When did you decide to pursue music professionally? What was the driving factor that led you to the decision? Was music always part of the plan?
“Well, it was just a discovery that actually this is one thing that I really excel in and that I am great at. Also, it was like I was looking at the industry and I felt like there was no one like me cause I was always myself growing up and I knew that if I were to ever be in this industry I would fully be myself and that was a good enough reason for me to try it because if there is no one like you then that’s the best shot you can take to pursue your dreams so that was my leading motivation.
Even growing up I never fully was focused on music, I wasn’t a kid that said I was going to be a musician but I always had a love for it, for example, I would never miss any musical film or anything. It was just later on when I was 21 that I was like okay, I think I want to do this. That was it, that was when I had decided that I wanna do it professionally.
I did have a plan b, I did accounting, I didn’t finish it, however, I will go back and finish it but what I wanted to be – anything else on the side, I was fascinated by doctors or psychologists, just being in a space where you can help someone. My family were more supportive of my musical career than me, I was the reluctant one. I was like these people were crazy, they’re supportive over something that they don’t even know will work out. I was the one who never believed in myself, they were always there to push me and be like no Ami you can do this!”
After being in the top 16 of the voice, did you ever think that your career would be where it is today? What did you to after the voice and how did the experience help you as an artist?
I am grateful for the experience because I managed to get context whilst being on the show and it taught me that the industry is very difficult – it’s not only your voice that counts and it taught me a lot of confidence as well. when I got eliminated I was calm because I don’t like to stress or fight so I’m not gonna ball my eyes out and be depressed because at the end of the day these are just normal people, they cannot dictate my life. It’s like a random person telling you, you can’t sing, no this won’t happen, they can’t have so much power over you. I was okay but I was worried about my next step, that’s why made sure I spoke to James, that’s why I visited him in the studio after my elimination just to be in spaces where there we higher chances of people discovering me because I couldn’t keep recording from my home town.
Why did you decide to call your debut album “imali”? Does the world hold any significance in your life?
“It holds a huge significance in everyone’s lives, it’s a tool that we need to function every day. It just sucks that not all of us can have it, I just wanted people to find other ways to be happy, you know and sustain their emotional well being because money can be so depressing, its such a toxic thing but also good at the same time. That is what the song speaks about, I didn’t want people to forever be so hurt and broken because I know that not everyone finally gets a break-in life, not everyone gets to experience everything they want to. I wanted people to appreciate what they have, to try to build something that cannot be taken away and try to promote happiness because for me the music really made a difference in my life in terms of happiness, I found that although life may suck sometimes but going to the studio and recording music was one place where I could be in control and be happy, that’s what I want for people. Even when I wrote the song, I didn’t have money, at all so it’s like I just want people to find happiness.”
What is your favourite song from the album and why?
“All of them are my favourites, they all hold some sort of significance for me, I can choose just one. NEVER! I can’t.
But one song that I began with in my first ever single that I am forever proud of is Ndikethe Wena, I feel like it’s the start of it all and for that reason only it’s my favourite song. When we released it I never imagined that it could lead to this, so for me, it will always be special.”
You have collaborated with some of the best artists SA has to offer over the last year, which of them is your favourite and why. Also, if you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive who would it be and why?
“It’s obviously Sun El Musician, in the studio, we have a connection that is insane, I get ideas that I would not get elsewhere, he’s such a humble being and I learn so much from him. He has this urge to grow as a person and as an artist, I love that about him, nothing is ever enough for him and that’s why I love him – he’s not like those people who think they have made it and have nasty attitudes but personally, I could never work with those types of people anyway.
I am so thankful because he also invited me to the studio when hardly anyone knew me, it was after Ndikethe Wena and for him, no hype matters, you don’t have to prove yourself to him. He sees what you are without needing confirmation from the rest of the world. That is why I am such a fan of his.”
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? What is the big idea in terms of your career and personal life?
“Uhm 5 years, I don’t know in terms of my personal life, that one is tricky, it’s a hard one to manage, but in terms of work, I would say I just wanna grow more and grow, grow, grow. I want to collaborate more, not necessarily things we put out in the public – I could write more songs for artists and of course travel more, gig more and grow as a writer, performer, collectively as a band and as a person. Also, be able to take the journey of life and put it into music as I did it before because I am adjusting to this new life so I know that it will be more difficult than before but I will do my best to be able to put my life in paper for every song, album and single I do.”
If there is one thing that you want people to remember you for as a musical legend, what would it be?
“I would say my vocal approach in songs, my writing and my melody. I guess those are the three that people will remember me for.”
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians who want to make it in this industry? What are the dos and don’ts?
“Try not to be a superstar in your personal life, try to be as normal as possible, that’s important in order to keep your peace because, in the long run, it will mess with you so try to balance both lives. In this industry, you work with your brain and in order for it to work efficiently, you need peace.
Then the dos would be to collaborate more, listen to a lot of artists in order to get your inspiration, let’s say you listen to Rihanna a lot, you will end up creating an album that sounds like Rihanna. There’s so much to learn from taking something from different genres and different artists!”
