The best song in Mzansi according to the South African Music Awards 22 emanated from the hip hop genre.
This is news since just over 3 years ago the genre had very little to write home about. In recent times though, the South African hip hop industry has grown in leaps and bounds, dominating award shows and popular culture, it comes as no surprise that each and every move a celebrity makes trends for days or worse ends up in a t-shirt.
A record label that can pride itself in having a hand in pushing the genre to new height is Ambitiouz Entertainment. The record label is known for unearthing Mzansi’s hip hop gems of late and they did not miss with this one. Latest discovery dubbed A-REECE in the streets, came out guns blazing soon after signing on the dotted line with a track featuring the record label’s marquee signing Emtee. We caught up with the wordsmith to find out all about his come-up and plans for the remainder of this year.
QuenchSA: Do the comparisons between you and other artists seem justified having just dished out one single?
QuenchSA: You’ve been quoted as saying that you don’t do trap music. Please describe your sound?
QuenchSA: Besides yourself, rank the best emcees in South Africa.
QuenchSA: With different measurements used to gauge the success or failure of one’s music such as sales, awards, best MC list and so forth, how will you gauge your own success?
Getting To Know Top Billing’s Freshest Face – Dr. Fez Mkhize!
Sexy Khabazela! Get to know Top Billing’s newest addition to the Top Billing presenter family – Dr. Fezile Mkhize!
A sexy doctor is right up there with the most clichè of these fantasies.
And it seems a certain Dr. Fezile Mkhize is exactly what the patients have ordered! At least, Top Billing viewers will be getting a consistent dose of the charming new face, who’s one of four new presenters joining the SABC family on various shows.
Mkhize landed the gig after making quite the impression of the channel’s third season of Presenter Search on 3, where he paced past aspirant hopefuls to woo a judging panel with DJ Fresh, Patience Stvens, Sbusiso Kumalo and Jeannie D! While the show initially sought to find threw new presenters, the level of talent was so impressive that Fez will be starting alongside other winners Harmony Katulondi, Ryle De Morny, Palesa Tembe and Thabiso Makhubela.
It’s girlfriend who convinced to audition (he’s got one, yes!), and the rest is televised history. Get to know him!
What has been the highlight of your time on Presenter Search on 3?
The entire experience has been amazing! However, if I had to choose one thing it would be the ability to meet and get to bounce ideas off and share goals with all my fellow contestants along the way. They are all poised to be break-out entertainers and to able to make those connections has been invaluable.
What has been the biggest lesson this experience has taught you?
Hard work is paramount. I’ve always known that hard work can lead to success but this experience has shown me that even when you think the chips are down – keep pushing because it will leave you in good stead for the next obstacle that comes your way.
How would you describe your presenting style?
Ever growing! I came in trying to embody so many of the presenters I believe are brilliant at what they do but as this journey unfolded, I’ve been helped to use my own voice. My presenting style then seems to be a mix of goofball next door with a twist of David Attenborough, all smothered in a secret sauce.
Your girlfriend is the one who encouraged you to audition. When you broke the news to her, what was her reaction?
A lot of ecstatic laughter and she was quick to remind me who really got me there. She’s always had unwavering confidence in this path I’ve taken and through it all has been a pillar of encouragement so she deserves congratulations just as much as I do.
What are you going to be bringing to Top Billing?
It’s a new era for the show and I know the other guys feel the same. I want to maintain the high standard it’s always been known for with a huge dose of whimsy, energy and most importantly heart!
Describe the moment you heard your name and were officially one of the winners of Presenter Search on 3.
I’m just a kid from a small town on the South Coast. You can’t prepare yourself for news like that. To hear it, I don’t know what that feeling can be described as, but I hope everyone feels it at least once in their life
Now that you have stepped into your role on Top Billing, have the first few episodes been everything you thought it would be or have there been a few surprises for you?
Thanks to Presenter Search on 3, I had a good idea of what was required when it came to the shoots and inserts but there is a new zeal that comes with knowing that you are on your own show – especially when that show is Top Billing! I have been absolutely energized being able to shoot for the show.
Do you have any rituals you do in order to prepare yourself before a shoot?
Research! Before any insert I always try to make sure I’ve familiarised myself with my guest for that insert, over and above the work out amazing research team does. It allows for more organic interaction and also allows for the viewer to gain a deeper appreciation for the guest.
Niniola On Touring SA, Her New Album & Eyeing The Grammys [Interview]
We caught up with Nigerian songstress Niniola, who’s behind the hit Maradona
Maradona, the one song many have been thanking Shazam for, is without a doubt one of the biggest soundtracks for the summer of 2017. And the fact that the sultry vocals were delivered in Yoruba by an almost unknown Nigerian artist proved irrelevant. The song bangs, it’s a hit. The girl snapped on the vocals, so we are keeping her.
Maradona first came to our attention at a baby shower afterparty after everyone had agreed that something more upbeat was now needed to toss the girls into a groove.
And as a collective, we unanimously decided to entrust the proverbial deck romping duties to a friend from Pretoria – the heart of house music in the land. This time her crowd winning strategy was amplified by her introduction of Niniola’s banger, a bop we would repeat into midnight because it was just that addictive!
We are excited to have caught up with Niniola to chat about her success, her debut album and what’s next on her radar.
Q: Your single Maradona has been one of the biggest summer smashes in South Africa. Being a Nigerian artist, were you surprised by your breakthrough success here?
