Interview: We had a quickie with Nathi!
Nathi Mankayi (Instagram)
Johannesburg - From prison to top of the charts, via a love song. It's the kind of stuff you couldn't make up. But that's the life of musician Nathi Mankayi.
The hitmaker has gripped the nation with his songs and had us all declaring our love with his hit single Nomvula.
So, when he's not making heartfelt songs or fighting off those pesky rumours of being broke, Nathi is busy winning awards and touring the country.
No wonder it took us so long to finally track him down for a decent chat.
First of all, congratulations on your Song of the Year win at the recent Metro FM Music Awards.
Thank you, I am very happy, this is a huge achievement for me, the album has been in the market for seven months and to win such awards as a new artist it’s a blessing indeed.
Can you take us through how you were feeling when you heard your name called as the winner?
Firstly, because there were so many other awards that I was nominated for and I didn't win, when Song of the Year was called I didn't really expect it even though I know how big Nomvula is out there. You know awards are very strange things.
So when I heard my name after song of the year, I was so excited and happy. It really meant a lot to me. I wanted to thank the whole country for this award and when you went up to stage with the crowd singing your song? It showed me that when you write music from your heart, it goes straight to someone else's heart. I do not have words to explain how I felt.
Nomvula has become so popular. What inspired the song? Yes, Nomvula is very popular *laughs*. It is inspired by love and my past experiences. I write music that talks about life, love and daily experiences that we come across as humans. I don’t know how to write hits, so I try and be as honest as I can be.
But when a song is that popular, it has to change you, surely?
It has changed. Changed for the best. With a background like mine, it is really life changing. I am no longer just Nkosinathi, I'm Nathi that has won people's heart, so it's important for me to stand up and be an example on how change can happen.
How do you deal with the media attention that seems to be focused on you and your life right now?
I am a very private person, however I try to deal with it in a polite manner as it comes with the position I am in, but it sadness me the fact that some media personnel have their agenda instead of focusing on the positive things.
What advice would you give to young artists who sing almost entirely in their mother tongue and hope to reach a national audience?
Nelson Mandela once said - "when you speak to a man in his language you speak to his heart " - I am a living testimony that when you true to yourself and your music, people will receive you well.
So, upcoming artist must not worry about being what they're not. After all, it is your story that you are telling, not anyone else's.
If you could gather all your fans in a giant room and give them one message, what would it be?
I would thank every person that supported this album, Buyelekhaya. I would tell them that these 10 tracks are really special to me and they have changed my life and that I hope the music on this CD has had an impact on their lives too.