Musa Sukwene has grown in leaps and bounds since winning Idols SA in 2013. He has recently released his third studio album, titled Musa, a project he feels, in hindsight, he created in order to find himself again.
The album was created during a difficult period for Sukwene. With the death of South African music stalwart Robbie Malinga in December, he had lost a friend, mentor, and adviser, someone who had guided him through the cut-throat music industry, and one of South Africa’s finest producers.
After Malinga’s passing, many wondered what was going to happen to Musa’s career.
“To be honest, Robbie was never my career,” says Sukwene.
“ Robbie and I had a collaboration together and it (the song) blew up so big that a lot of people assumed that Robbie and Musa were one thing.
“Robbie and I were not a group or a band, where if one band member passes on, then the group suffers. We just did a big song together.”
The experience was a wake-up call: Musa said it dawned on him that he needed to find himself as an artist and recreate his sound.
“I’m at the point where I really want to speak to the people, and I want people to understand how I perceive music fully, to understand Musa in his entirety,” he said.
For Musa, Sukwene took creative control, doubling up as singer and producer.
At his launch press conference at Universal Studios in Rosebank, the 'Mthande' hitmaker exuded an air of confidence about his new album.
“I’ve never been so confident about releasing an album in my life I’m super excited,” he said.
“I had to call it me [Musa]. It [the album] showcases so much of what’s in my mind and how I view music.”
The album features music pioneer Ntate Tsepo Tshola on a powerful track called Bophelo. The church-inspired song was written by gospel sensation Dr Tumi.
Sukwene also pays tribute to Hugh Masekela with his rendition of the late trumpeter’s song Tonight, which features Khanyo. Tonight also featured on Masekela’s last album and Sukwene says he is honoured to have done a rendition of the song with singer Khanyo, who also featured on the original track.
In another collaboration, Sukwene paired with Ntsika of the a cappella group The Soil. He reckons the single they produced, Ngivumele, will seriously capture the public’s attention.
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Sukwene also joined forces with three poets: Sbo Da poet, Mam’ Buthelezi and Puno, and together they tackle a variety of subjects including love, South African music and black women.
Asked what his favourite song was, he said: “It has to be 'Thatha Uthando Lwakho'. It’s the creation of the song that I enjoyed the most. I was chilling at home and everyone thought I was going crazy because I kept recording the sound bites on my phone and it just didn’t sound right
“I don’t record music like other people do,” he explained.
“I record voice notes. I don’t write because I’m dyslexic.”
Sukwene describes his new album as “all shades of South African music”.
“It’s a creative pot of pop, mbaqanga, afro-soul and putting it in a box would be very unfair because I drew inspiration from Jabu Khanyile and at some point, I was referencing to Mahotela Queens.
“That’s why it’s hard for me to describe the album in its true form.”
The album is available on all digital platforms and at music stores.