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FaraiToday Interview Exclusive! TKZee’s first U.S.A interview since release of their HOT new album “COMING HOME”



Hotness!!!

TKZee 9

TKZee – Africa’s biggest boy group [really they went from boys to men]

One of the most highly anticipated come-backs in history of music! Did we miss us some TKZee or what?!?!

TKZee 16

TKZee!

So when I first heard about the news of TKZee actually getting back & making another “monster” of a hit album, I was super-duper excited! TKZee is undoubtedly one of the Africa’s super successful groups with an unprecedented fan following, breaking records in CD sales [sold over 700 000 records in a period of 4 years], winning multiple awards and this year, MTV Base voted them the ‘Most Legendary Kwaito Group,’ ….Quite naturally I wanted FaraiToday to be part of their “second coming”…

So my peeps in South Africa, PR guru & marketing golden-boy, Gugu Nyandeni of Qadash Entertainment made the interview happen in like a matter of minutes…

TKZee 1a

TKZee’s Kabelo, Zwai & Tokollo relaxing during our interview at Moyo’s Restaurant in Zoo Lake

So since we did the interview, TKZee fans were hounding me with “when you gonna publish their interview’…Well guys & dolls, allow me to re-introduce to you,the gentlemen of TKZee


FaraiToday
: First of all, I am, your fans are, the world is super geeked and very excited about your come-back! I mean this is history in the making!!!!

TKZee (Zwai Bala): Thank you! It definitely feels good to be back…

FaraiToday: But why the come-back now after all these years? Why the TKZee reunion now?

TKZee (Tokollo aka Magesh): This is a calling first and foremost. Second, the TKZee reunion was inevitable because of our fans out there. Everywhere we went, people would ask ‘when is TKZee going back to studio?” As with anything, timing is everything and because we were all individually in a place where we had time in our hands, we wanted to do a nice, clean and proper come back! So it was only fitting to come back with a new album called “COMING HOME”.

TKZee (Kabelo aka Bouga Luv): “COMING HOME” is about us coming back together as a group, coming back to the music, connecting again with our fans!

TKZee 6

Tokollo, Kabelo & Zwai on the music video set for “S’DUDLA”

FaraiToday: Yeah, so “S’DUDLA” is the first single  of your new album, “COMING HOME”. Personally, I think it is banging!! Why did you choose that particular track as your come-back first single? What inspired the song?

TKZee (Kabelo): We were working in studio and the track was originally done by Zwai & Guffy [Godfrey Pilane producer for multi-award winning Afro-pop group Malaika], it was a nice up tempo track, very up-beat. So when I came up with the “S’DUDLA” lyrics, I imagined somebody “big” getting down on the dance floor and having a really good time! I wanted to capture that in the song and I think we did. So yeah, that’s how the song came about.

* Side-bar – S’DUDLA is Zulu for “fat” or “chubby” & I love that this is not a negative thing back home but actually celebrated! Of course you gotta take care of your health…it goes without sayin’

FaraiToday: So Kabelo you worked on the song yourself then?

TKZee (Kabelo): No, it’s a collective and collaborative effort with us guys.  We all worked on the song but I guess you can say that I inspired the concept for “S’DUDLA”.

Kabelo Mabalane 2

Kabelo Mabalane aka Bouga Luv

As Kabelo so nicely says in the “S’DUDLA” video, “Yes, yo beloved, allow us to re-introduce ourselves. We go by the name TKZee. Relentlessly being chased by this cheese! With a fresh anointing from Above. You can’t do me nothing bruv! Never, ever, whenever, where-ever!”

Yup, TKZee in full effect & they are back with that swagga baby! Love it! Check out their very latest music video for S’DUDLA!

This was shot in SOWETO, South Africa…

FaraiToday: Your new album, “COMING HOME“. One word, blazing! I see the usual suspects, the old production team, Guffy, Zwai. Was this a conscious decision on your part to stick to what has worked so well for you guys?

TKZee (Zwai Bala): Well, not the entire album. It was a mixture this time around. We worked on the album ourselves and developed the songs. Terry Pinana [producer for South African singer, KB] was there all the way. Unlike “Trinity”, our last album, for some songs we actually moved away from our formula. It was a definitely a conscious decision to work with different producers because we wanted to try out new things, new sounds, new beats you know. However, on the first single, “S’DUDLA”  we went back to the basics, we went back to our original formula. We did this with this song and some other songs because we know what works for TKZee. Other songs on the album we changed them around quite a number of times, that’s why it took us a long time to actually release this album. The end result, we were happy! For sure our fans are going to be happy with it too!

FaraiToday: (via Facebook): So how different is your latest album, “COMING HOME” from your other hit albums?

TKZee (via Facebook): Literally Zwai is singing more and we have more live elements on the album.The production standard has improved in leaps and bounds although the sound is distinctly TKZee.

* We wanted to see if TKZee stay connected to their fan-base and for sure, despite a brief technical glitch, they were fielding and answering questions from their fans via their TKZee FaceBook fan page…

Zwai Bala 1

Zwai Bala

FaraiToday: I am sure you guys know that as far as music is concerned, what is emerging are more edgier, more funkier artists that are unafraid to push the envelope and they have tons of energy. How do you think this will impact you guys getting back into the music scene seeing the industry has probably changed since you guys left? Do you guys think that you still have that “TKZee” factor?

TKZee (Zwai Bala): [laughing] Well, this may sound arrogant but primarily we are back by popular demand. I mean it got to a point where people kept asking us “please come back, we dying for good music”. Our reunion is a response to that demand. Please don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of young cats who are making good music out there. No doubt! The problem is that most of them nowadays are just moving with the trend of popular music.But when you do that, you run the risk of not producing the “good music” people are “dying” for.

TKZee (Tokollo): I definitely agree with Zwai. I mean, I think it’s cool to have up and coming young cats in the music game. That healthy competition, no doubt. Gives good variety for fans and for listeners. But like you said, we definitely have the brand, the “TKZee” factor. Meaning, we are just doing what we are good at. TKZee is TKZee and they are just them and that’s what it is.

Tokollo Tshabalala-a

Tokollo Tshabalala aka Magesh

TKZee (Kabelo): Look, we were also young at one stage doing our music thing. But back then, we didn’t have our business in check. To have longevity in the music game, your business has to be in order. It’s really not about being young and talented, because for us it’s like, “been there, done that”! I think that we now realize and understand that we are in the music business. Music business. The business of music. I believe it’s ten percent music and ninety percent business. So our approach now is to focus on the ninety percent which is the business. That’s our take right now. The “TKZee” factor or brand takes care of the ten percent. Our fans know that they will always get great music from TKZee.

FaraiToday: True! True! As with any group, there are always ego’s, pride and crazy dynamics and you guys are certainly not immune to that. Has the TKZee reunion been a smooth one or has been drama, like mad drama??

TKZee
(Zwai Bala): [laughing] Eish you know we’ve know each other for a really long time!  And we’ve been together for a long time. We went through a lot of the ego tripping, drama, you name it, we did it, in the beginning. But now we are grown men. It’s about being able to differentiate between the group vision and the individual vision. We all know we’ve got our own strengths and we’ve done the solo thing to prove our individual worth. So with the reunion, we know that when we come together, we are a unit.

TKZee (Kabelo): To think that any successful group is without squabbles or tension is unrealistic. Like any marriage or good relationship you will have those challenging and difficult times, right? Those trying times enable growth and maturity.

TKZee (Tokollo) [laughing] This is so true! Apparently they say that’s healthy only if you allow those challenging and difficult times to make you a better person. We’ve been together for a long time, since high school as a matter of fact. You see the three of us here together, interviewing with you…that should say something about the reunion, right?

FaraiToday: Touche! Ok, it has been a while since we last saw TKZee together as a group. So what have you been up to during your hiatus from TKZee? I will start with Tokollo.

TKZee (Tokollo): I’ve been coming up with my solo projects and I’ve started my own record label called S.O.S.A.- Soweto South Africa. I’ve signed my own artists on it and we are doing shows throughout the country! So even though I took a break from the group, I remained connected to the music. We all, in our individual ways remained true to our calling and maintained that connection to music, one way or the other!

FaraiToday: Kabelo, when I think of you, I think of American rapper-turned-pastor, Mase. Like Mase, you converted to Christianity, gave your life to Jesus Christ and you became serious with your walk with Christ! How has that impacted to your music because you are still considered a secular artist and how has that changed you as a person?

TKZee (Kabelo): Wow! Mase, huh? Well, I’ve also been doing my solo projects and released several solo albums. Like you said, I did take and I still do take my walk with God seriously. I went to the Bible school for personal reasons but I really wanted to get grounded in the Word. I started getting involved in sports, ran a couple of Comrade Marathons [the world’s oldest and largest marathon which is run over a distance of approximately 55.9 miles!]…

I’m in the process of starting Kabelo Mabalane’s Sports Foundation to kinda instill the culture of physical activity in our youth. Get to them while they are young and teach them the importance of healthy living and the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle. I’m also in a process of embodying the spirit of what an entertainer is and be involved in all aspects of the entertainment industry. I am taking acting as my next challenge. So I will be going back to school to study acting so that I can act in movies.

FaraiToday: Rock on Bouga Luv, movie star! Zwai, you are now hubby & daddy! Marriage and fatherhood, how has that been for you?

TKZee (Zwai): Marriage is a very good thing! Obviously for me, I had been been ready for it and now settled into it. However, I have to mention that personally I don’t believe any male under the age of 30 should be getting married…

FaraiToday: Okay…and why do you say that?

