South Ahh, (in the late Supa Mega’s voice) is a honey pot of talent and every new day someone is being discovered.
One of 2023 biggest discoveries has to be 22 year-old singer-songwriter Sykes who has dominated the charts with back-to-back hits.
Things all started when his then unreleased single, ‘Sisekaneni Babies’, went viral on social media, sparking his moment to shine.
Many musicians will admit that sometimes the bold move to Mzansi’s musical Mecca, Johannesburg, can be the trick to successfully launching a career.
@sykes_sa #ekakenichallenge is on🚮. Shout out @King Strouck TradeMark RSA @Exclusive Drumz for the lift 😂 #sisekakenibabies #sykes #zulumichaeljackson 📸: @MVUSE DLAMINI ♬ Sisekakeni Babies (feat. Skillz & RudeBoyz) - Sykes
Sykes himself has struck it lucky, as not long after his bold move, he connected with Grammy Awards winner, Nomcebo Zikode, and signed to her label Emazulwini Productions.
He credits Zikode and her husband Selwyn for having the biggest impact on his career.
“They really believe in me and are my industry parents. They've given me the capacity to base myself in Johannesburg, and they have been more than willing to invest in my career.”
This November, Sykes marked a significant milestone in his career with his inaugural EP, ‘Most Wanted’ - a fitting title because he really has become among the most wanted artists of the year.
“This year has motivated me to dream more and do more!” he proudly exclaimed, noting how he has exceeded his own expectations. “I've been pushing this music thing and it was very difficult at first.”
“But with the team I have joined, I am more grateful about my career position, especially because this was the first time I really gained traction, and achieved multi platinum status, with a number 1 record.”
The Durban-born artist has exhibited his prowess in delivering back-to-back number ones: As one of very few lead vocalists to ever top the charts outside of Amapiano this year.
Sykes currently holds the #1 spot with his massive collaboration, ‘iPlan’, alongside Dlala Thukzin, which has amassed over 1 million YouTube plays in less than 10 days, and has recently been certified double-platinum.
Having a number one song is no small feat; nationally everyone knows your song, young and old are singing your lyrics. No better way than to enter the industry with a bang.
“Going number one with Dlala Thukzin (‘iPlan’) has been the career boost I feel like I needed. Double platinum is an insane accolade to walk away with.”
The young artist has learnt of the power of collaboration - this has probably been the biggest driver of music in SA this year - artists just coming together to make great music.
As an emerging artist who is grasping fame fast, Sykes has had to pick up things on the way, such as personal branding as he continues establishing himself as a professional artist.
“I feel I am adjusting to the mainstream but I am grateful for the development my label is providing for me.”
Sykes is not the only one dealing with various changes in his life, so is his family who have had to understand that the music demands a lot of his time.
With his schedule getting busier by the day, getting back to a friend's text or call takes longer than usual. “I'm honestly trying to balance both and continue to hope they understand.”
Sykes is an artist that everyone should have their eyes on in 2024, with an EP out showcasing his versatility and what he has to offer, the playing field is all his.
“I look forward to continuing the progress in 2024, and I'm also looking into doing some collaborations to get my name out there.
“All in all, I'm doing everything I can to get the Sykes brand to the top, and I feel more confident because I have an amazing team, and an amazing mentor (Nomcebo Zikode), who is keen to see me thrive.
“I want to be a household name someday, so it's onwards and upwards for me from here.”