So this is part of our on-going series of exclusive interviews with “who’s who“of the African glitterati! Folks that are shaping our world & making things happen….
Today I am super excited to share with you our interview with South African singing sensation, Zahara (real name: Bulelwa Mkutukana)!
2011 has been an exceptional year for the singer!
She emerged from no-where it seems and took over radio & television in South Africa! Her debut album Loliwe, which came out at the end of August, sold over 200,000 in the first month alone; she won big at the 2011 Feathers Awards and MetroFM Awards….
We caught up with the Afro-soul artist during her tour in South Africa….
Here are some highlights from our convo with Zahara:
FaraiToday.com: Zahara is a perfect perfect name for you because you are a blooming flower! Your life journey and story is amazing, itâ€™s one of faith, courage and persistence. When did you start singing and how did it all begin for you Zahara?
Zahara: I started when I was a child. I come from a Christian family, a musical family, also a very humble humble family. My father was a […] and my mother a domestic worker. When I was six I was singing for the choir, and at 10 years I was leading the choir. When I was 13/14years old, my father told me that I had to come to church and lead the worship team………. After Matric, my parents could not raise enough money for me to continue with school, but I started writing songs, just to inspire people just to know that my songs can change someoneâ€™s life….. One time a friend of mine called me and told me about a music lounge in East London that gave slots for poetry so I went and sang my songs with my guitar and there were big recording companies from Johannesburg that would come and thatâ€™s how I was discovered.
FaraiToday.com: What was your inspiration and motivation to keep going despite the delays and setbacks?
Zahara: Never let go of your dream and your vision, no matter what. I know that this is what I love. Even if I did not get a record deal, I know I was doing what I love doing, and it happened with the prayers of my mother and my family.
FaraiToday.com: When it comes to music, because you are a song writer and a singer, how does music come to you? Particularly when I think about Loliwe which is such a beautiful song. How does music come to you Zahara?
Zahara: I have a book full of songs. I am inspired by the world, Africa as a whole and African culture. Sometimes I just pick up my guitar and when I hear that melody, songs just come to mind; itâ€™s just me my guitar and God.
FaraiToday.com: The fascinating thing about you is you are so young, you are in your early twenties, and already they are saying that you are the answer to the late great Mama Miriam Makeba, and also they are comparing you to Tracy Chapman. How does that feel to be compared to such legends, such icons at such a young age and you have just released your first album?
Zahara:Â When they first told me that, I was like wow those are icons and these are people that people look up to. Those are people that inspire the whole world. To me itâ€™s an honour and a blessing to be even mentioned on one line with them, itâ€™s so humbling.
FaraiToday.com: All those great musicians, what do you take from them as you start your musical journey? Like what have you learnt from them and what do you think you can use?
Zahara: When I was growing up my parents loved Miriam Makeba so I always listened to her and I always wanted to be like her when I grew up, to be the way she was. She didnâ€™t stand for herself only, everything she did she spoke about people and what people were going through and trying to encourage everybody. So I took her humanity, she really inspired me a lot.
FaraiToday.com: What is your message to your fans?
Zahara: you will get your dream one day. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but you never know. Do what you love and I promise you, you will get your dream one day.
PRESS PLAY For Full Interview:
S/O to the FaraiToday team for putting the interview together, DJ Manny & Lungile! Thanks to my brother, DJ Sbu for making this interview happen….
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