Monde releases self-funded, soulful debut album

CROONER: Monde Msutwana
CROONER: Monde Msutwana

It took him three years, but Monde Msutwana has finally arrived.

The Idols SA top three finalist in 2012 this month released his album, Introspection, made up of his own compositions, after performing covers on the reality TV stage and at corporate functions.

The dreadlocked crooner from Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, excitedly tells Time Out: "I'm stepping into a bigger playing field and I will be known as an artist who can stand on his own."

Not only has Msutwana, 33, composed the music, but the release is fully funded from his wallet.

Having worked for Sheer Sound music label as a marketer exposed him to the business side of music, so he could be a one-stop-shop recording artist/record label manager through his Monde Music company.

"I decided to go independent. I understand the mistakes that young and new artists make. Most of the work is done by the artist. You have to get out there and talk to people to promote and not just rely on the record company, [it has] 15 other artists. American singer Kem funded his first two albums from his pocket and look how far he has gone. If he can do it, why can't I?" he says.

Msutwana recorded some tracks a few years back, but made an about-turn when he realised it wasn't what he really wanted. He says he has been in production since 2009 and some of the songs were written when he was still studying jazz at Tshwane University of Technology in 2006.

"My producer told me to follow my heart. So I stepped back, saved money and went for the musicians I wanted to work with. In eight months the project was done."

And now he presents a 10-track album of romantic and soulful music. Forever Love, one of the songs, was written in 2004 after he had listened to the 1990s hit Girl in the Life Magazine by Boyz II Men.

In fact, it's the sounds of the 1990s that permeate Msutwana's album, having grown up on Boyz II Men, Al Jarreau, Lighthouse Family and Bobby McFarren.

The album was recorded at Jury Music in Parktown North, Johannesburg. The studio is owned by producer Brendon Jury.

Msutwana touts the music as contemporary and timeless. He tips his hat to the Idols show for having offered him a launching pad.

"It worked for me. People relate to me better. But when I entered, winning was not what I wanted. I was just hoping to reach the top 10 and then work hard to get an album out. I exceeded that by being in the top three."

Msutwana is currently on the road promoting the album and hoping to score more airplay on the radio. In addition he is working on plans to tour.

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