Amapiano sensation Zee Nxumalo on taking her career to new heights

Amapiano sensation Zee Nxumalo. Picture: Instagram.

Amapiano sensation Zee Nxumalo. Picture: Instagram.

Published Jun 12, 2024


Zee Nxumalo might be a relative newcomer in the local music scene but the 21-year-old singer and songwriter has already been making major moves.

Since the amapiano sensation, whose real name is Zandile Nxumalo, burst onto the scene in 2022 as a fresh-faced 19-year-old back in 2022 when she released her debut EP, “KwaNxumalo”, her music has gone viral on social media and it has also been blasted in clubs and at parties across the country.

Her smash hit “Thula Mabota”, featuring Pabi Cooper, garnered over five million streams in just two months and its corresponding dance challenge took on a life of its own on TikTok.

The Eswatini-born and Joburg-raised musician’s dynamic energy, powerhouse vocals and electrifying performances has garnered her legions of fans.

Apart from Cooper, her star status has also earned her collaboration with some of the biggest artists in the country.

This is evident in her 2023 debut album, which boasts an impressive line-up of featured artists such as Kabza De Small, TBO, 031Choppa, Shakes & Les, Mashudu and Josiah De Disciple.

The budding artist has also worked with industry heavyweights Azana and Mlindo, the vocalist for her first mainstream single, “Pholile”, which was released last year.

Amapiano sensation Zee Nxumalo. Picture: Instagram.

The track’s success earned her hit features with industry veteran Zulu Mkhathini and newcomer Bandros’ “Shay’moto” and “Nguwe.”

But it wasn't until the release of “Funk55”, which featured DBN Gogo and Shakes & Les, that her status solidified as a cultural phenomenon.

The amapiano track was one of the biggest songs of last year’s festive season and just a month after its release in late November, “Funk55” was streamed over three million times across various platforms.

The vibrant track also went five-times platinum and became one the songs of summer 2023.

After a whirlwind two years, Nxumalo has admitted that she is still adjusting to life in the spotlight.

“I see all the changes happening around me, but I don’t think it’s really quite sunk in yet,” she shared with “Independent Media Lifestyle”.

“I am grateful for all the good things but I see myself in no different light than I did before ‘Funk 55’.”

While she credits her hard work for her success, Nxumalo also believed that consistency has been one of the keys to her growth as an artist.

“As an artist, I’ve always found myself re-inventing myself, trying out different things at different points, but I’ve always remained consistent about what I was doing at the time,” she said.

“What sets me apart I would say is being great at what I do, paired with being true to who I am.”

The songstress is also proud of her contributions to amapiano, the musical genre which has taken the nation as well as the world by storm.

“We are fortunate the world is always excited about the ‘next thing’ and amapiano was able to offer that to the world, as something new and different.”

“Beyond that, it was a quality offering. Hence I think it has done so well and if you add to that the vocals of a young talent, Zee Nxumalo, I don’t see how you could miss,” she joked.

She is also thrilled to have worked with some of Mzansi’s biggest artists and while it is difficult to pick her favourite collaboration, she said that they have all played a vital role in her career.

“I am grateful for each collaboration as it has been a building block and it’s difficult to single out a favourite.”

DBN Gogo was extremely exciting for me, but if Zulu Mkhathini had not taken a shot with me on “Shayimoto”, would “Funk 55” have happened?”

With so many accolades under her belt so early in her career, Nxumalo also has a tough time picking out her career highlights so far.

“Going five-times platinum recently was a huge moment for me, however getting to be on stages in and out the country and seeing how my music is received by the masses is extremely moving.”

And with her career still in its infancy, she has big dreams for her future.

“I want to become a symbol of South Africa on global stages and I hope the name Zee Nxumalo gets to live on long after I have left, almost similar to how we still hear and speak of the late Brenda Fassie today, but amplified,” she admitted.