Big Zulu walks journey to stardom on his own
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When a snakelet is born, it is quickly left on its own to hunt for food and grow.
Unlike a hatchling that is fed and nurtured by its mother in a cozy nest, a snakelet is not fed or taught how to hunt but is left to its devices in the wild with hopes of survival in the end.
Just like a snakelet’s journey of life, singer/songwriter Big Zulu mirrors his entry and journey into the industry thus far just as that of a baby snake, having to fend for himself and build his career to where it is now without any “industry mother or father”.
It is this story, and more, that Big Zulu tells in his latest 20-track album dubbed Ichwane Lenyoka that dropped this past Friday.
“I had no company backing me up nor was I plugged in by anyone to show me the ways to navigate this tricky and sometimes very painful industry.
“Everything was dependant on me, on whether I make the necessary moves, whether I’d open my own record label Nkabi Record or not, and whether I would make a successful career,” he said.
The album is a tribute to the strides that he has made in the industry, documenting those very experiences of growth while also reflecting on various general life experiences told through the art of music.
“The first song Ichwane Lenyoka explained everything about this fascinating life cycle of a baby snake.
It talks about life in the homelands, townships, things that a black person experiences.
The 35 year old Bergville-born star explains that he is never out to produce a hit but always about telling stories, he is more focused on targeting the heart and hoping that his music will encourage introspection within the listener.
The album took ten months to complete and although it was set to be released earlier, due to his busy schedule with shooting his acting scenes on Uzalo, he had to delay it up until now,” said Big Zulu, real name Siyabonga Nene.
“Even with the 20-tracks that have made it onto the album, we still have a lot more songs that are recorded because of the amount of work we put and I'm really proud of the work we have accomplished.
With his life story of being self-made, he believes his journey is a perfect lesson for upcoming generations and artists.
“It takes a lot of belief in yourself to make in this industry.
“Patience, love, hard work, and confidence are the ingredients that have placed me where I am today.
“When you believe in yourself, it won't be easy to sway you away from your dream - which tends to be the trend in this industry.
"My story proves that anything can happen. You don't need to sign for big companies to be a brand, to be associated with certain people.
“You are enough to make your dream come true," said the Mali Eningi hit-maker.
Known also for his brand that is rooted deeply in his isiZulu culture, Big Zulu said it only made sense for him to express himself in a language that he deeply connects with.
“Music transcends all languages.
“My music is proof of this as it is played in all parts of South Africa and that is all I have ever wanted to achieve, that my message must transcend me and reach the masses.
“And to see more artists like Makhadzi staying true to their cultures is the most beautiful tribute to being African.
“Being um’Zulu is all I have.
“It is all that I am and that is something that can never be taken away from me.
“I don’t know English that much but I know my mother tongue deep in my soul, so why not rather express my story using it.
“My music will be felt, regardless of my story being told in isiZulu,” he said.