Vicky Sampson and Mahlatze Vokal open up about collaborating on ‘You Are the Light’

Mahlatze Vokal and Vicky Sampson. Picture: Supplied

Mahlatze Vokal and Vicky Sampson. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 4, 2024


Legendary South African artist Vicky Sampson has joined forces with Afro-urban soul artist Mahlatze Vokal to release an inspiring new single, “You are the Light”.

The powerful track was released on May 29.

The artists chose to release it on Voting Day because they wanted to make a difference.

They wanted to remind citizens that even though they’re voting to give certain political parties power, that same power is “within us”.

Mahlatze Vokal and Vicky Sampson. Picture: Supplied

The multi-award-winning Sampson said it all began when she met Vokal at an event hosted by The Marofi Group last year.

“I instantaneously felt this connection. We spoke about doing this collaboration and about two months later, the group arranged studio time for us to work on this song.

“We collaborated on the lyrics but Mahlatze started with the opening line and I filled in,” said the “African Dream” hitmaker.

The song’s inspiration came from what both artists wanted to say at this important time in their lives and as the country celebrates 30 years of democracy.

“This nation needs help, we need hope, and we took it from there. From my perspective, the process was a very spiritually driven engagement.

“God was in this from the beginning. We know that this song is going to do what it was intended to do which was straight from God’s heart to our nation, its leaders, our people on the ground, to say: ‘You are the light, be the light’,” said Sampson.

Vokal added: “These days, everything is all about groove, young people getting into parties, but we wanted to go back to basics and write a meaningful song, that when someone listens, they will be touched and their spirits lifted.”

This was Sampson’s first collaboration with a fellow South African artist.

“It was the first time I sat with another local artist and worked on a song from scratch. This is the first time Mahlatze and I have both experienced this. That was the exciting thing for us,” Sampson said.

Vokal said it was this was the first time he had collaborated with a music legend like Sampson.

“It was a proper life-changing moment, it was a beautiful experience.

“She comes from Cape Town and I come from Limpopo. Who would have imagined that two people from two ends of the country could meet and create such a powerful song?” he said.

During their interaction on the song, both artists got to learn a lot from each other.

Mahlatze Vokal and Vicky Sampson. Picture: Supplied

Vokal said he grew up watching Sampson on TV and never imagined that one day, he would have the opportunity to work with her.

He expected Sampson to be a “mini-Beyoncé” but, upon meeting her, he was blown away.

“It humbled me even more. If such a legend can be so humble to fly down to Limpopo to record the song, then who am I? Vicky is lasting in the industry for decades and this is something I want to be able to do.

“She looks at people as human beings, she doesn’t see herself as a star. She’s inspired me to continue to write good music that will be relevant in years to come, said Vokal.

Sampson said that while it is wonderful to be acknowledged as a legend, she had always had a vested interest in the good of the country and its people.

“When I met Mahlatze, I saw in him what I have in me. That was an added attraction for me to collaborate with him.

“I know what my foundation is and so does he, so it made life so much easier to work not only with a younger creative person but someone who is kind of on your level in so many ways. I am proud of that,” Sampson said.

The two proudly South African artists are not stopping at just one collaboration. They said that they had two or three more songs to come and were also working on a “special project” to help unify the music industry.

“We are definitely going to work on more collaborations between the two of us and with other local artists who are willing to get on board.

“We really want to try and bring unity to the industry. We’re looking at bringing several artists together in one studio to work on one song that marks 30 years of democracy.

“We even looking at getting young artists on board… That will be the beginning of unity in our country, so that the rest of the world can start seeing that we are a united continent, that is, Africa,” Vokal added.