Zulu Mkhathini marks milestone with new music on debut solo album
In commemoration of who he is as an African man, Zulu Mkhathini, formerly known as “Dash” from hip-hop group Dreamteam, says the most important notion black people need to be “is proud of their roots and who they are in society”.
Four years in the making, Mkhathini not only perceives his new debut album he calls a “personal project” as “special” but a “milestone in his life as a solo artist”.
We caught up with the talented artist at the listening session of his new album, Spirit of Ubuntu, at Rockets in Johannesburg North and found out what makes him tick.
If you weren’t afraid, what would you do?
“I’d definitely skydive — I have days when I am afraid of heights and some days when I am rather brave. So, if I were to do something daring, it would be skydiving.”
What makes you laugh?
“I guess when people do weird or clumsy things. I like it when people can be comfortable with me to be clumsy.”
Is there a secret talent you have people don’t know about?
“Yeah, last time I checked my secret talent is whistling. I have six or seven different types of whistles. I discovered this talent out of boredom when I was younger. My whistles are quite impressive.”
Do you have a favourite thing to do before going to bed?
“So, before it was praying but now, weird enough, it is reading. I like reading before I call it a night.”
If you could pause a moment in your life, which moment would that be?
“There’s quite a couple of moments that I would really like to pause, like even now, dropping my debut album — I would really like to pause this moment just to take it all in. This moment to me marks a new beginning and victorious because getting here has been very hard. I faced a lot of challenges, rejects, and financial implications; it’s been four years trying to get to this point. So, this moment is lifting quite a lot of weight off of my shoulders; this is definitely an achievement for me.”
What life lessons have you learnt?
“Accepting when things are beyond your control; allowing room for mistakes because no-one is perfect; and staying humble.
What are the key aspects that keep you going?
“Sparking change. See, when I was younger I used to be focused on being cool and what’s in fashion but now, I just want to be the bearer of change with my music.”
Why did you choose to lean on the more cultural side with your new music?
“Most of these things have been a calling to me [more] than a choice. Going to the people I collaborated with was a calling. Choosing the cover was a calling. I stay in Johannesburg now but going back to shoot videos in my hometown has been a calling.
“Something has been telling me, 'speak about this in your music', it was showing me the visuals I need to have for my songs. Speaking about the album cover, I really wanted cows but we didn’t know where we were going to get them. I wanted three cows that symbolised three pillars in my life being my mom, dad and sister. Now, I didn’t know where we were going to get these cows. As we were shooting by the river we saw three cows just drinking water which marvelled me hence I saw that as a beautiful calling!”
What makes you grumpy?
“I may be perceived as a bubbly person to many but I get grumpy a lot. Being a perfectionist, when things don’t go accordingly, that kind of makes me grumpy.”
What personal feature are you most insecure about?
“My stubbornness. I wish I could shake off how stubborn I am, being a perfectionist doesn’t really help this flaw.”
If you had one day left to live, how would you spend it?
“It would definitely be playing music. It being my last day, I’d play as much music as I can consume.”
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