From acting to music

SPECIAL VALUE: Bongeziwe Mabandla is releasing his debut album, Umlilo.
SPECIAL VALUE: Bongeziwe Mabandla is releasing his debut album, Umlilo.

YOU may have caught a glimpse of him on your small screens, but now Bongeziwe Mabandla will be heard on radio too as he hits the music scene with the release of his first album, Umlilo.

The Tsolo-born star is best known for playing Mazizi on Tsha Tsha and best remembered as Andy on Generations. He is now moving in music circles.

"From a very young age I loved to sing, but I had a strange voice so I didn't always believe I had a future as a singer," Mabandla says.

"When I arrived [in Johannesburg] to study acting at Afda [arts school], I was doing music as a sub major.

"My music teacher called me aside, and said 'I saw you play the last time and I wasn't sure but now I am, there is something special about you'. That was all I needed to hear. I quit acting as a major. But it would be years later [that] I finally got a record deal."

Now signed with Sony Music Africa, Mabandla's musical focus is in a genre he likes to call "urban African traditional folk music", with hints of hip-hop and soul.

Mabandla says after he released a demo tape, titled Umlilo, he decided to release his debut album under the same name.

When asked about the story behind Umlilo, Mabandla says it was all about "the tears that propel you forward".

"The album is about my life and the things I struggle with," Mabandla explains.

"So, the topics vary from a song about my mother to a song about the inequality in our communities. I wrote a lot about my inferiority complex and my need to feel valued."

The official launch of Umlilo may be pending, but what is certain about the album is that it is due to hit music stores from next Monday.

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