandile Molebatsi

Pic Source: thenewage.co.za

Okay, so anyone who knows me will know that I’ve had a crush on Wandile Molebatsi for as long as the sun has been shining on this green earth! No, not because of his great looks and gorgeous smile; no, of course not! I ain’t that shallow… but that is indeed a bonus.

The reason I’ve loved him so much is because of his resilience and thirst for success in this industry. His constant fight to keep his passion alive; whether it be through his love for music or acting, it is so evident that he’s lifting Mzansi’s name and taking it to places industry legends only dream of.

So, after hunting him down for what felt like forever, I finally got to have just 10 questions to ask him. I wanted to know about his brush with death, where he comes from, his new movie and where he is going next. Here’s what we talked about…

Pops: Where is home and who helped raise you into becoming the talented man you are today?

Wandile: I was born at Lesedi Clinic and grew up in Rockville, Soweto. My parents then moved to the small holdings in Walkerville near the Vaal, in 1999. I am very blessed to have had both my parents in my life. My mother and father raised four boys, so you can imagine the grey hair we gave my poor parents. Their love is, without a doubt, the reason why I am who I am today.

Pops: You were involved in a car accident last year that had us all freaked out. It put you in a coma and here you are, back on our silver screens. What exactly happened?

Wandile: It was a very hard time for my family and friends. I was in ICU for four days, and it was the longest four days of our lives. I had been editing all night at Coal Stove (the production house I started with two of my friends in 2007). I then insisted on driving home – a combination of male bravado and youthful foolishness. My partners had asked me to rather sleep at one of their houses but I’d insisted that I would be fine. I fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into a tree! I fell unconscious and bled internally. I thank God I didn’t hit anyone! Someone woke up to go see where the enormous bang had come from; the paramedics were called and I was then rushed to hospital and put in ICU.

Pops: Having begun your career in the television industry at a very early age on KTV, and in films like Cry the Beloved Country, what do you love about the bright lights, cameras and call sheets?

Wandile: I love entertaining! I think my mother realised this when I was still very young. Thankfully she was able to channel that toddler energy and found me an agent. I have always been in love with movies and music, and I’m so thankful that I have been able to pursue both. The art of creating a narrative through lyrics or a script, is one that I hope to continually refine and get the platform to express.

Pops: Who has been your major inspiration in your craft and what has kept you pursuing your passion?

Wandile: Otata John Kani and Winston Ntshona have been huge sources of inspiration. They really believed in the craft of theatre, and now film and television, for one to be able to convey more than just emotion, but also a fundamental moral standpoint. They did it first with Struggle/Workshop theatre, and now they are taking on difficult roles on screen.

Pops: You’re not only an actor and a producer, and you’re also a musician, self-taught instrumentalist and a rapper who forms part of a group called UJU. Where and when Read the full story

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Kicking Back with Maxhoba

In the spirit of Kasi Times’ motto of motivating, inspiring and empowering young people, Maxhoba isn’t a surprise candidate for an interview. This all-round entertainer amongst other things, sings, writes music, scripts and script translation, and also owns an entertainment company known as Hobacity.

Maxhoba started out in a group from the Eastern Cape that didn’t quite make their fame breakout a bit over ten years ago. He then went to working and touring with some of South Africa’s greats. He holds teaching and helping South African musicians grow, close to his heart. Hobacity and KBM entertainment have ventured into a production where they’re trying to bring back the live music trend by taking a live show called Back to The Music all around SA. So, after watching a spectacular show and a great performance, I wanted to know more about this guy, and here is what I found out:

Kasi Times: When was your first break into the music industry?

MaxHoba: It was in 2001 when I started working with HHP. We did the Harambe Project and that really started things out for me. It opened a lot of doors for recognition, not only among the youth but other people started taking notice. A lot of people know my stage name, Maxhoba, but don’t know my face.

KT: How do you think the market has changed from when you first entered the music scene?

MH:What I see is the focus has shifted to the money above quality delivery, from both the artists and recording companies. The record companies might have always been about making money, but I miss going to gigs and seeing other artists there to support the performers, not only when they themselves are performing. I’m very happy though about the state of the lifestyle of hip hop, but not the music. There are still a few cats like Khuli and AKA that still do good music.

KT: What word do you believe best describes your artistry and why?

MH: Let’s say I’m a “passionate” musician. I’m truly passionate about music and growing the music industry. When I was younger, the people who ran the industry were probably 10 years older than I am now, and to me that says we’re very close to being the ones that are running it. So if we don’t learn more and teach others after us, we’re going to end up where the Brenda’s and Mahlatini’s found themselves.

KT: How do you think working with some of the biggest names in SA hip hop has affected your career?

