Khanyisa Jaceni. Picture: Instagram
Khanyisa Jaceni. Picture: Instagram

TikTok star Khanyisa Jaceni is ready to take amapiano by storm

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published Nov 20, 2021

Share this article:

TikTok influencer and rising amapiano singer Khanyisa Jaceni is making all the right moves to make a smooth transition from social media star to a full-blown recording artist.

With a whopping 1.3 million followers and more than 25 million views on TikTok, Khanyisa is part of a small group of verified creators on the video-sharing platform.

We sat down with her to chat about her rise to being TikTok famous, her venture in the music industry and her thoughts about amapiano.

Khanyisa went viral for her videos for covering songs and giving it some church flare.

Speaking about the inspiration for them, she said: “I started when I wanted to like make my content blow up. I was like, okay, how are we going to go about making content?

“How are we going to be different? Because one thing you don't want to do is do what everyone else is doing.

“So I was like, okay, let me see the approach and where I'll go with it. And that's where the inspiration came from. I was like, let me make covers, but in isiXhosa.

“I then decided, okay, let me make even my whole channel about it ... I later realised that okay, maybe not as often, but it really was a thing of ’this is cute’. I love this. And let me do it.

Khanyisa Jaceni celebrating 1 million followers on TikTok. Picture: Instagram

Expanding on why she thinks these videos were such a hit with her followers, she continued: “I really think, more than anything, I am very relatable ... But, honestly, I love being realistic, I love being real with people, and that's how I connect with my audience. It's being real. It's being trustworthy.

“I believe you gain people's trust for your honesty and who you are. And one thing that made me blow up on TikTok was actually being myself.

“I tried to sing. I tried the dancing. I tried the lip-syncing and all of that, and it didn't quite work out. But immediately, when I became myself, that's when things started happening.”

@khanyisa_jaceni #BOTTOMLINE ♬ original sound - Khanyisa_Jaceni

Khanyisa recently appeared on an episode of “Who Got Chewed” with satirical comedian Lesego Tlhabi aka Coconut Kelz.

Speaking about the experience, she said: “Oh, it was so amazing. Everyone was just so kind, even Lesego herself. She's just such a sweetheart. Love, love, love her work and the character.

“She just knows how to play her (Coconut Kelz) so well. I got so inspired and such an opportunity to working with such a big brand was really a big deal for me, and I really took that experience and flew with it.”

While she amassed a huge following, recently the TikToker has started to venture into music and, more specifically, started making inroads in the amapiano space.

Last month, Khanyisa dropped her first single “Bheka Mina Ngedwa”, after being featured on “Ungangi Bambi” with Mr JazziQ.

Speaking about the whole experience of getting Lady Du on the track, she said: “Lady Du is honestly such a powerhouse and I love how she stands up for us girls, especially in such a male-dominated industry.

“So she actually has got more experience than us. I feel like she has such a connection with every female amapiano artist. And that's one thing that kind of made it easier for me to get her on this track because she was like: ’I'm all for it’.

“I really just want you to get exposure and get influence from my voice as well, so I wouldn't mind doing that. It was just so nice when working with her.”

Along with some other TikTok creators –Thozi, Sphokuhle.N, and PD JOKES – she recently released “Sisonke”, in association with the social media app and Def Jam Recordings Africa.

Speaking about the experience, she said: “I felt really blessed, first of all. It's such a big opportunity to actually work with such a big brand. I mean, TikTok on its own is a big brand.

“Def Jam on its own is a big brand. This is really a great opportunity and I cannot wait to just flourish and do the most with it, you know? And I really hope that it opens even more doors.

Before amapiano took over the world, gqom was initially set to be the South African genre to make a global impact.

On why she thinks amapiano has been able to go where gqom hasn’t, she said: “I feel like amapiano is such a universal sound that you can literally add anything on it and it would be a smash. Amapiano works perfectly with jazz. You can add elements of kwaito or you can add elements of hip hop in it.

“The reason why it's such a dominant challenge is because of how predominantly you could do virtually anything on it, and it can just sound amazing, you know, especially me as a girl, I love singing on songs and I want to sing.

“You can have your keys, your guitar, literally anything on an amapiano track, and it will be amazing. So that just makes it even more global. And honestly, really, I'm also for the hashtag amapiano in the world.

With the festive season but a stone’s throw away, Khanyisa shared that her fans can expect a lot of things in the coming months.

“I'm working on an EP right now and it's going to be titled Soft. Just to show a softer side of amapiano and the more feminine, sexy, soulful side of amapiano.

“And that's how we're choosing to express ourselves and how I'm choosing to express myself. One thing I've always wanted to do is sing on my amapiano song, so that's exactly what I'm doing, and I'm loving every minute of it.

“My EP is coming out soon, the date will be confirmed ASAP, and I really think people are going to enjoy it. They're going to love what I'm bringing to them,” she said.

Share this article: