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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Uncovering 'Mthuthu' an unsigned artist from Durban

He was untaught as Ntuthuko Ndebele, better known to his fanatics as 'Mthuthu', his stage name did not come up as your typical ones, it came up when he was a child who could not clearly pronounce his name 'Ntuthuko' and that's why he opted for 'Mthuthu' and that was much easier for him.

 When listening to ‘Usho Lo & Angelina’, you feel his vocal power that could actually touch your spinal cord. You have to love his voice as a vocalist who’s not trying to be good but good. It was so inspiring and blood warming uncovering Ntuthuko Ndebele from Durban 'The Banana City', South Africa.

Q - Tell us about La 'Mthuthu? Starting from where you grew up, how old are you etc. - All the details...

“Music is not only about having a good voice but with that not so good voice you can put passion, love, dedication to practice and have faith in God that nothing is impossible if you believe.”

A - I’m a 25 year old musician who grew up in a small cultural predisposed town called Ulundi, went to Mahlabatini Primary School and Nsikayendlu High School where I realized an interest in Art. I was one of the leading students in Music and Drama. Back then I wasn’t confident about my singing and I was more focused on acting until 2004 when I was doing my grade 12, that’s when I met Mr. Reeves Gumede who was a manager at the Indonsa Art Center based in the great Zululand. I was inspired by his words to me “Music is not only about having a good voice but with that not so good voice you can put passion, love, dedication to practice and have faith in God that nothing is impossible if you believe.” He even mentioned that my voice was soulful and unique with that the passion he saw in me I can do wonders and sing from the heart and heal souls.

Q - Was being an artist always your dream? 

A - Music was forever in my heart though I never thought I would take it as a career. I started taking it so seriously when I relocated to Durban, that’s where I met people with the same interest who inspired me more to pursue this God given talent. Even though a majority of them was doing Kwaito, Jazz and Hip Hop but we had the same visions and dreams within the music industry, that’s why I will never lose the love for Kwaito and local Hip Hop. Also for a very long time I was surrounded by people who respected and developed in those genres.

Q - How did it all this start, I would really love to know?

A - I always smile when someone asks me that question. My first recording experience was with a good friend of mine Vusi who is also from Ulundi, recalling the then, it was 2003/4 we recorded two Hip Hop tracks at Indonsa Art & Crafts Center studios, produced by Siya. The tracks were influenced by my late sister Nox and Vusi’s late brother Veli. Those tracks were very emotional and tense.  After that Reeves Gumede told me that if I love singing so much I should try it.

He made me listen to the likes of Percy Sledge, Michael Bolton to name but a few because my voice texture was more like theirs. I got motivated and inspired and started singing and practicing until I met people like Stano Nyokana from Stano Productions who gave me a sound background to Afro Pop and Jazz and finally got on my feet in 2009, this is where I started doing what I felt inside with the LaSwagga Music of which is Afro House Music genre-wise.

Q - What makes you think you are a better vocalist?

“I represent the African revolution in music as I sing about topical things. My music is more based in empowering and healing souls.”

A - My writings are very deep and poetic, I represent the African revolution in music as I sing about topical things. My music is more based in empowering and healing souls. My voice texture is African. To be frank I sometimes write about things that hasn’t happened but in the long run they do happen, that’s why I named my Debut Album “UBIZO” because I truly believe that my writings are a calling from God. My music reveals hidden things from what the human eye can actually sight. Ever since I’ve started singing I have been writing my own lyrics which clearly shows that I am also a great writer with a passion for what I do.

Q - Who do you look up to and why?

A - Within the music industry I really look up to Baba Caiphus Semenya and Mama Leta Mbuli. Their lifestyles are very full of respect and humbleness to the public even though they have achieved so much within this industry, they such a huge blessing into my music life. They are prime examples of role models for the young musicians who aspire to take their music careers further.

Q - Who have you worked with?

A - Since I started doing music professionally I have worked with Dj Bongs, Dj Fresh and Euphonik , Blaq Soul, Bennito, Dj Nkoh, Phumzile Zondo (poet), Alcapoem, Pilado, Moose, Dj Beeman and Ceeya, Sony Kid, Stano, Msizi LaSwagga and a whole lot of talented musicians and producers.

Q - What makes a good vocalist?

A - Being able to write your own lyrics which makes it easier to put emotive language in the song as you will be singing something that comes from your heart or rather you can feel and something you understand.  Being versatile and the willingness to learn every minor thing(s). Another main thing is being able to do the microphone technique, being able to adapt and use all the different microphones out there.

Q - What challenges do young musicians face in the industry?

A - Not being given a chance to shine and express our music beliefs. People fail to comprehend that you start somewhere and ride to the top, if you are not well known they underestimate you and hardly give you a chance to prove yourself. One of the challenges we face is that artists are more into competing than doing what God has given to them as a talent and making people dance and rejoice the healing that music brings.

Young musicians don’t want to invest in their talent, they just want to be famous now and forget what might happen next. They also need support from the Municipalities they are coming from, event promoters, media, record companies, marketing and distribution companies etc. In this generation it is easier to record the whole album but without marketing and distribution you can hardly go anywhere. We need to produce music that will be remembered for decades, like your late Brenda Fassie's music.

Q - When do you think is your big break in the industry?

A - As soon as I get a recording deal with a company that is willing to work with me and invest in my music. My music is the best and I am just waiting for that lucky company to be a benefit to me which will in turn make me an investment or rather an asset to them too.

Q - What was your turning point in the industry?

A - Late 2009 I was involved in a car accident and after that the music I have been writing is something that talks to me personally but not forgetting my supporters too or those who share a similar situation. Just after the accident I did a song that was compiled by Dj Bongs on his album named “The Ultimate” and the song was titled, “Ndiliqhawe” it honestly meant after all the bad things and the curses I am going to make it through because it is written in heaven that I am a hero that will prosper through it all. Again I experienced a turning point when I was featured in a music video of Dj Vetkoek vs Mahoota featuring Professor track called “Bayede”, it was an amazing turning point because that was the first video I appeared on. I also had a television performance in 2010 on SABC1 Kids News, it was so awesome!

Q - How did you overcome that turning point?

A - Because it was a progressive turning point I grabbed it with both hands and never looked back, though with that accident I’m still mourning and thank God that I survived.

Q - What would be your best advice for aspiring musicians?

A - This is a very complicated career and there are certain doors that you can only unlock with education and prayers, meaning education and believing in your God is vital. Music is music not politics. Learn as you walk and grab every opportunity with both hands. Humble yourself and respect the fellow musicians and the public. Build a recognizable and a respectful brand.

Q - What's your motto in life?

A - Never underestimate what you have and what you can do.

Q - Besides being a believer, how do you associate yourself with God?

A - God is my life, so how can I live without my life? That’s why I believe in him because he is my everything.

Q - Is there any project that you're currently working on? If yes, when can we expect it on the shelves?

A - At the moment we as team LaSwagga are pushing my Debut Album titled ‘ANGELINA’featuring tracks like ‘USHO LO’ produced by Dj Nkoh, Qhubeka ft Phumzile produced by Mfundo and ‘Iqhawe’ compiled by Dj Bongs. I have just released a track titled ‘MAWELA’ with Dj Beeman and Ceeya mixed by Dj Fresh and Euphnik-Club Culture. At the moment I am looking forward to work with whoever wants to work with me and I am open to every artist.

With stories like his told we can have a number of artists having hope within the music business. His story really teaches one not to be just an artist but an entrepreneur too.

You can add him on: Facebook

By Staff Reporter

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