MH: I got a lot of experience from it, for instance, dealing with crowds. I was lucky to go through the ‘groupie era’ when I was still young. I can’t imagine only hitting the industry now as an old man in his 30s running after girls. I also learnt about time management and appreciation. And, because I didn’t only work with Hip Hop artists, I obtained knowledge from a different side of the industry, such as when I worked with Bra Don Laka and Ntsiki Mazwai.

KT: What, between launching your career and establishing your entertainment company, proved to be the most challenging?

MH: Well, the singing and music thing are straight up gifts from God. I didn’t have to go hustle anybody or need somebody to come and teach me how to sing; it just happened. The entertainment company is still struggling even today; firstly investors don’t Read the full story

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Afro’traction – Making SeSwati Fashionable

I love R&B/Neo Soul and I’ve always fantasised about hearing it in different languages, but it never crossed my mind that I’d one day hear it sung purely in SeSwati. Afro’traction broke into the scene and delivered just that! Afro’traction, often mistaken as group, is actually a solo act by Wandile Moya. This talented musician is a great vocalist with the ability of playing various instruments. He has two solid albums under his belt. His latest album, Soulfully Yours, has been nominated for the SAMAS under the category Best Smooth Urban Album of the Year. Kasi Times caught up with Afro’traction, the singer, songwriter and producer at his studio to tell us more about his music.

Born and raised in a musical family in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, Wandile’s father taught him how to play a piano at the early age of 9. He quickly caught the music bug and started performing at his local church and at weddings. His major breakthrough was in 2007, when he worked for a record company as a producer, with artists like HHP, Teargas, Kabelo, Denim, Jamali and Thembi Seete.

When asked about how he came up with the name Afro’traction, he explained it as: ‘’Afro’’ which means something of an African origin, “traction’’ which means an act of hauling – so it’s African music that holds on to your heart. He came up with this name to distinguish himself from being an artist and a producer on the album, and because of the kind of sound he produces.

He describes Afro’traction’s sound as Mzansi Soul, where he incorporates different languages like isiZulu, isiXhosa and SeSwati to create a blend of soulful R&B with the lyrical content that revolves around relationships; this is evident on songs like ‘Ngawe’ and ‘Ngimtholile.’ The lyrical content is delivered in a manner that can easily be understood and people can relate to it in their own languages. People can expect “nothing but love on his latest album.”

Connect to him on Twitter: @afrotraction
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Mr.Afrotraction

- P.Mash

 

Posted in MusicComments (5)

Quick Chat with Kabomo

A laid back and down-to-earth gentleman with a resume that could intimidate the most established of artists, Kabomo has a soulful voice that has been part of the backbone of South African music for over 10 years. He has now graced us with his own offering in his debut album ‘All Things Grey’. With a passion to inspire youth towards greatness, this writer, poet, producer, filmmaker, singer, songwriter, and production company owner, has fallen in love with what he does and appreciates all those that have inspired him to get here.

So, in between an early morning meeting and band practice, I managed to have a quick chat with Kabomo. I was star struck, but with pen in a shaky hand, this is what I managed to get out of him:

Kasi Times: What finally ignited the flame that led to you releasing your own album?
Kabomo:
I felt it was the right time for my story to be told. I had experienced a lot and done a lot of work in the industry to be relevant, and I’ve given the music enough chance to grow within me that it was almost bursting out.

KT: What’s your favourite thing about doing music?
KBM:
It’s definitely performing! Just doing my thing and seeing the audience’s reaction – when they know the lyrics and are singing back to you! I feel truly fulfilled knowing I can make people feel that way and enjoy themselves; it’s great because I put my heart into it and they appreciate it.

KT: What impact do you want your music to have on South Africa?
KBM:
I want people to discover their truth and to be able to find their passions. I write my music truthfully and I want to project that back to my audience.

KT: How were you first introduced to the industry?
KBM:
A friend of mine called to say Thembi Seete needed a road manager as hers wasn’t available. He explained all my duties over the phone. I then went on to co-produce Flabba’s album and around the same time I became editor for Y-mag.

KT: What do you want to see happen in music development in SA and how can you influence that?
KBM:
I would like to see more performance spaces for artists to showcase their talent. Underground circles have helped develop many careers and I would like to see that be taken advantage of more. I think by doing my thing and proving that it is possible, is the best way I could influence that.

KT: Who was your favourite artist to write for and why?
KBM:
I recently worked with Kelly Khumalo and though it wasn’t my favourite of all time, it was my most recent enjoyable experience. I discovered a humble, God-fearing woman behind all the drama.

KT: Who is your biggest music influence?
KBM:
Bheki Mseleku. I think he was the greatest pianist ever. His music was well-celebrated all over the world and his work truly inspired me.

KT: Which genre Read the full story

Posted in Music, ProfilesComments (9)

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