Museeq admits putting the debut album together was a learning curve. Picture: Supplied
It’s been a long road for singer and songwriter Museeq IQ. He first gained prominence eight years ago when he was featured on DJ Sndara’s hit song, Lalala.

Since then, he has worked with the likes of DJ Tira and Zakes Bantwini and late last year he released his debut album. The musician said The Music Vault 8.0 is the final version of music he had been working on since 2009.

“When I started working on this album, I was still working as a sales executive and my initial plan was to release it in 2010 or 2011, but then we were hit by a recession and I was retrenched and, even though I was making music everyday, I decided to hold off with the release of the album,” he said.

The 35-year-old from KwaMashu in Durban, whose real name is Siphiwe Khumalo, said he wanted to create a sound that resonated with deep house music lovers.

“Deep house is a very unique genre, one that I really love, so I wanted this album and the sound of it to resonate with people who enjoy the genre. There is a song for every mood It’s also a dance album and I think that dance describes South Africa, we are a dancing nation.

“I really feel like I have outdone myself with every aspect on this album, but of course there is always room for improvement,” he said.

Although he describes it as a dance album, he said that many genres were influential in the final product. “There is an R&B and neo-soul influence. Old-school soul also influenced me a lot because that is what I grew up listening to because my father loved that kind of music. There is also a bit of jazz and samba. The Music Vault 8.0 emcompasses a worldly sound.”

And what does he think he can improve? “Enhancing the sound, the quality of samples and sound loops. I want to improve my music to an international standard and become known for my dance hits. I would also love to work with more artists and I think that is how you improve yourself as well. What I always want to improve on is my songwriting.”

He said that one of his favourite songs on the album is Brand New. “It is my favourite song for a number of reasons, but mainly because it is a song that pays homage to my father. He loves old-school music and I sampled an old-school song and made it a house song with some hip hop influence. Another favourite is Moya, it is sung in isiZulu, the only isiZulu song on the album, and it describes my mother,” said Museeq.

Putting the debut album together was a learning curve.

“This process taught me that it is okay to outgrow relationships and friendships and it is okay to let go of some memories; actually sometimes you have to let go, but allow yourself to do so gracefully. It also made me emotionally aware of things around me and I realised that you have to be spiritually right to release the right kind of music.”

After releasing this album, Museeq also moved to Johannesburg. “Durban is great but I needed to be at the epicentre of where everything happens in music If you want to be a Hollywood actor, you have to go to Hollywood, so it was important for me to make that move and I don’t regret it at all. Now I am focusing on growing my music and performing,” he said.