There's a reason why we haven't heard from the soulful Max-Hoba in a while.
“I've been touring mostly and trying to establish my name and brand in other parts of the world. I think I deliberately stayed away from the creative side and focused more on the business side, so when I release again at least I have laid a foundation for where I am taking the stuff.”
Max-Hoba, whose real name is Maxhoba Maponya, invited The Star to a rehearsal session for his upcoming performance at The Orbit in Braamfontein next Wednesday.
“They wanted a theme and I decided on 'Masithethe - Conversations In Music'. I was speaking to a friend about how people nowadays don’t have real conversations and I wanted to put it out there.
"Let’s talk, people in the music and entertainment industry, about how we partly live a life that we can't afford, the impressionable life we try to create, the pressures of the industry.”
Max-Hoba said he wanted to highlight, through these conversations, that it's important to have people to talk to to find relief from those pressures.
“I figured I have songs within my albums that talk about those issues. Through my music I think we can find things that people will see we all go through. Like not getting gigs or enough airplay. It’s good to know there are people out there you can ask for help.”
He said it was high time artists started expanding and not only referring to the business of music but actually making an effort to understand what is going on.
“The more I get into these spaces, the more I’m realising and learning why I failed at certain things.”
The show at The Orbit will be a celebration of his music. He hasn’t done a live performance since August and it will be his first time at the home of jazz music.
“This is the way I am starting the year with work - because no one is going to give you a gig until you put yourself out there.
"Unfortunately, in the music industry, there is no retainer. You are not guaranteed your spot. You always need to come up.”
The singer, whose collaborations with HHP - including Harambe and Tshwara - have become anthems for lovers of Motswako and local hip hop, released a single titled Asambeni recently.
“I’ve been touring and I think right now I’m still just doing singles, doing whatever I feel like sharing.”
His travels to Europe since 2015 have seen him perform music from his albums Travelling Man and Making History.
“I've been going to a lot of conferences and performances between May and August. I embark on this journey of trying to get my brand name out there - being available and in the face of booking agents. I've started working with guys in Ghana and Kenya so this year I'm mostly trying to see if I can have as much footprint as I can on the continent and building my company.”
Through HobaCity, he creates projects that revolve around music including theatre pieces for corporates and works in production.
Max-Hoba is part of the team that made the music selection for Mzansi Magic’s popular prison drama Lockdown.
He’s excited to interact with a home audience.
“(In Europe) people are interested in the music. They will try to understand what it is you are bringing and if you move them they will dance. Here at home you can feel the audience feeling the music. There are little gimmicks you can only do here at home.”
He said another important issue that needed to be discussed was that the South African audience is not exposed to as much music as it should be.
“There's not enough airplay. There are so many artists out there but people only know a few. We could create more streaming channels instead of relying on corporations only."
At The Orbit he will be performing alongside Groove Queen Tebogo “Aus Tebza” Sedumedi on bass, Tshepo Monareng on keys, Ntokozo Mdluli on drums, Thokozani Nsibande on percussion and Lebo Moalusi on vocals.
“Come experience authentic South African music. It'll be an informative event that'll keep everyone in the groove.”