Johannesburg - Multi-award-winning artist Kelly Khumalo is “tired of being underestimated” as an individual and a musician.
“I’ve been underestimated by the media, society as well in my personal relationships. Somehow I cannot be seen for how powerful and highly gifted I am,” Khumalo told the Saturday Star.
The 34-year-old makes no secret of her frustrations in her latest single Undithatha Kancinci, which was released on Friday.
The song, inspired by Khumalo’s experiences, features seasoned jazz pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, award-winning singer Msaki and producer Batundi.
“The song is about a woman who has had enough of being underestimated by society and her romantic relationships,” said Khumalo. “I’m at a point where I have had enough and I’m ready to take my rightful place.”
She rose to stardom in 2005, when she released her debut album, TKO.
It was followed by a string of other album projects which included Itshitshi, Simply Kelly, The Past, The Present, The Future, My Truth, and Back To My Roots.
But drama has overshadowed her music career.
Singer Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye, who is the father of her first child, was jailed for culpable homicide after being involved in a drag-racing accident that claimed the lives of four school children in Soweto in 2010.
In October 2014 her married soccer star boyfriend, Senzo Meyiwa, was killed at the house of Khumalo’s mother in Vosloorus during an alleged robbery. No one has been brought to book.
Khumalo has had to fend off cyberbullying and accusations from angry fans over the past few years. “How people see me is a reflection of how they see themselves,” she said.
“Every human being under the sun has had challenges in life. The only difference about me is that I’m in the public eye. And I thank God for keeping me sane.”
She is now hoping her latest single will earn her the respect she feels she deserves in the music industry.
“I’m done playing now,” said Khumalo. “This is a statement to claim my crown and remind myself and the world of how gifted and great I am.
“I have learnt that you should never compromise who you are and the power that you possess as an individual and I hope that my new song will show that about myself as a musician.”
It took around seven months to complete the song. “I wrote the song together with Msaki. The process started in April - workshopping, the direction to take, what I wanted to talk about as well who would be the right producers for the song.”
The Katlehong-born singer said it had been a delight working with the talented trio.
“It was a breath of fresh air and also highly empowering. It’s not every day where one gets to be surrounded by such gifted people.”
In the song, Khumalo touches on the challenges she has faced in her life, particularly her relationships.
“One of the issues in my relationships was that I had to change or suppress who I am to fit into the idea of a relationship or marriage . It was one of the biggest challenges, without a doubt.”
Meanwhile, BET has confirmed that KB Motsilanyane has replaced Khumalo as the lead in the upcoming Lebo Mathosa biopic.
The 7de Laan star has already started filming for Dream: Lebo Mathosa Story. It is still not clear why Khumalo pulled out.