Golden Boy

2007-04-18 15:41
Not to worry, we didn’t mention ex-girlfriend and mother of his three children, singer Judith Sephuma, we’ll save that for another day.

On Old Mutual Encounters
My involvement with Old Mutual Encounters started quiet early in 1999 when I entered the Old Mutual Encounters jazz competition. I got my record break through that competition. So this is the second time I’m getting involved with Old Mutual, but I’m looking forward to re-igniting that partnership. The discovery of my talent was through Old Mutual. People can expect fireworks from the show! I’m not only coming to impress the audience, but I’m also coming to impress the people that put me on the music map.

On career regrets
I have no regrets in my career. I think each and every discourse has been a stepping-stone, in a way it has taught me something. I do reflect on my life time and again. As a matter of fact, just last night I was sitting back in amazement, I can’t believe the amount of achievements that I have. I have to thank God for it.

On the new album The Azanian Songbook
In the name itself I was trying to get involved in some socio-political commentary. I just want to see if I can open a dialogue. Seeing that the country is very much involved in naming things, maybe we are wrong. Why do we want to rename the fruit, the leaves and the branches, rather than start to rename the tree itself, if we feel that the names that were there before are not appropriate? More that anything, the name is derived from breaking down the walls of the past and making people realise that with changes the walls of cultural isolation have crumbled. South Africa has a new sound. So The Azanian Songbook is actually the culmination of me realising that I cannot now separate one song from the other. Within one song I can find Zulu, Pedi and Sotho.
The album is doing very well, it’s exciting. It has gotten my name back into the forefront. As a result, I’m doing a lot of concerts and most of the songs have gone on to be top ten hits. I’m looking forward to working on new products because my record label Live at the Shack will record a new artist Malatji, featured on the track “Ntatanga”. And hopefully I can do a full album with my daughter Telebo, who is featured on the track “Ordinary Day”. On going indie
I moved from being a signed artist with SonyBMG. I realised that big record companies are merely multi-nationals. And multi-nationals based in our country are distribution houses for western artists. So that is why the bulk of products in stores is foreign. I saw myself not being the focus of the record label, and I was not being marketed as an American artist. So I thought if I start my own record label I can push myself as a product. If you are independent you can negotiate with other independents overseas and get exposure there too. I realised that unless you are a musician in control of everything, you are going to battle to make things change.

On the song “Mamgobozi” (gossipmonger)
Yes, it is a response to gossipers, not only the mamgobozi that have been on my case but also every other mamgobozi who can derail people by telling negative things about people. I’ve been affect by the gossip, not because I was a bad guy, but because it was dragging me down. I had to learn to deal with and be able to walk out of my house with my head held high. I once told one gossip columnist: “I see you wrote this and that, it has affect me this much and has affected my children this much. At least if that’s what brings bread to your children you’ve done a good job. And at least what I’m doing, my children will know that I’ve worked very hard .” It was a bit harsh but I found that they left alone after that!

- Nomfundo H Mbaba+Tshabalala

For more on Old Mutual Encounters click here.

Selaelo Selota’s fascinating life story is one of rags to riches. His performance at the Old Mutual Encounters is just one of many gigs he has lined-up. We chat to him about his latest album The Azanian Songbook and about his life.

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