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Talented Kelvin Momo’s Amukelani leaves fans bowing in awe

‘King of private school amapiano’ inspired by his father’s love of jazz

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Kelvin Momo talks about making great strides in the music industry.
Kelvin Momo talks about making great strides in the music industry.
Image: Supplied

The self-proclaimed “king of private school amapiano” Kelvin Momo has in the past years managed to master an idiosyncratic subgenre that incorporates jazz, deep house and lounge sounds.  

Kelvin Momo, whose real name is Thato Kelvin Ledwaba, is considered one of the pioneers of a unique sound that’s fuelled by darting keys and tantalising pads, replacing the distinctive amapiano grit with a polished shine, culminating in a stone-cold masterpiece.  

Under the watchful eye of Kabza de Small, Kelvin Momo has been able to make strides within the music industry with his album Momo’s Private School, released under the King of Amapiano’s record label Piano Hub in 2020.

However, it was his recent offering, his much-awaited album Amukelani that left his fans bowing in awe at the talent that is Kelvin Momo. 

“My father used to play music a lot when I was younger specifically jazz that’s where my love for music began. I then started to familiarise myself with different genres and that’s when I realised that music somehow sets my soul on fire,” said the 28-year-old from Diepkloof, Soweto.

“I was in high school when I got my first smartphone, I learnt how to DJ using it that phone. I would select a song and create a playlist from there... little did I know it’ll grow into the love of music such as being a full-time DJ.”   

He has been creating production mixes and churning out songs for close to a decade, earning him a reputation as one of SA’s most sought-after producers.

Kelvin Momo on making great strides in the music industry.
Kelvin Momo on making great strides in the music industry.
Image: supplied

“I used to listen to the soothing jams of R&B singer Tamia and Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider… they helped shape the way I perceive and listen to music. I admired how detailed their music was along with the arrangement of their songs, which highly influenced how I produce my music now,” he adds.

In 2019, Kelvin Momo recorded songs like Abantu Bethu with C.A. Souls and the laid-back hit Yelele with Luu Nineleven and DJ Stoks, he then was widely featured on the influential label House Afrika’s Mzansi House collection.

When asked whether he knew his music would be a worldwide hit, Kelvin Momo remarked: “I knew I was destined to be big, however, I believe my hard work has finally paid off with my new project that I dropped last week Friday. I am completely overwhelmed by the love and support I’ve received from Amukelani.”

“It’s overwhelming to me because when I was producing this album I had a lot of emotions within me, so when it dropped I was praying for people to understand the message I was trying to put across, and I am happy they did.

“More than anything I’m grateful for the love and support I’ve received in my music journey… I have no words,  but I am truly humbled.”

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