Swaziland's Sands is riding the waves of a successful debut album.

It has taken Sandziso Matsebula less than a year to become a gold selling artist, headline some of the biggest events on the music calendar and become one of his country’s biggest exports. Born and raised in Swaziland, Sands, as he is known, both professionally and personally, never expected to leave the borders of his landlocked country. His debut album, Sands of Time, has officially reached gold status, he recently headlined the Bushfire Festival and his first single off his album, Tigi, has gone on to top a number of charts in South Africa.

“It’s safe to say that I did not expect this kind of reception to my music, especially from South Africa. I am not sure how other artists feel but Sands of Time is my debut album, so there were mixed emotions. A part of me was nervous and scared and another part of me was very excited. However I feel that when you perfect your craft, there is a level of expectation, in my case it was a dream that I had put at the back of my mind but when so many countries embraced this album, it did shock me,” he said.

Sands, who is a Public Relations graduate from Limkokwing University, a private Malaysian institute in Swaziland, said that music was something he always wanted to get into. “I did not have any person that inspired me, I just always loved music and although I went on to study PR, I knew that I would find myself making music one day,” Sands said.

He describes his debut album as a body of work that everyone can relate to. “The thing about this album is that there is a story for everyone and everyone can find their own story on this album. I was heavily involved in the production of this album, co-producing it myself. I wanted a clean sound, I didn’t want it to sound commercial. All I wanted to do was to tell a story and the only way I could do that was by pouring my soul out,” he said.

Sands sings in Siswati and English, and although he admits the market for music sung in Siswati is small, he was very adamant on staying true to himself. “I was very adamant that I would be myself and that means singing in a language that is not just my mother tongue, but a language that I am comfortable in. I know that for many people it is not normal to hear a Siswati song on their radio but for me music is so universal, it does not matter what language you make music in, it’s all about how you feel when that song comes on,” he said.

The rising star said that his fans should expect more one many shows while he continues with his tour of South Africa. “I am really enjoying touring South Africa and singing to crowds here. When I first started a few months ago I was always sharing a stage with other musicians or supporting them, now I am looking forward to doing my own shows and introducing my fans to my other songs,” he said.