Yanga Madlala, aka Yaya, is a medical doctor who always "had every intention of making music", even in medical school. Picture: Supplied
A few hours before calling Yanga Madlala, I drank a cappuccino that made me nauseous and slightly light-headed. At least, that’s what I thought.

However, during my conversation with the young musician, he assured me that the nausea could not have been caused by anything I consumed that day.

Why should I trust him, you might ask? Well, this up-and-coming musician is also a medical doctor. Known by his stage name, Yanga Yaya (which he is changing to just Yaya), he first made an appearance on Shekinah’s Please Mr. music video before being featured on Muzi’s hit single, Desire.

Born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape to a Xhosa mother and Zulu father, Yaya was always a shy child.

“I grew up with my parents and brother. When I was seven years old, we moved to Bloemfontein and then to Durban.

“I was an obedient boy. My brother was my only friend and I was very sheltered as a child, because I was sickly and my parents were super protective,” he said.

Although he was shy, he was artistic and was introduced to song and dance at a young age.

“My mother would buy concert DVDs of artists like Celine Dion, Janet Jackson and her brother Michael, and I would sit and watch these huge stars performing on stage and dancing and just having a good time, and I loved that.

“My mom always made me dance. She would even push me to dance at church,” Yaya said.

His interest in medicine started when his family moved to Durban and his brother was hospitalised for a few days.

“We visited my brother every day and my parents would meet with his paediatrician and he would give me a sweet every time.

“He was very friendly, a very cool man, actually, and I liked him.

“I started speaking to him about his job and decided that I also wanted to be a doctor,” he said.

It also helped that he had a keen interest in science and enjoyed biology at school.

He was later accepted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and now works as an independent practitioner at a Cape Town NGO.

On his musical journey, Yaya said he started the groundwork in medical school. “Even though I was busy with medical school, I always knew I wanted to and had every intention of making music.

“It just so happened that Muzi was also in medical school, but dropped out to pursue music; we always played around with music before he moved to Germany and when he returned he asked me to get involved in Desire.”

He described Desire as a new-age soul dance song.

“I love the minimalism of this song, even the lyrics. It is influenced by a lot of different elements and you can hear that when you listen to it. I really enjoyed writing this song,” he said.