Toya to reveal her music industry struggles in book

Close-up of Delazy, in yellow shades and a colourful hat, resting her chin in her hands.

TOYA Delazy is writing a tell-all book that will focus on her life and music career. | Facebook

Published Dec 31, 2023


Durban — London-based singer, producer, pianist and performer from KwaZulu-Natal, Toya Delazy, has been making waves internationally.

The electronic music artist and “Mother of Afrorave” recently won the Best Newcomer award at the Production Music Awards 2023.

“I feel tremendously encouraged. It’s been an eight-year journey and to this point I’m glad I held out and pursued my vision,” she said, adding that she is feeling more motivated than ever.

But it hasn’t been an easy journey for the artist, whose real name is Latoya Buthelezi – the granddaughter of the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Working as an independent artist (meaning she is not signed with a music label company), Buthelezi said it took a while before she cemented her name on the international stage in the UK.

“I expected to make it in six months, and eight months turned to eight years, and during those years, I wondered if it would be possible to rebuild my career to where it was before in South Africa,” she said.

Buthelezi, who has been vocal about her struggles, recently took to social media to share her condolences and comment on the death of musician Bulelwa “Zahara” Mkutukana.

Zahara died from what is understood to be as a result of a liver-related illness, after being hospitalised last month. The singer from the Eastern Cape captured the hearts of many South Africans with her melodic voice and self-taught guitar-playing skills when she burst onto the music scene in the year 2011, releasing her debut album Loliwe.

Her memorial service was held at the Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg and her funeral was held at home in the Eastern Cape last week.

Buthelezi said the industry had suffered a devastating blow in losing Zahara.

“We came up at the same time in South Africa, in 2011. She was incredibly talented and a national treasure.”

In a lengthy post on her social media platform, Buthelezi likened Zahara’s music deal to hers, and said that getting through the South African music industry was one of the biggest learning curves of her life.

“The music industry needs organisations that stand for artist’s rights and the regulation of recording companies. We all need to come together and discuss a sustainable way that creates longevity and prioritises a healthy environment that does not exploit artists,” said Buthelezi.

Talking about her own experience, she said, “From fighting depression, using alcohol to cope, to eventually finding deep healing while fighting rejection, and people saying I fell off, mocking me, and the numbers – I regret nothing.

“Everything that’s happened has taught me so much and I feel very lucky that I found another part of the world to appreciate my talent.”

She encouraged fans to support independent artists, adding that artists’ decisions to go independent were not indicative of a loss of talent, but of wanting to get out of deals that were no longer sustainable for them.

Buthelezi is now working on a tell-all book called What Happened to Toya Delazy?

“I’m still early on the journey, but it will be about my life journey so far, including experiences growing in the South African industry, and my journey of making a family and finding solace as an international artist,” she said.

Sunday Tribune