Manzini: 2020 has truly gotten off to a great start!
The emergence of local artists signals what could possibly signal a great year ahead in the music industry. When we think of a young artist today, we tend to imagine the same regurgitated style of an artist from years past. However, what we see from the artists today in the Eswatini music scene is a progressive step, breaking the mould and trends of musical style and creating their own.
Uniquely talented, this duo, with their lifelong passion for music matched with a mutual fascination is energetic, stylish and brings modern twist that Afro-soul music has been yearning for, for long.
These newcomers to the music scene have definitely made their mark already which, being less than 25 years-old, has made a statement for their drive and their passions. Rising stars Khethokuhle Sibandze and Melusi Mndzebele who sit at the subtle, delicate end of the Afro-pop spectrum have fused their vocal magic to give Eswatini and beyond a sound never heard before!
The duo perfectly complements each other. They embody a special kind of chemistry, a subtle yin-yang of two halves creating a whole. It is this musical chemistry or synergy if you like that, which enables them to create a melodic, harmonic and creative singularity that is easy on the ear. It’s no wonder that they gel so well. This pairing came about unorthodoxly. The MTN Spotlight competition is credited for being the meeting ground for this artistic conglomeration. Sibandze recalls that she met Mndzebele during the competition, they clicked and the duo was formed. “We joined the spotlight competition and made it to top 10. The duo was easy to form because we got along very well during the competition and we became good friends,” they say.
They take us back to their childhood, where it all really began. Sibandze disclosed that she was raised by her father and brother, and she was surprisingly a shy person at primary with a low self-esteem and that unfortunately, she was always picked on by the other kids. She notes that she become combative herself from those experience but that her aggressive side subsided in High School. The 23-year-old Sibandze, a second year in Bachelor of Arts and Humanities student, joined a youth choir in 2012 but her turning point was after high school when she joined the church choir and began to take music seriously.
Melusi, also 23-years-old, tells of a slightly different story.
His story marred with pain, struggle and determination is inspiring. He was raised by a single parent, his mother who passed away in 2010. He recounts that after the death of his mother, he lived alone and discontinued his studies because no one could help pay for this education which forced him to find ways to look after himself. At some point, his aunt came through for him and helped whenever she could. It was not all doom and gloom for him because he cherishes memories of growing up singing at church with his mother. “That’s when I discovered my singing talent. My mum was my best friend and till to this day, I miss her,” she further says.
He notes that it was when his mother passed away that he somewhat ‘buried’ his dream of signing because music held too many painful memories.
“She was my main supporter, my motivator. Joining the spotlight competition was not a conscious decision, a friend of mine suggested that I join. But I ended up wanting to prove to myself that I can do this since my only support was my mum. No one else believed in me besides her,” he reveals. He is appreciative for the platform presented by Spotlight. “Because of Spotlight I have gained support from my friends and other people that believe in my craft,” he adds.
Right now, he is pretty upbeat about the future and is looking forward to the journey ahead as he believes it will enable him to grow. Their journey in music started officially during the Spotlight competition and they are currently working on their songs as well as rebranding themselves. Overall, they hope to achieve recognition internationally and collaborate with other musicians.
They may be young but they have really raised the bar for the quality of music. With these risings stars, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to say that the future of music is in great hands; we can expect new music, new sounds and even new boundaries broken by these musicians.
Keep an eye out for their first single that will be dropping soon.