SHE’s a mother of five children and many others look up to her at the early childhood development centre she runs.
And when it comes to making vibey music for the younger generation, Noxolo Gwyneth Makhanya, aka Gwyn, 30, of Inanda is also getting much attention.
Two of Gwyn’s tracks featured prominently recently on ECR’s Top 40 list, with the remixed version of Radio shooting to number one on the countdown.
The delighted singer said, “I was really humbled by the experience and watching this hit grow. Listening to my song on the radio, I can’t believe this is happening to me!”
“There's no better time like the present to be a female South African singer,” said Gwyn, in the context of Radio’s success and another local artist, Tyla, winning a Grammy award last Sunday.
Amidst the wave of attention Radio has brought including collaboration offers, Gwyn has hopes of a mash-up with Tyla, who landed the “Best African Music Performance” Grammy for Water in Los Angeles, on Sunday.
“I’m super excited about Tyla’s achievement.
“My team will approach her management for us to collaborate musically,” said Gwyn, who is contracted to local record label, Black City Records.
Radio’s star rating has taken her by surprise.
“I didn’t expect this song would reach number one. I thought the compilation (Cheers to me) I did with Eggsta (Eden Michelle and Kyle Deutsch Aewon Wolf) had number one potential.
“But bang, out of the blue, the remixed version of Radio went all the way.”
Gwyn said Eggsta did “an amazing job” with the remix that was launched late last year, after its original release in 2022.
“This is my first time having songs on the hit parade, it’s something I have been waiting for all my life.”
She plans to be back in the recording studio with a band this week to work on a few new songs, “The hunger to make more hit music motivates me.”
Gwyn is keen on doing a duet with Nontokozo Mkhize who is also faring well locally.
“We both attended KwaMashu Christian Centre.
“That's where I realised I could sing and joined the church choir as a youth. The pastor of the church would get me to lead songs; it was my main singing platform.”
She felt the need to further immerse herself in music and successfully pursued diploma studies at the Musical College Campus of the Performing Arts.
“I achieved that even though my dad was against the idea,”.
In her last year of study (2016), Gwyn was approached by the owner of a fine dining restaurant to wait on tables and sing.
“I used to catch people by surprise. After taking their orders, I would return all dressed up, serving their food and singing.”
More opportunities came while doing backing vocals for local musicians.
“While doing a duet with Glo Mapenzi, BCR directors Shooks Dorasamy and Yogan Naidoo saw me perform for the first time.
“Shooks told me immediately he wanted me to be a part of their team.
“That big break came in 2019, but not long after, Covid-19 struck,” said Gwyn, who has performed in Germany previously.
Naidoo wrote Radio and asked her to sing it, and it made ECR’s Top 20 initially.
“During a record company meeting we decided on a remix of the song. That’s when I met Eggsta. We first did Cheers to Me, before the remix.”
She said the original version of Radio appealed more to an elderly audience. To reach the younger generation, they decided to jazz it up with “the right vibes”.
“It’s great when a plan comes together.”
Gwyn said in spite of her new-found fame, she still remains a “proudly Inanda gal”.
“The fame will grow on me, but I remain the same. When people see me walking around with a doek in the neighbourhood, I warn them not to share posts of me on social media,” she teased.
She’s grateful to her “support structure”, her husband and in-laws for backing all her endeavours.
“My husband (Lungani Tshabalala) is always by my side motivating and encouraging me.”
Her children, three from Tshabalala’s previous relationship, become awestruck when they hear her on the radio, she said .
Kyle Deustch said Gwyn was a “breath of fresh” in the local industry and it was a pleasure to have worked with her.
“It's always great to see people you've worked with before succeeding.
Commenting on Tyla’s success, Deutsch said: “Eyes have been on SA music for a few years now but I feel this will draw extra attention to our live performers. I'm excited to see how many acts, both male and female, can cross borders.”