South African musician Thandiswa Mazwai , also fondly known as “King Tha”, needs very little introduction. She arrived intoon the music scene in 1998 as part of the band named Bongo Maffin, one of the pioneering bands of kwaito music. Her stage presence and lyric poems captured the hearts of many, making her one of our country’s most recognised songstresses.
Venturing out on her own to pursue a solo music career, she gave us her first project, titled “Zabalaza, in 2004, an iconic and classic album that I still enjoy even today.
I speak to her ahead of her performance at THE Glenlivet JazzTown tomorrow at the Vodacom Durban July. The horse racing and lifestyle event held at the Greyville Rracecourse attracts serious punters, entertainers and celebrities from around South Africa.
Hello Thandiswa, so where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day? It’s 9am so I’m sitting in my studio meditating on new ideas. Every morning from around 3am I start getting restless and agitated by them, but they only manage to kick me out of bed at 6am. I’m also working on a book, so my days are mostly filled with thinking, singing, writing and other fun things if I’m lucky!
How is 2018 going for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? I’m most excited about a festival I’m putting up with an all womean audience, band/bands leaders, vendors and sub-contractors. It's an independent project and I’m passionate about making it happen come this or that. Viva women’s liberation, right? Right!
Has music always been a big part of your life? What was Can you recall your first ever musical experience? Music has always been a part of all our lives. All that lives makes a sound. Even silence has a murmur. If you ask me to recall my first musical experience, I would have to say, it must have been the rhythmic sound of my mother’s heart as I nestled in her womb – my first address.
You have produced some of the most memorable songs over the years such as Nizalwa Ngobani and Ngilinde, what’s your favourite piece of music that you have produced so far and why? And do you follow a formula when you write songs? My favourite song is a song on the album Ibokwe, called Funk Africa/ Vana Vevhu. I love the drive in the song it. I also love that I managed to translate some of the verses to include other African languages – more specifically, Yoruba and Shona. I don’t really have a formula, but I do find that if I start with the groove then melody follows quite easily.
We are looking forward to your performance at the THE Glenlivet JazzTown Marquee at the Durban July, what can we look forward to? Whatever you want you’ll get, but also whatever you give you will get.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? It’s best I don’t prescribe that to them. Let them take what they want.
Last words? I am cotton candy with a lion’s heart. I melt in the rain and roar in the jungle. You can poke me, but careful not to get to that heart.
Erm… what else? I’m very naughty and that’s why I chose this silly profession, so I would never have to grow up.
* All inclusive tickets to THE Glenlivet JazzTown marquee are available at R4 500 per person. Tickets can be booked online at Computicket. www. online.computicket. com