Three years on since she first captured the public’s eye with her viral cover of Mlindo The Vocalist’s “AmaBlesser” (currently sitting at well over 1 million views on YouTube), 19-year old South African singer-songwriter Zee Nxumalo recently marked her arrival with the release of her anthemic debut single titled “Siyajola” in February.
Having honed her craft over the years and re-emerged as a polished star ready to make her mark on the music industry, Zee recently joined forces with platinum-selling independent label Punchline Media to officially launch her solo career. Inspired by the likes of Kelly Khumalo, The Soil and Brenda Fassie, Zee is a potent songwriter with the rare ability to pen catchy yet meaningful music that tugs at your heartstrings.
From a very young age, her family imparted in her the belief that she was a vocally gifted child, and her new single allows her to showcase that gift. Despite having gone viral on several occasions and establishing herself as a growing TikTok star over the past year, Zee is a muso at heart.
Her quirkiness, humour and larger-than-life persona has seen her rapidly generate over 300K followers across Instagram and TikTok, with fans consistently imploring her to release new music for several months now.
Having spent months in the studio honing her craft, the promising young star is ready to take things to the next level as she prepares for the release of her sophomore single, “Hamba” and her upcoming debut EP. ZEE NXUMALO 2022 PROFILE “My sound is what I define as ‘the sound that speaks to the soul’. I am into motivational songs, and songs that reflect our daily experience, more especially in the hood” – Zee Nxumalo.
Q & A with Zee:
Tell us a little bit about your career and how you started?
I’m a 19-year-old musician from a small informal settlement in Johannesburg called Cosmo City. I always used to sing from around the age of 13 and was actually signed to Emmy Gee under my previous stage name “Zeedetoxic” when I was younger. I’m passionate & always used music as a tool to express how I truly feel in my daily struggles and achievements.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a whole bunch of music and I’m trying to invest in content – primarily focusing on my debut EP which can be expected very soon. Within that hustle as well, I am also studying for a Law degree at UJ.
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
I really enjoy the freedom music gives me. It liberates me and allows me to represent myself the best way I possibly can. I feel like music allows me to really be me. I have also enjoyed meeting industry people I highly respect, and I am always humbled by their compliments and support.
What is your best career highlight so far?
My career has always given me moments where I’ve been able to relate to a lot of people. When I was 15, I released an “Amablesser” cover & I actually hit over a million views. Recently, I went viral off a song I am currently featured on titled “Maphupho” by Zandimaz. The fact that people really relate to my personal story is always breathtaking to me.
If you could give some advice to someone starting their career journey, what would it be?
Believe in yourself… I still have moments where I’m really concerned about the response of the general public to the music & content I put out, but I’ve been learning to grow confident enough to become the star I think I am. I think I’ve achieved certain things because I believed I could and that is what keeps me going.
How did your career in the industry begin?
When I was signed around the age of 13, I developed my singing ability in studio. I started out recording and releasing a lot of covers while we “figured” me out. After that, I released a song & music video titled “Kota”, and slowly got into the habit of releasing my own music. This year is the first one where I can say I’m truly venturing into being a fully-fledged artist who releases frequently – especially with my new team, Punchline Media.
How do you think we can grow the creative industry and bring African content to the world?
I honestly think Africans are already on the path to global domination – from Trevor Noah to Black Coffee, to the Queen Sono’s and emerging stars such as Uncle Waffles. I believe we’ve already started building the infrastructure needed to operate on a global scale. The only thing I feel like is missing is more support from the Department of Arts & Culture. Not to be too political but, I can’t really see how they are helping us improve our industry.
Tell us a little bit about why you love Cape Town – The host city for FAME Week Africa.
I love Cape Town mostly because of the views. I’m a person who occasionally enjoys the finer things in life, and I know that Cape Town is one of those cities with that. I also want to see myself on a boat in Waterfront, or by the beach, or even on top of Table Mountain!
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