It’s a warm, sun-kissed afternoon and Anatii is chilling on the pool lounger in his backyard. He’s just returned from gym.
Looking very relaxed now that he’s done his calorie-burning penance for the day, he’s ready to chat about what’s keeping him busy these days.
“I’m just on this journey,” he says, by way of explaining his toned-down physique.
“It’s never like a once-off thing in terms of weight loss. It’s just holistic, healthy living. I’ve been in the gym, probably since the Artiifact Tour (September/October 2016). But before that I had just been eating healthy, so it’s just been a journey, bro.”
But the conscious decision to lead a healthy lifestyle started before that when he decided that he didn’t want his weight issues to trigger greater health problems.
“My late father had diabetes but he passed away from cancer. I also don’t wanna get that. I watched this documentary (about) five years ago called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and I think that also changed my life.
“Seeing the impact of what eating meat and all of that stuff has on your body and seeing this guy go on a plant-based diet and those effects of having that diet, my skin changed, I lost weight and all sorts of things.”
It’s taken a lot of discipline for Anatii to transform his body, mind, spirit and soul over the years. And that journey has manifested in his music.
Last year, he released a joint project with rapper AKA titled Be Careful What You Wish For.
The album is laced with strong spiritual references, an overall direction which was reflected in the titles of several songs on the project: Don’t Forget To Pray, Jesus Plug, 10 Fingers and Holy Mountain.
The quest for enlightenment is important to Anatii. One of his goals in his artistic development has been to use his music as a tool to share information and new ideas.
His single, Thixo Onofefe, Xhosa for “Almighty God of Grace”, is the latest expression of Anatii’s spiritual journey. His aim, he explains, is to slowly introduce new ideas in small doses to make it more palatable for his audience.
The Thixo Onofefe video, which came out three weeks ago, does just that.
“When people watch it, I want (them) to feel scared, confused and sort of question certain things not to question (our) belief systems, but what we face in this reality. It’s about overcoming obstacles.
“If you’ve watched the visual enough times you’ll realise that the kid in there goes around getting ingredients to make a medicine that will bring me back to consciousness because I’ve been going crazy and lost my way. And that’s what I’m telling God, ‘I’ve been doing all of these things but I don’t really know what the meaning of it is or why I’ve done these things, but all I know is that prayer will save.’
“So it’s about the power of prayer.”
Anatii directed this video himself.
Looking ahead, his aim is to expand into the visual space and, in the near future, work on full-length films. Although he’s mum on whether this is the lead single for the album, he says that, sonically, his album will have that Thixo Onefefe feel.
Outside, the gentle sound of falling water from a nearby fountain serenades us.
“If there’s no water I start going crazy,” he smirks. “In my room I have scents. So here I could be listening to the water, but in my room it’s different scents. I have this black tea spray, incense, oils. I just really enjoy exploring my senses. All of my senses have to be heightened, that’s my everyday experience.”
Anatii recently secured a long-term partnership with Courvoisier, a move that he hopes will help expand his brand.
“I’ve placed my energy in aligning myself with excellence. Their message is all about excellence and pushing the fact that I could be a Lumineer and that I’m an enlightened individual. That’s where the fit was.”
He’s been working on his eagerly anticipated album, Electronic Bushmen, for a while now. He wanted it to have the right sonic cohesion to ensure the energy feels right. And it does. More importantly, he feels ready now. And so are we!