Newcomer Msaki is in with a chance for an award and looks forward to collaborating with other artists.
Johannesburg - In exactly two weeks, music lovers all over South Africa will be glued to their TV screens to watch the MTN South African Music Awards (Samas) which recognise musical talent across all genres.

The Samas return to Bokone Bophirima (North West) this year.

Among the exciting categories is the much contested newcomer of the year award.

First-time nominee Asanda Mvana, popularly known as Msaki, is thrilled about her prospects.

“I feel really encouraged. In fact I’m getting more and more excited as time goes on because by nature I’m not really a competitive person.”

Mvana has been nominated in the best adult contemporary cate- gory for her Zanelisa - How The Water Moves offering, and she has made clear her intention to walk away with the accolade.

She rose to fame when she set dance floors alight with her collaborations with DJs Mobi Dixon and Revolution.

This nomination, she feels, is a nod that she is getting her sound right.

“It’s important for me to get some kind of encouragement for my own sound, which is what this is. I think it’s got nothing to do with other people, and I’m getting encouragement because of how I am naturally.

Sketchy Bongo says the Samas offer exciting recognition and a career opportunity.

“It’s also nice just to know that I’m on to something. The natural process of sharing my music the way I do it has resonated with someone, that’s enough for me,” says the mother of two.

Asked what she wants people to get out of her music, her response is “nothing. I can’t create with that sort of end in mind. I can’t write like that, saying I want people to feel like this.

“The idea that people are going to be open to it and even engage with it emotionally and spiritually, that’s already a big idea and I don’t take it for granted.”

The Five-fold singer says her musical journey this year is all about stepping out of her comfort zone, especially when it comes to working with people. “I would really love to do more collaborations.

“I’m so excited to combine with other artists, putting myself out there and seeing what the end product is.”

Another debut entry, Sketchy Bongo, has made waves since he burst on to the scene with hit songs like Let You Know, featuring Shekhinah.

The Durban-based artist is equally excited and proud to have made such strides in his career.

“It’s great to be nominated,” says the 26-year-old.

“The Samas are iconic and historical and therefore it’s great to be even mentioned as part of these awards. I think after putting out quite a few big tracks over the past two years it was a blessing to be finally recognised and I’m happy that it came with a few nominations.”

Sketchy, whose real name is Yuvir Pillay, feels his music has grown over the years due to his being diverse. And this nomination has the potential to further grow his career, he says.

“Being nominated for a Sama is very prestigious and promoters view it as that, so hopefully it will help put up my booking price,” he says.

“My music is also influenced by so many different genres and artists. So it’s just a melting pot of different sounds that create something unique.”

Sketchy Bongo will be the opening act for international superstar Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour today at the FNB Stadium and in Cape Town on May 17. The MTN awards will take place on May 27, and will celebrate 31 categories, including the prestige song of the year award.

Rap wunderkind Nasty C leads the pack with six nominations. His Bad Hair Extensions album has earned him nods for best newcomer, best male artist, best album and best rap album.

His videos Don’t Do It and Good Girls are in the running for best music video of the year.

The lifetime achievement award this year will go to three of South Africa’s musical legends, Rebecca Malope, Don Laka and Babsy Mlangeni.

The Sunday Independent