Nokwazi is undoubtedly one of the names that will go down as legendary in the South African Music industry. Over the past 9 years, if your favourite house / dance music producer has had a hit album then they probably had to feature Nokwazi to make it complete. She spent the first part of her music career as a backing vocalist to a lot of big names such as Brenda Fassie & Rebecca Malope, to name a couple. However, as soon as she stepped in the frontline it was dominance all the way and she hasn’t looked back since.
She signed with Kalawa Jazmee in 2013 and has since went on to collaborate on a number of the biggest hits of the decade. Working with the likes of Oskido, Prince Kaybee, Heavy K, Bucie, TNS, Mobi Dixon, Thandiswa Mazwai, Prince Bulo and a whole lot more. With so many hits and Accolades under her name, she just recently bagged another one a few months back. The hit ‘Emathandweni’ alongside DJ Zandimaz reached platinum status and continues to dominate the airwaves.
She also currently boasts 2 features on the recently released Prince Kaybee’s ‘The 4th Republic’ album. She features on the lead single ‘Ebabayo’ as well as on ‘Sofaslahlane’. With so many hits and so much achieved in the industry with a great display of longevity, most fans still feel like Nokwazi is still way underrated by the industry.
“I love being underrated! It makes me sleep at night. Imagine if I drastically popped so much like popcorn and then what in 3 years? Where are you in 5 years? Are you still relevant? Cause I’ve been relevant since 2012 till today, so I enjoy this ‘underrated’ space so much.” Said Nokwazi.
When asked how she has manged to stay relevant for so long, this is what she had to say. “I think it’s by the grace of God, I won’t lie and act like I have it figured out. With that said, I also believe I’m a good song writer. I write songs that make sense and relate to the public.”
As Nokwazi is well known for collaborating with a variety of producers and coming out with smashing hits, we had to ask her how is she able to gel with so many different producers and personalities. “We don’t always click all the time lol, I could probably tell you stories that could shock you lol. Sometimes people hear a song and think man the song sounds so amazing the vibe in the studio must’ve been great while there was no vibe at all lol. Sometimes producers try to bully songwriters and vocalists, but I’m at a point in my career where I will never allow a producer to bully me. Yes, the song will come out great but at times you’ll find that it was only fights in the studio.”
When commenting on the smashing hit ‘Emathandweni’ alongside DJ Zandimaz this is what she had to say. “That was actually the toughest collaboration I’ve ever done in my career. There were too many complications (politics) with that song that at some point it made me cry. There were a lot of unnecessary complications that came with the collaborations, but (in studio) doing it was fun. However, as soon as the studio session was done, then came the politics. At some point I even told my husband that I’ve had a lot of arguments and disagreements with producers but this one has to be the most draining one. We can’t still be fighting about the splits in 2021, my boss (Oskido) even had to get involved. However, I’m glad that things seem to be sorted (resolved) now, because this is such a big song and I love it”
Probably one of the best things about having a career like Nokwazi’s, is being able to have such a great relationship with Oskido. “I met Oskido at Kalawa in 2012. At that time, I was mainly a backing singer for a lot of musicians in the game, I was living a very boring life lol. So, it happened I was visiting Thandiswa Mazwai at the studio and she had a session with Oskido. He asked me to sing something on a house beat, I hadn’t done anything on a house beat at that time so I was a bit clueless. That’s actually when we did the song ‘Woza Nana’, that was the first song I did at Kalawa.” Says Nokwazi.
“From then on, we just clicked and we liked each other’s energy and we’ve been working ever since. Oskido will teach a lot about the business and how to profit, he will teach you how to make money. If you want to make money, Oskido is the person to learn from. Even now he’s helping me with my new Kitchen project called ‘The Groove kitchen’, very exciting.”
Nokwazi also commented on the major impact that the COVID-19 Lockdown has had on Entertainers and the music industry. “Yeah, we’ve been going through the most. So much so that at times I would wake up and think maybe it’s time to quit this music thing. I have some avenues through music that I used to make good money from that have been shut down since the lockdown. Even though we might be back to performing now, most of the time you’re offered peanuts. You’re fortunate if you’re still getting the same booking fee you made in 2019, but most of the time it’s a whole lot of negotiations to your fee and a lot of the offers won’t come close to what you used to make”
Though Nokwazi does boast 2 full-length projects with Ilambu (2013) & Nokwazi (2018), she hasn’t dropped any music of her own in a while. This is what she had to say about dropping music of her own. “I really thought I was done with making my own individual (music) projects, I just thought I’m going to stick to features and collaborations from now on. However, there’s a songwriter by the name of Melusi who sent me a song that changed my mind about that. Now I’m really looking forward to go into studio and try to work on an album, because that song just did something to me”
WATCH THE FULL EPISODE OF KAS’LAM LIVE FEATURING NOKWAZI BELOW.