Thank you so much Ami! I urge you all to go and listen to her debut album IMALI available EVERYWHERE
Follow her on social media;
Insta – https://www.instagram.com/ami_faku/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Ami_Faku
There’s something so incredibly beautiful about listening to music in your own language. For me I never really deep lyrics when it comes to songs, I just listen because I vibe with the song but listening to SA soul just does something to me, I feel every single word and so much more! So it’s no surprise that I adore Ami Faku’s voice.
I first discovered Ami in June last year whilst watching an episode of Uzalo (my favourite SA soap), her song Ubuhle Bakho played as Lindiwe walked down the aisle. It was at that moment that I knew I had found my first dance song! Regardless of where my husband is from, this will be our song, forever and always. You truly have to listen to it to understand where I’m coming from! This was the first time in a very long time that a song had brought me to tears. Her voice, the lyrics, her sound, the melodies, everything about it was just breathtaking. To this day I can’t go a week without playing the song, it’s on repeat none stop. I’m probably one of the huge reasons why she’s SA’s most streamed female artist of 2019, she’s without a doubt my most played SA female artist!
Ms Faku has collaborated with some of SA’s biggest and greatest musicians I.e Amanda Black, Sun el Musician and Prince Kaybee just to name a few! She released her debut album in September and the more I listened to the album the more I fall in love with her, I kid you not, this woman will probably go down as one of SA’s greatest and I honestly cannot wait for her to get the global recognition she deserves. Within the first day of her album being released, it hit #1 on Apple Music, her album was #1 in physical sales of music for 4 weeks, she had 5 songs in the Top 50 of Radiomonitor Top 200 chart of 2019 and she was the ONLY newcomer on Spotify’s top 10 most streamed female artist. Imagine all of this was achieved within the space of a few months, so imagine what she could achieve In the next 5-10 years!
I had the privilege of interviewing this incredible woman on Monday and here is what she had to say;
How does it feel to be named SA’s most streamed female artist by Deezer? How did you hear the news?
“It feels great, I keep saying all of these things are a blessing because at first, I did not think that all of this was possible so I’m very happy and grateful.
I found out whilst I was alone at my place and I called to confirm because I was like there should be a mistake but thankfully it was an actual thing and there was no mistake.”
How would you describe your music in 5 words and why have you chosen these particular words?
“Modern, Soulful, Truthful, an Experience and Quality music. Every time I think about it I would say those are the elements that my music has.”
Obviously, as an artist, you take inspiration from so many things, for example; your surroundings, life experiences and other artists. How did you discover your sound, how long did it take you and what advice would you give to other artists looking to find their own sound?
“It took time because if I look back to when I was 18 I wouldn’t have done this, I was not exposed/ around people who played live instruments but I always knew that I had this deep love for instruments and soulful music but unfortunately I couldn’t – It was just this experience of doing all these other genres to actually make this decision to say, no this is the music that I really love the most. It was just experiencing and looking at the music I connect with the most – afro soul and RnB but mostly very youthful, nothing old or anything, that’s why I incorporate youthfulness in my afro soul because it’s part of what I like so it had to be part of my music and sound.
To new artists, I would say just be sure that this is the sound that you want because it’s not easy to write on, it’s not easy to create a melody on because it sort of has to compliment cause the production is always so great so it’s quite intimidating, you have to really work hard into making sure that your delivery is just as good. Make sure you know what you want, don’t do it because everyone says you should do it and stick through what you believe in and just always be you because I am me in my writing and everything about this journey. I am fully 100% myself so I would encourage them to do the same.”
Most of your songs are related to the idea of love, is this romantic love? Have you yourself ever been in love, or are you in love right now?
“My music involves platonic love as well as romantic love, because I myself am such a lover. I express love even in songs I dedicate to friends and family so It can be however you interpret it.
I was definitely in love at some point, it’s always so weird when people ask me this, I’m like no why??? but I am grateful for the experience as it helped me to create songs that people love, so I guess it was worth something in the end, I got something out of it at least, so yeah I have been in love! My experience is very limited tho, so in order to broaden my audience I always also write in other peoples perspectives and tell their stories too.”
These days it seems like no matter where you’re from or where you live there is a high chance that if you’re African you know what gqom is. Evolved from Kwaito, tribal house and skeletal hip-hop influences, gqom – a word meaning “hit” or “drum” in Zulu is taking the world by storm and one of the pioneers behind it’s growing popularity is DISTRUCTION BOYZ. Every song produced the duo makes you want to get up on your feet and dance regardless of whether or not you can! Their album ‘Gqom is the Future” is one of the biggest and hottest albums released last year in South Africa, – the biggest hit from the album was Omunye which reached beyond South Africa and become globally known as it featured in this years blockbuster movie of the year – Black Panther. The song was replayed more times than I can count and I’d stretch as far as to say it was the party anthem of the year!
Who are your musical influences?
