Q: How long have you been in the music industry and how did you get into the industry?
A: I have been singing since I was in primary school. My mom was a choir mistress, so I was always exposed to music. When I got to high school, I was the guy who was known to have a voice. I think that is what made me very popular, other than my good marks, of course. By the time I was in tertiary, I knew that the engineering course I was studying would go to waste, so I made up my mind that I would go in to music. I was in a music group called COB, under Oupa Sithela’s leadership. I think that is where I learned most of what I know now, the art of singing. Professionally, I could say I have been singing since 2005/2006 when I released an album with Muzo, the group that I was with at the time.
Q: Old school R&B and Soul as done by the fathers of soul Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye or the modern type of Urban R&B by Usher and Chris Brown – which do you prefer?
A: I listen to all of it, and of course, one can never talk about R&B without mentioning the legends that started the movement, the likes of Eric Benet, Joe, Boyz II Men (my all-time favourites) and many others who carried the torch. The Ushers and the Chris Browns added a different spin to it, I suppose partly because they had to stay relevant, but also to evolve as the sound of R&B has evolved.
Q: What traits make you unique as a performing artist?
A: I think I have paid attention to many aspects of my brand in general, and not just the sound. The song writing and great melodies are all fused to bring the listener that infectious sound. My voice is also recognisable and distinct, which also helps, and makes me who I am.
Q: What inspires the content of your songs?
A: My latest album Black & White was entirely written by me and Bonga Percy Vilakazi, who is also my manager. The content of the album is generally inspired by love and everything else that happens in love – the good and bad, as well as the complexities of a relationship.
Q: What have been some of your biggest learnings about the music industry?
A: You have to be hands on in everything that involves your brand. Yes, employ people that you trust, who will take care of your affairs, but do not lose sight of what’s going on. At the end of the day, it’s your career and your name.
Q: How has the industry received your music?
A: The industry has been generally kind to me. I think people recognise hard work, and they show appreciation by buying the music.
Q: What’s your favourite love song of all time, and why?
A: This is a very tricky one. The two songs that come to mind are Eric Benet’s I wanna be loved and Boyz II Men’s On bended knee; beautifully-written songs with killer melodies.
Q: How did you spend your Valentine’s Day this year, and is Valentine’s Day a big deal for you?
A: I was working on Valentine’s Day. I am known for singing love songs, this is always a very busy day for me, so I usually work on Valentine’s, performing at Valentine’s events (which I really appreciate).
Q: Do you think having a web and social media presence is fundamental for your career as a musician and why?
A: Oh definitely. That goes without saying. I recently sold over 1.1 million downloads of songs from my Train of love album. There’s no doubt in my mind that had the different digital platforms not have been available, I would not have reached this milestone.
Q: How was 2014 for you as a musician and what are your plans for 2015?
A: 2014 really was a great year in many ways, and it has inspired me to want to do a lot more and achieve more in 2015. The plan for this year is to do a nationwide tour and carry on promoting my album, which was released in 2014. It still has legs, with a lot of great songs.
Q: How long have you been a Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) member and what has been your experience with the organisation?
A: I have been a SAMRO member for as long as I have been a musician. SAMRO has always ensured that all royalties owed to me are always paid and for that I am grateful.