Ntando is back with a big bang
Soul music singer Ntando Bangani, like US counterpart Maxwell, says it takes time to make beautiful music.
After four years, he has finally released his latest work, Mayibuye. He says the seventh studio album was the hardest.
"I have been away for a long time and the industry is packed with competition," he says.
"Before I started with the album, I had to rechannel and thankfully I can say I found myself again."
He credits Robbie Malinga for giving him the best advice.
"When I took some time off, we actually sat and he gave me some great advice. I was upset that the music I was making wasn't getting out there.
"He gave me the best advice, to go back and study the first two Ntando albums and take something from there.
"And I did. The music industry is very tough; it's not all about the glitz and glam. One day you're at the top and the next you're not.
"It's all about consistency and staying at the top, and I guess that was the most difficult or biggest challenge I had to deal with. "When I wasn't where I'd hoped I'd be, I had to take a step back and try to understand why I wasn't achieving what I hoped I would."
The album, which also features Vusi Nova, has 15 tracks.
He describes it as his best work of love and everything African, and says it's more or less the same sound that (his music) fans are accustomed to.
Ntando, who first came onto the scene in 2006 with Kwantu, says he has been singing for as long as he can remember.
His father is a pastor, who he acknowledges for making him sing in church, as well as at home while growing up.
"At home we had a choir and we sang a lot as a family. I figured singing is for everyone," Ntando said.
But he wasn't confident that he could make a career out of it.
He noticed that he had a talent when he once heard his cousin singing. "It was a flop", says the afro-pop singer.
When he was in Grade 9 he started going to the studio and rewriting the lyrics to some of his favourite songs.
"From then I noticed there was a pattern in writing lyrics. Then I started writing my own songs," he says.
After finishing school Ntando enrolled at the Manu Technical College in Dobsonville, Soweto, and studied the piano. At the time he was already friends Nhlanhla Nciza.
He said his music career began when Nciza asked him to help her finish a song she was writing that would feature the late Brown Dash.
Ntando also accompanied Nciza to studio when she went to record the song.
"Her bosses were impressed with what we did and asked me to write a song for Brown Dash that I would also be part of," said Ntando.
He wrote Mgezeni in 2002, which he sang with Dash and says this is the track that launched his music career. TS records signed him in 2005 and, a year later, he released his debut album Kwantu.
But many remember him for Imvelaphi, his second album, which garnered several awards, including Song of the Year at both the South African Music Awards and Metro FM Awards, for the track Dali Wam. His advice to newbies: "Make sure that you are staying true to who you are, make sure you understand what it is you want your brand to portray and that you yourself will be happy. Listen to your voice, man."