TKZee (Zwai): I believe that a man over 30 has probably experienced all that needs to be experienced, lived life, traveled and done his growing up.  After 30, it is time to settle down! I’ve just found out that when I turned 30, I was content with myself. I had achieved all that I had wanted to achieve and what I haven’t achieved, I realized that I still was okay. Before 30, I still needed to find myself, discover who I really was and define myself as a man. Now after 30, I’m a happy man. I married beautiful woman with a great personality and we’ve got a beautiful baby boy. Life is good!

TKZee 5a

Zwai, son Sean [too cute] & wife Melanie Bala – Heart my African couples!

FaraiToday: Sweet! Ok, back to the business of music, the deal between you and MTN [major South Africa-based cell phone service provider] is pretty lucrative, multi-million Rand deal. How did it come about?

TKZee (Kabelo): Oh yeah, the MTN deal kinda emphasizes what I was talking about earlier on in terms of focusing on the business aspect of the music industry. What we’ve done as TKZee right now is to put together a team of people to help manage, enhance and broaden our brand. We’ve got a good management team and we also have a PR company to help us with our brand. So our management took the initiative of approaching MTN about a possible collaboration. Basically our management team sold the idea that TKZee is a brand that most companies would want to be affiliated with. Because we are already established in this market, we took advantage of that and turned into win-win situation with them. MTN loved the idea! There are so many things involved with the deal which I cannot divulge at this point.

FaraiToday: Congratulations! That’s what’s up!  Magesh, you wanted to add to that…

TKZee (Tokollo): Yeah, like Kabelo said, it was nice for MTN to partner up with us and choose our track, it was a track initially dedicated to Dr. Mageu [former TKZee and Brother of Peace (B.O.P) member, we had all our TKZee Family members on it as a tribute to our fallen soldier, Dr. Mageu. May his soul rest in peace.

FaraiToday: For sure. Ok, let me get this right, you recorded the track first and MTN chose it? You didn’t do the track specifically for them?

TKZee (Kabelo): No. They chose the track and we were pleased with their pick.

FaraiToday: TKZee is very popular throughout Africa. Your new album “COMING HOME” — do you have any plans of taking it to the rest of your African fan-base, in Africa and overseas?

TKZee (Zwai Bala): Yeah, indeed we do have plans. We’ve created a world class album that can appeal to anybody, any race and any culture. It was our intention to take it internationally. We realized that to broaden our reach and our appeal, we need to grow beyond the borders. We’ve got different songs on the album, kwaito, gospel, pop, soul to appeal to our diverse fanbase! It would be cool to work with other artists in Africa and in other parts of the world.

FaraiToday: You know, a TKZee collabo would be bananas! Anything you guys wanna say to your fans world-wide?

TKZee (Tokollo): Yeah! We want our fans to know what we love and appreciate them! Over the years, we have been blessed to perform throughout Africa and overseas. And just to add on to what Zwai said earlier, we would love to collaborate with other artists, especially FROI other parts of Africa. We kicked it with 2Face Idibia at the Channel O Awards. It definitely something we want to explore!

TKZee (Kabelo): Thanks again, to our fans! For the support, the love, for standing with us all these years! “COMING HOME” is definitely for you!!

FaraiToday: Thank you so much guys. Welcome back! Much success with your new album, “COMING HOME”…

TKZee Album Cover-a

“COMING HOME” album cover

* ps…Christmas is around the corner [and so is Thanksgiving in the U.S] and summer is about to jump off in Africa – y’all know what to do! [smile]

Toodles!

Photo: TKZee, Real Magazine, Gugu Nyandeni of Qadash Entertainment

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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  • Venicia

    How great! These guys have really been an inspiration to many people in Mzansi. I am loving Farai Today, and this article makes them glow more. Nice pictures and all the best Tkzee! welcome back and all the best.

  • Venicia

    Ke runa* Farai Today (We’re the best) !!!

    {Zulu language*}

  • http://faraitoday.com farai

    Hi Venicia,

    Thanks for the love & support doll!! Yes, we are proud of TKZee! They certainly rep Africa lovely!!!

    Cheers,
    Farai

  • Zoroasta

    there u have it folks, e-TKZee is gonna knock u out!!!!!

  • http://faraitoday.com farai

    Hey Zoroasta,

    Yeah, we do hear that TKZee’s “Coming Home” is a street banger of an album!

    Cheers,
    Farai

  • http://www.faraitoday.com schumiz

    ayoba

  • http://faraitoday.com farai

    Ayoba indeed! LOL!

    Cheers,
    Farai

  • CHAUCCER

    What was shot in Soweto South Africa?

  • http://faraitoday.com farai

    Hola Chauccer,

    The music video for S’Dludla was shot in SOWETO…

    Gracias amigo!
    Farai

  • http://www.gucci7.moonfruit.com Gucci!

    Much love to TKZee! They really need to tour the UK, America and Canada (not just Toronto please!)
    There’s lots of us out here overseas that really miss our music and our artists and would most def come out to support them!