When you talk about female gospel musicians, mostly the buck starts and stops with Rebecca Malope. Yes, we have the Hlengiwes and the Ntokozos of the industry, but when it comes to longevity it is all about Malope. Which is unfair for people like Khanyisa, who has been in the game since 1995. We caught up with her as she released Usithembisile.
“This is my eighth album,” said Khanyisa (pictured).
Known privately as Khanyisa Nkantsu-Sabuka, she is a seasoned artist who started out with the gospel group Youth With Mission.
Feeling she should do her own thing, Khanyisa broke from the group and in 2003 recorded her first album. She enjoyed relative success and kept producing material over the coming years.
This year sees her giving her loyal fans Usithembisile, an album she admits comes from a personal place.
“Usithembisile means ‘promise’. Here I am basically talking about the promises of God to all those who believe in Him,” she said.
“People go through a lot of difficulties and sometimes they don’t know how to deal with them and I am offering them God for all their needs. They may be marital, drug abuse or any vice that might be disrupting a smooth flow of life and all that can be solved in your life if you cast you cares to God. I have done it so I know what I am talking about,” she said.
To further demonstrate her faith, Khanyisa admits that when thinking up album themes she looks into the spiritual realm for inspiration.
“I do not sing about what I want. I have to ask God for direction and this time around the answer was Usithembisile. Looking around my life I saw the various reassurances that God gave me to know that every obstacle I faced would be overcome. And indeed I overcame all of them and I feel it is time for me to share the same process for the same results,” she said.
While the album has only been out for two weeks, Khanyisa is happy with the response she has received so far. She said several tracks off the album were playing on radio and the fans already have favourites which they ask her to sing in her encore segment.
Although she is happy with the sound, Khanyisa hasn’t thought far enough ahead to shoot any videos for the project.
“We don’t have any videos for the songs yet, but the plan is to shoot a DVD later in the year,” she said.
That said, fans should be happy to know that Khanyisa will be embarking on a nationwide tour to promote Usithembisile.
“We are planning to go as far as possible, going to places like Cape Town, Pretoria, East London and so on,” she said.
The success of her album may be imminent, but Khanyisa feels there is a threat that could hinder her success.
“We are losing a lot of revenue due to piracy. There are people who buy one master copy of our music and then they make copies and sell them. This undercuts us and we don’t make money through CD sales. Instead, now we have to rely heavily on live shows which is really unfair,” she said.
• The real copies of Usithembisile are available in legitimate music stores.