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'Tigi' singer Sands is going after his dreams

By Lesley Mofokeng Entertainment Editor | 2017-04-13 16:12:32.0

  • Picture credit: Veli Nhlapo.

  • Picture credit: Veli Nhlapo.

  • Picture credit: Veli Nhlapo.

  • Picture credit: Veli Nhlapo.

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Sands dives in head-first as he stakes his claim in the local music scene.

This exciting smooth crooner from Swaziland keeps clocking accomplishments and followers - proving there's more to the landlocked country than King Mswati III and the reed dance.

In the past few weeks since the 27-year-old made a splash on SABC1's Live Amp with his hits Vuma and Tigi, he has become the most watched and sought-after talent of the moment. The hugely entertaining, energetic and rhythmic Tigi has become a sing-a-long anthem.

He debuted on the MTV Base Top 20 charts last week at number seven and is already sitting pretty at number one.

He's been in the Metro FM Top 40 for more than two weeks, playlisted on BBC1 Xtra and is sitting in the top 10 iTunes search for two months.

Already a force in Swaziland, Sands is the first Swazi artist to headline the popular MTN Bushfire event, to held in that country from May 27.

Sands is a breath of fresh air to the industry and also swells Swazis with pride seeing one of their own doing so well and singing in their language.

We meet on a cloudy Johannesburg morning. He's a snazzy dresser, in a vintage brown jacket and a matching brown cap, sunglasses firmly in place. There is some air of shyness, if not humility and soft-spokeness, almost whispery as he shares his story.

The PR graduate from Limkokwing University, a private Malaysian institution in the capital, Mbabane, Sands says his eight-year musical journey, saw him leave his parents' house to live alone and pursue his dream.

"It was hard to convince anyone about my music dream because no one has been successful in Swaziland and it even meant me losing relationships," he shares.

Sands, whose real name is Sandziso Matsebula adds that alienating himself was the hardest thing he had to face, but as an 18 year old then he believed in his abilities. He was part of a duo with another musician called Qhibo, before going solo and releasing Vuma and Tigi, which went on to become songs of the year in Swaziland between 2015 and 2016 respectively. And now he's reaching bigger audiences with the release of his debut love-soaked Afro-soul album, Sands of Time, with stunning tracks like Thobile, featuring heart-warming harmonies and the laid back Uyamndzinga, the groovy Kubanawe and the painfully honest Inhlitiyo.

"No matter who you are and whatever your story is, you will find a song that's about you in this album," he says.

But far from the cameras and fans, Sands describes himself as a shy homebody who likes Chinese food and is always immersed in good music as a prolific song writer.

He's currently touring South Africa as he grows his brand and stronghold.

mofokengl@sowetan.co.za

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