Amanda Black’s career has gone through ups and downs since she first crept into South Africa’s heart on Idols SA in 2015.
After the release of her first single Amazulu, the following year, the singer was in high demand and released her album, also titled Amazulu, the same year. The album went platinum, scored two Metro FM awards and three South African Music Awards.
It seemed nothing could stop Black from reaching for the stars. But behind the scenes, all was not well. In June last year, Black left her record label Ambitiouz Entertainment and revealed in a Metro FM interview she went home to the Eastern Cape to gain clarity. She preferred not to go into any details, saying she’d rather not look back.
While she has signed a new deal with Sony Entertainment, there are some legal issues she’s sorting out with her previous record label.
And she’s has further plans “I’ve decided to start my own label because every artist needs to have ownership of their music.”
This year, Black rose like a phoenix from the ashes when she released Thandwa Ndim, from her new album Power, in January.
She says the song’s about a woman in an abusive relationship.
“(People say victims must walk away) but it’s not that simple and I’m getting to understand that more.”
Recently Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha made headlines after a video of Mampintsha physically assaulting the Wololo star surfaced.
Speaking about the incident, Black says, “People wanted proof. And there was proof, but people still didn’t believe her. Society is broken. It’s sad that we’ll side with an abuser instead of the victim.”
The singer is hard at work on her second album. Talking about the upcoming project, she says Thandwa Ndim is an indication of what is to come, and the main themes are self-love and empowerment.
With the aim of the second album being to empower and heal people through her music, the name, Power, is apt.
It has been several years since Black graced the Idols SA stage as a contestant, and during season 14 she and fellow alumni Shekhinah’s songs were performed by the finalists.
“It’s insane, I remember when I first heard contestants auditioning with Amazulu and I cried the goal was to become bigger than a contestant from a singing competition and that’s what happened.”
Late last year, Anthony Hamilton revealed that he worked on a song with Black and the singer was tight-lipped about the collaboration, saying only that “it’s coming”.
The Buyela Kum singer along with rapper Nasty C are heading to the Essence Festival in New Orleans later this year.
Commenting on the opportunity to take her music to US audiences, she says South Africans too often think small - artists sing and rap in a Nguni language and therefore think their music won’t have international appeal.
“What is lacking with many local artists is confidence in their craft.”
But not so for Black - she wants to take over Africa and then the world.
“So for me, I’m going. And the Essence Festival is only the beginning.”