We are mostly influenced by the mordern day culture artists like okmaloomkoolkat,Dj Tira amd diplo
How did you come up with the name Distruction Boyz?
We used to make mixtapes for the end of school term parties and people ended up naming us distruction boyz ‘coz our mixtapes where fire
How would you describe life growing up in Kwa-mashu?
It was amazing we used to play a lot its an amazing township
How did you guys meet and why did you decide to produce music together as a group rather than as individuals?
We grew up together and our parents were friends before we were even born it wasnt a difficult decision to make since we have been together all our lives.
How would you describe your sound in 5 words?
Bold,Hyponotic,Fresh,electric and powerful
Why do you believe that Gqom is the future?
The way the sound has grown in the past couple of years and its current standing shows that it has a great future in the industry
Who has been your favourite artist to work with and who do you hope to work with in the future?
Dladla mshunqisi he is an amazing artist and performer.We would love to work with anyone that believes in the movement
What was the vision when you started Distruction Boyz records?
Pushing the gqom movement in different avenues giving as many gqom artists out there as possible
When you first released Omunye did you ever expect it to be this big of a hit not only in South Africa but around the world?
We believed in it but we were also surprised when it won song of the year here in south africa.
What is your all time favourite song that you have ever produced and why?
It has to be Uzophuza Manzi its the one song that was able to get us recognition
What are your plans/ goals for the rest of 2018?
More music and getting the sound to all the corners of the world
I would like to thank Distruction Boyz for this interview, I cannot wait to see what is to come ahead for them in the future!
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing the incredibly talented Mr Vusi Nova. Vusi Nova is one of my all time favourite South African artists, his music is soulful, full of passion and it honestly makes you want to fall in love and find that one person that you want to spend the rest of your entire life with It’s that amazing! I don’t want him to sing at my wedding, I need him to! I love everything about his sound and but most importantly I love how he incorporates his Xhosa roots in his music, his album NANINA is 99.9% Xhosa and it is such a vibe, whether or not you understand xhosa you need to listen to it because trust me when I say that you will fall in love with this man just as I have.
Vusi was named “Music Royalty “after he performed his song “Ndikuthandile” in front of a crowd that loved his music. The SAMA 23 came and saw the afro pop sensation being nominated and winning an award for the Nanina album. 2017 being the year for Vusi Nova, afro pop singer also won 2 awards at the South African Afro Music Awards in 2017, winning Best Afro Album and Best male.
When did you first get into music? was becoming a musician always part of the plan?
I come from a family that was musical in a church way, it was my mom who really inspired me to pursue my dreams. My mother was my number 1 supporter and she inspired me after me joining her in JHB to start performing.
Who are your musical influences?
It would have to be R Kelly and Marvin Gaye. R Kelly has this way of fusing the old school with the new school, and that’s what I try to do in South Africa with my music as well. With Marvin Gaye, he is classic, and how he uses love in his music is amazing.
How would you describe your sound in 5 words?
Hmmm wow – Love, Life, experiences, hurt and blessings
What made you finally decide that it was time to take charge and follow your dreams of becoming a musician?
It was my mom; she was the one who encouraged me to pursue my dreams. She always believed in me.
What inspires you when writing music because a lot of your songs revolve around love, have you yourself ever been in love?
I am a firm believer in love, I believe in that Cliché love – love can heal the world. So the music I write is about my experiences, about love found and love lost, love for family, friends, heart ache and everything in between. That is all in my music. Oh, and I have been in love, and when I was it was blissful and amazing, that when it ended I was heartbroken. However, music is very therapeutic in that it helped me get over a lot of things. My love
What can we expect to see from your music wise in the next coming months?
I’m back in the studio now, since Naninina I have experienced life a bit more and I’m ready to express that through music as well. So I’m working on some new material.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I’d love to be travelling all over the continent, world. I’d also love to be mentoring other artists, there are so many talented artists in SA that we haven’t discovered yet
What is your favourite song from Naninina and why?
How can you make me choose, wow. I love my entire album, so I can’t choose one but I can try and give you my best 5 – Naninina, Ndikuthandile, Thandiwe, Impazamo and Memeza.
What is your proudest achievement so far in your career?
Well for the first time in 2017 I won BEST AFRO POP ALBUM for my album Naninina, at the South African Music Awards (SAMAs), and at the South African Afro Music Awards, I walked away with BEST MALE and BEST AFRO Album as well which was a total shock for me. However, I must say one of the proudest moments has been mentoring 047 – this young afro soul group of boys who are incredible. They have grown so much, and they’re actually working on their first studio album. When I say Vusi has to sing at my wedding I mean it with every part of my body,
What advice would you give to all South Africans our there who want to start a career in the music industry?
It’s really not what it seems. Don’t look at the flashy cars and houses and assume that’s exactly how it will be from the get go. If music is really what you want to do, make sure you understand every aspect of the music industry, and you’re also willing to work hard.
Thank you again to Vusi for doing this interview with me! Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!
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