Ramelo releases her debut single 'Heyi Wena'

By Liam Karabo Joyce Time of article published Mar 23, 2021

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After making a name for herself as a celebrated singer, songwriter, actor and performer, Ramelo released her debut single “Heyi Wena”.

The 34-year-old musician who hails from Durban, but has lived in Joburg for the past 10 years, is no stranger to the music industry having worked under the previous stage name of Lelo Ramasimong.

Despite having made a top name for herself as a talented singer and actor on the local theatre scene, Ramelo rose to notoriety when she appeared in the third season of the reality TV singing competition “The Voice SA” in 2019 – as one of the Top 12 finalists.

According to Ramelo, the main inspiration for her single was that 2020 was “a year of many harsh realisations”.

“As an artist, I felt like no one really cared about the way Covid-19 affected our careers and how we all lost our main and in some instances only source of income.

“As a woman, I felt like the fight against GBV wasn’t being fought consciously by the majority and seemed to be a passing phase coming and going according to the wave of tragic incidents reported on the news.

However, I saw artists (myself included) reach out of their comfort zones to find different ways to survive and keep themselves afloat.

“Heyi Wena” is saying: “Hey you! In spite of the injustices of life, we conquer still, we’re ready and “fired up” for whatever life brings,” she said.

The singer has been writing songs for the past 14 years, but the journey to becoming a recording artist began eight years ago for Ramelo.

“The song is also about my personal journey of finally coming to a place of complete gratitude for every obstacle that has been placed before me and through God’s grace moving forward anyway.

“I tried releasing before but things just didn’t fall into place then the way they have now, it feels like I’ve been preparing for this very moment all these years” she said.

For “Heyi Wena”, Ramelo worked with producer, Praize, who has a developing studio in Durban with Ramelo’s younger brother, Lazarus, where they create beats – including the one for her soulful single.

“The beat to this single was one the two had in their archives, Praize didn’t think much of the beat until my husband Mike noticed and opted to co-produce the song – which has resulted in the phenomenal beat it now is,” she said.

For Ramelo, the song is an ode to Mahlathini and Mahotella Queens as she sings a well-known melody of theirs at the beginning and end of the song.

“This addition is, in a way, a tribute to them as the Mbaqanga legends that they are.

“With this song, I tried to create a new sound while acknowledging how their music has also influenced me throughout my life.”

Describing her sounds as “Soul R&B, with everything on top”, Ramelo said she has a number of musical projects in the works for 2021.

“I love experimenting with musical genres so I’ll be doing dance tracks, EDM, hhouse and deep house, hip hop/R&B, afropop songs too, with a touch of R&B and mbaqanga elements.

“Being a Zulu woman, married to a Sotho man, living in a world where English seems to be the communication language of choice, I have many influences and so I’d like my music to represent the amalgamation of those influences in my life.”

“Heyi Wena” is available on all major digital music platforms.

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