The article in the New York Times named the musician, actor and author as one of 10 artists to watch in 2019.
Nakhane is due to release the deluxe version of his album, You Will Not Die, in the US next month.
“When I saw the list I was surprised. I was really excited. It seems a good way to start the year,” he said.
His music has evolved over his career, something Nakhane attributes to a greater confidence in himself.
“That’s from allowing myself to learn from other people. ‘There’s strength in vulnerability’ is sometimes a true aphorism,” he said.
The artist now lives in London. He previously called Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg home but said he was “very adaptable” and took to living in England with ease.
“For reasons that have been explained to me by my therapist, I am able to detach myself from spaces with no difficulty. When I left South Africa things were quite fraught for me, so it made the process somewhat easier.
“I’m happy where I can be the best artist that can be.”
Over the past year he’s toured extensively in Europe and the US while also visiting Australia and is expecting more of the same for the year ahead, only on a grander scale.
As for a performance on South African soil, Nakhane could not say when or if it would be possible.
“I’ve really enjoyed being on the road. I’m at my happiest when I’m not idling my days away. I’m even happier when my only job is to play music and the audiences have been incredible.
“I’ve already started work on my next album. As one project is out there, I normally want to do something else immediately. So I started putting certain times aside, leaving London and going to write.
“Literature has also been loud in my ear; so we will see what comes out of that,” he said.
Nakhane released his debut novel Piggy Boy’s Blues in 2015 and the book was included as part of the 2017 course The Contemporary African Novel by Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
According to Nakhane, the book covers issues around the spiritual lives of black people and normalises gay sex by using “the plainest language possible”.
“In the past year I’ve written some short stories and essays. One has been published,” he said.