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When Kabomo Vilakazi (pictured) first came on to the music scene with a neo-soul album a few years back, it was unclear if he would succeed in winning the hearts of the fans. Music gurus will tell you that South Africans are finicky about what they listen to.
Of late it seems house music is the biggest seller next to gospel music and with Mafikizolo reviving Afro-soul, perhaps that’s the only alternative. The last mentioned on anyone’s list is neo-soul.
Let’s break down neo-soul. You know how deep poets express themselves with a lot of cryptic writing? Add a mellow sound to that and you have neo-soul.
It is still soul but not as shallow as the “you remind me of my Jeep” type.
It has its roots in the US and yet it is very niche there so it was a gamble for Mr Vilakazi to go with this choice of music. But it paid off because now he is a constant feature at local award ceremonies and is sought after for performances.
However, this is just one of the hats that Vilakazi wears – he is also an excellent producer, songwriter and actor.
He recently started acting on Zabalaza, where he shares screen time with veterans such as Baby Cele and Seputla Sebogodi.
What is of interest is that Vilakazi is known as a cool dude in music and poetry circles. He has a lot of swagger and commands respect because of his humility.
This is in sharp contrast to who he is on the Lokshin Soap. He plays Jazzman, an accountant who works under Sebogodi’s character. The two have a master-slave relationship and Vilakazi deserves an award for his portrayal of the meek Jazzman.
He is another case study which proves that some musicians have more to give in the entertainment industry than just music. Justin Timberlake is a good example of a successful crossover.
After enjoying a solo music career the man knocked on Hollywood’s doors and to date he has done a lot of good films, from Shrek to The Social Network.
LL Cool J is another good example. The rapper-turned-actor had a music career that helped shape what hip hop is today.
He makes the list of the best rappers of all time, and yet his love of acting still saw him get out and work on projects like Deep Blue Sea, Any Given Sunday and currently NCIS: Los Angeles. The good thing is that these two men can actually act so it is pleasant to see them outside the music studio.
However, not everyone who makes that move gets the nod from the public. Take Dr Dre and Snoop (whatever his name is today) – they are phenomenal rappers but when it comes to their acting gigs you just wish they had been extras without lines.
They have a tendency to bring their real personalities into every role, defeating the purpose of acting.
So while Vilakazi released his sophomore album Memory Remains last week, he keeps proving he is more than a singer on Zabalaza.
lCatch Kabomo Vilakazi’s performances on Zabalaza, Mondays to Thursdays at 9pm on Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu (DStv channels 161 and 163 respectively).