Ntando peforming at the State theatre in Pretoria. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. © Sowetan.
Ntando peforming at the State theatre in Pretoria. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. © Sowetan.

LIVE performances are mostly judged by the number of people who show up.

But last weekend, in front of a handful of adoring fans, Afro-pop sensation Ntando refused to be fazed and gave a sizzling performance.

A few minutes before the show backstage, though, disappointment was written all over the star's face when we were allowed a few minutes with him.

He paced up and down as a colleague snapped away. But when he finally went on stage he was a different man. He became the artist he is famous for and dished out the goodies from his latest album.

No wonder the album, Inqubela, reached sold gold two weeks after it was released.

Even Ntando himself is surprised by this achievement.

"I am also surprised that we got gold that quick," he says. "I don't know what to attribute this to. Maybe it's because I gave it my all in this album.

"To release an album after a long time and achieve gold so quickly is an achievement. It doesn't mean that I will rest on my laurels. I will continue working hard and whenever I get an opportunity to promote it I will grab it with both hands."

Ntando admits that the small crowd on Friday, the first day of his album launch at the State Theatre in Pretoria, had him worried.

It was embarrassing to see so few people coming to watch this talented artist. I counted no more than 100 people.

"The crowd was a bit disappointing but over the years in this industry I have learnt that you cannot have your pace set by the crowd," Ntando says. "No matter how many people are present I give it my all. I have to respect the people who have come to the show.

"I went there prepared for anything and it didn't affect my performance. I don't know why there were so few people."

But the following day, during the second leg of the launch at the same venue, the attendance had apparently improved and swollen into a near-capacity crowd.

"On Saturday people came in numbers," he says. "I gave the same performance though I had to change the setting because I was singing at the same venue for two days in a row.

"So it had to be different in a way," he said.