Kelvin Momo on his new album: ‘My main goal on this new project is to produce a more mature sound’

Kelvin Momo. Picture: Instagram

Kelvin Momo. Picture: Instagram

Published Dec 11, 2022


Kelvin Momo is arguably the most revered amapiano artist around.

While he doesn’t have the same level of fame and popularity that a few of the other more flamboyant amapiano stars have, he’s well respected among amapiano fans for his musicality and how seriously he takes his music.

His last album, “Ivy League” came out almost exactly a year ago today. In the year since, the album has been streamed millions of times, earned platinum status and seen him become one of the most sought-after performers around.

Momo has certainly done well for himself - on Spotify this year he amassed 11.3 million streams and on Apple Music 29.3 million plays.

He has set the decks alight at some of the biggest music festivals such as Rocking the Daisies, the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival and the HollywoodBets Durban July where he played at Heineken Boomtown.

Now, a year later, the “Funa” hitmaker has released his eagerly anticipated fourth studio album, “Amukelani”. The album’s name means ‘receive’ and it stems from how his fans have been anticipating the album for a while.

It can be interpreted as his fans receiving the blessings they have been waiting for.

Such has been the hype and anticipation around this album that immediately on release, “Kelvin Momo” shot right up to the top of the South Africa Twitter trends list.

Given the success of Ivy League, when I spoke to him earlier in the week, I asked him how much pressure he feels to deliver this time around.

“I wouldn’t say I feel pressure, but in terms of delivering, I ensure that I do better than I did on my previous project,” he said.

“My main goal on this new project is to produce a more mature sound with an African feel and versatile vocals.”

A big part of Momo’s appeal is the jazzy and melodious vibe of his music. Many have also described his music as a spiritual experience.

“Amukelani” sticks to Momo’s classic private school piano sound, but has a heavy jazz presence, with the saxophone even heard on some of the tracks.

He enlisted the talent of instrumentalists and producers such as Jay Sax, Sipho Magudulela and Loxion Deep.

“I firstly like to hear what the artist I’m collaborating with wants to incorporate my sound with, in terms of instruments, before I even start with creating the beat,” he said, describing his process when making music and if he feels the spirituality when he’s working on it.

For this project he collaborated with various artists - upcoming and established vocalists - from S.O.N, Mas Musiq, Tyla, Zwayetovn Yumbs and MaWhoo. His go-to collaborator, his girlfriend Babalwa M is also featured on the album.

“When we have both established what type of sound and story we like to put out there, the process of song making begins and when ideas are shared the beat starts, and I connect with the artist. It’s easy for the message we are trying to put across to be articulated well.”

“I grew up listening to jazz so most of my music is created around that inspiration, that’s how I maintain my sound.”

Reflecting on the year, he considers seeing “Ivy League” going platinum as a highlight, before adding, “You can expect more great music from “Amukelani.”

In November, he simply shared an image with the date 09/12 signalling the album was near, amping excitement amongst fans.

Beyond social media posts, Momo has not done any hectic marketing campaigns for the album, but his fans have wasted no time in appreciating his newest offering.

As songwriter and vocalist Lady Du put it in her Tweet, Momo dropped without a challenge on TikTok: "this one’s music is real music ke super power 🙏".

“Amukelani” is three hours and 29 minutes long, consisting of 26 tracks, and fans have been streaming it without any skips since it dropped onto platforms.

@dracosrevenge tweeted: “enough time has passed, this is the greatest run of all time, kelvin momo has zero skips — zero misses”.

The reviews online indicate that Momo just has released yet another private school piano classic, with one Twitter user recommending that President Cyril Ramaphosa give it a listen.

@LilithaTau tweeted: “Please don’t rush while listening to Kelvin Momo’s new album, take it in. We dealing with special music here”.

@kay_mahapa tweeted: “You may be a criminal but you also deserve nice things. Play Amukelani by Kelvin Momo, enjoy bra yaka @CyrilRamaphosa”.

@Lepasazakhele said: “Kelvin Momo and Babalwa combo is pure witchcraft. Music can’t be this good!”

@sissgugu tweeted: “I’m going to cry when I hear the first “ting” on Kelvin Momo’s new album. 😭 We’re about to enter a school of jazz and soul house - I am so happy.”

@KG_MOTEX tweeted: “Kelvin Momo didn't even give us a chance to pick a favorite track 😭🔥💚😭😭💚😩he's making us very indecisive 🔥😭.”