Niniola: (Smiles) … Honestly, I was and I am still in shock because I released that song in March 2017 and it was a Hit in Nigeria and other parts of the world. But you see the second South Africa got on the vibe it became reborn and became a new single, topping charts in a country I have always dreamt to visit and all.
Honestly, no words will ever be enough to express how I feel about South Africa and the love they have shown me. And right now I can’t wait to visit.
Q: With all the buzz, do you have any plans of touring South Africa anytime soon.
Niniola: LOL, Of course! As we speak I already have my visa and my bags are packed, I am just waiting for my management to say “ok NINIOLA you can go” lol
Q: Tell us more about how the song came about?
Niniola: Okay, so I went to my producer SARZ who is actually the BEST ever lol, and I told him “yo I need to put out a single, what do you have?” He started making the beat. Minutes into it we were already feeling it and my Manager said to me, ‘That’s your single’.
And when he was done I stood up and vibed. I said some words and he said ‘that’s it, that’s your chorus “OH MARADONA”…And that was how the song came about lol.
Q: With a hit single and a debut album, what has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Niniola: Actually, the proudest moments of my career has been on stage – The joy I get when I am performing and the whole crowd is singing along… It’s such as awesome feeling to think that the little girl who just started is doing all these.
To have topped charts, performed on big stages and all Is something to be proud about…And I owe it all to GOD.
Q: Your debut album, This Is Me, fuses a few sounds and influences, bouncing between afro-house, a touch of Rnb, afrobeats and some dancehall. How would you describe your sound?
Niniola: My root sound/genre is Afro-House, but because I am versatile. I tend to find myself doing a little Pop/RnB/dancehall and all. That’s why the album was titled “This Is Me” so that people get to experience me and see what I can do. *wink
Q: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Niniola: Oh, the list is endless! Dolly Parton, Shakira, Kenny Rogers, Whitney Houston, Angelique Kidjo, Toni Braxton, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade etc.
Q: Which artist/s would be your dream collaborations?
Niniola: lol ah plenty o…Beyonce, Rihanna, Angelique Kidjo, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson (but they are late now RIP)…A lot o can’t even remember them all lol.
Q: What’s next on Niniola’s radar?
Niniola: Oh for now pushing the album, releasing of more videos off the album, touring, working with different artists as we aim for the Grammys lol.
Niniola’s debut album This Is Me is out now. Get it on iTunes
Tellaman Opens Up About His Music, Friendship & Love Life In Exclusive Interview
Durban’s most recently discovered gem, Thelumusa Owen, also known as Tellaman to the entertainment industry, is more than just another artist with a voice. Frankly, the term recent doesn’t fully encompass the graft that Tellaman has been putting into his music career. The versatile crooner was largely involved in the Soul Candi Sessions 15 compilation, that was released in October 2014. He went on to drop an EP titled Mind vs Heart which he produced and wrote himself. The 12 track EP was praised more than anything for its multi-genre approach. Tellaman recently dropped his second EP titled Lucid Dreams and he spoke to us about his music and his relationships.
QuenchSA: What inspired the stage name Tellaman?
Tellaman: Tellaman is a nickname that was given to me. My real name is Thelumusa so Tellaman comes from that name.
QuenchSA: Tell us about your musical background?
Tellaman: There’s not much hey, my parent exposed me to music at a young age, mostly Gospel music and church. I didn’t really go to school for it. It’s one of those situations where I was a exposed to a music program and I started playing around with it… My mom used to make my siblings and I sing.
QuenchSA: The pursuit into the arts is always met with much criticism. Was that the case from your parents?
Tellaman: They were cool with me doing music but they didn’t want me to do ‘just’ music. They wanted me to try other things just in case the music thing doesn’t work out. I don’t really believe in option B especially when it comes to careers because I believe in the law of attraction so the moment I have second option it means I don’t trust that the first option is going to work out in the first place.
QuenchSA: Your versatility on the mic is quite impressive. Is the plan to cater for different genres?
Tellaman: That has always been my plan. First of all I don’t like being boxed. I like to do different things within the music. The moment I started its always been that way. I’ve always tried house music, hip hop, Kwaito here and there.
QuenchSA: Despite releasing a full body of work and featuring on Nasty C’s album, you’ve attributed your fame to Dj Speedsta’s hit Mayo. Was the song that big?
Tellaman: I hadn’t met Speedsta before Mayo. He just hit me up on Twitter and sent me the song and I recorded it. We didn’t think that the song was going to be that big. It came as a surprise.
QuenchSA: Tell us about your bromance with Nasty C?
Tellaman: I think we are brothers more than friends, we live together, we do things together, we make music together. We’ve been close friends even before Juice Back but we started living together last year.
QuenchSA: The track is nominated in the Best Collaboration as well as the Best Hit Single category. What do you think of your chances of winning it?
Tellaman: We have a chance in the Best Hit Single. I think Speedsta is going to take that one obviously depending on the votes. But arguably it was the biggest hip hop song last year.
QuenchSA: Is 2017 the year you release your debut album?
Tellaman: No! I don’t think so. I just released an EP last week. I’m going to be making music anyway but I don’t think I’ll drop an album this year.
QuenchSA: With February being the Month of Love, is Tellaman dating?
Tellaman: No I’m not dating. I don’t have a girlfriend. I feel like the work is too much, me being in a relationship requires a lot of time.
QuenchSA: What can we expect from you in the immediate future?
Tellaman: More videos. I’m going to be releasing a couple of videos so people can lookout for that and more features. I have a single with Dimples, also have a song with Sphe & Naves…there’s a couple.
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