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The Good Life

2009-10-20 08:03
Interview: Nhlanhla

Watch: "Nhlanhla interview" video.

The experience of being a solo artist – how’s it been?
It’s been wonderful. Obviously there are challenges. It was really scary at first – especially coming from a big band like Mafikizolo, but I managed to pull through. My first album went gold – which I was very happy, very excited about. Ya, so far it’s been good, you know. Very positive. The response I’ve been getting has been wonderful. I’ve done performances outside South Africa as a solo artist, it’s been very good.

What can we expect, musically, from your second album?
I try to inspire people a lot in this album. Simply because I like speaking about current issues. There’s this recession right now and people are just losing hope. They’re having their cars taken, their houses taken. That’s the kind of music I do, right now. I’m just speaking to the people and trying to give them hope. I’m just trying to tell them to hold on. But other than that I sing about love, because I believe that we can write songs everyday about love and we can never run out of things to say, you know (smiles). That’s how broad it is and I always like having that in my albums. Also, on this album I was trying to develop the guys that I work with. That’s why I decided to work with the band I normally perform with in terms of composing music. Also, I think I’ve grown as a song-writer.

How did it feel being in studio with the legendary Caiphus Semenya?
It was amazing working with Ntate Caiphus Semenya. The first time you see him, you know, it’s like he’s a giant in the music industry. I didn’t know what to expect when I got into the studio with him. And it was really scary. The first thing that he told me was that I should tell him if I don’t like the song – and I was thinking: how am I going to do that!? (laughs). How am I going to say “No” to any song that he writes, you know? But I guess I was fortunate enough that I liked the songs that he wrote. He asked me what I wanted him to write about and I told him that I know him for ballads and love songs, you know. And that’s what he wrote. You know, he’s been married for over 40 years so if anyone’s going to write about love he’s the man to do that. He wrote two songs – the second one was more upbeat, you know, and I loved it. He was humble. Even though at first I felt intimidated, once we got talking and working on the songs, I got to relax. And ya, it was just amazing because he’s so grounded and humble it’s unbelievable. It was amazing.

‘Congo’ is one of the album’s stand-out songs. Can you talk us through the inspiration behind it?
I wanted, basically, to talk to people about Africa. You know, to share about my love – this love I have for the African continent. I just wanted to say it’s something we need to be proud of as Africans. There are so many beautiful places in Africa and people don’t know about that, you know. There are some people in South Africa – when they think North Africa they think poverty and all of that. It’s really sad because I’ve been to so many African countries and the experience is amazing; the people are amazing; the places I’ve been too are also amazing.People speak about France and, you know, all of those places, Miami and all of that, and are impressed by those places, and i just wanted to say you know what, you don’t know what we have in this continent. Basically that’s what the song is about. I speak about Mozambique and Malawi and Nigeria and what’s more beautiful is that it’s not just about the places but it’s also about the people themselves. It’s as if as Africans we bond with Ubuntu, and that’s how it is throughout the continent – not just South Africa – you feel the love once you get to the place, people accept you as if you’re family. We should embrace that. We should be proud of that and proud of being African. That’s what this song is about.

So, what’s it like being the 1st lady at TS Records?
Do you get to have a voice amongst all the boys? No. (laughs) No, I mean I’m just an artist like any artist. I just come in as an artist and speak about my album. That’s all I do there.

Can tell us about your clothing line, NN Enterprise?
How has it been doing? It’s been doing great. Since the launch in 2007 I’ve been getting a positive response – from the reviews and people who attend my shows. I’ve showcased in some of the biggest platforms in the fashion industry – the Joburg fashion Week, the South African Sanlam Fashion week, and other than that I’ve also been doing my shows as I’m touring. I get calls from as far as Cape Town and Durban. So ya, I’m really trying to grow it. I will open a store – one in Joburg and one in the Eastern Cape.

What kind of women do you target with NN Enterprise?
You know what, I think if you’re working you can afford it (laughs). I can’t say much, but ya, basically it’s for those women who like good things and quality clothes and know that you have to spend a certain amount of money to get that.

Future plans?
Right now I’m promoting the album. I’ve been basically going around the country, promoting. I’m having Soul Sessions where I go to Jazz lounges in the townships and just perform with the band and other than that I’ll just be doing shows. I’m coming down (on the 5th) with my band. So that’s it for now – I’ll just be promoting the album. I’ve already launched in Durban and Joburg, and I’ve been in Limpopo. I’ll be going to Nelspruit next. The people in Cape Town can come out and see me on the 5th of December.

Mafikizolo songstress, Nhlanhla Nciza, talks music, fashion, travel and being the first lady at TS Records publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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