Phinda at the controls

AFTER taking a two-year break, Afro-jazz singer Phinda Mtya-Matlala is back with a new album, Entonjaneni.

She will introduce the album officially tomorrow when she performs at the Blues Room, Village Walk, in Sandton.

She plans to shake up the music industry with different African sounds.

The 13-track album was produced by Steve Dyer and Mtya-Matlala, herself.

"It was my first time producing an album," she says.

"This time around I really wanted to know more about music. I don't want to be just a composer and singer. Producing an album with Steve was a rewarding experience and a learning curve for me."

Entonjaneni is Mtya-Matlala's third release. She says production of the album took almost a year because she wanted the CD to be the best.

"It took me almost a year to record the album because I had to go home to the Eastern Cape to do research on some of the songs. However, I am pleased with the end result even if I say so myself."

Mtya-Matlala says her style of music is a combination of every African sound: "My music is a bit of Afro-pop, gospel and blues. As a person who grew up listening to genres from mbaqanga to jazz, my music is inspired by those sounds."

A former member of the group Mahube, a Southern African band featuring Oliver Mtukudzi and Steve Dyer, Mtya-Matlala is one of the country's most talented and creative female artistes.

Though she is not well known, she has been singing for more than 15 years.

In Port Elizabeth she sang for audiences at home, church and school from the tender age of four. Subsequently, she performed in clubs and progressed to private and corporate events.

Mtya-Matlala's first recording was with Steve Dyer (flute and sax) and legendary composer and performer Oliver Mtukudzi (vocals, guitar).