Wanda Baloyi: Talent to sing about

Wanda Baloyi
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Wanda Baloyi is truly a wonder. The 37-year-old is a multi-talented artist, dabbling in soul-touching tunes, jazzy beats, house tracks and so much more.

She will show off just a sample of her spirit when she teams up with gospel great Oleta Adams next month.

"It's not the first time I get to share a stage with an international, but I'm honoured. Oleta is one of the voices I grew up listening to as a young girl.

"She has been one of my most respected vocal tones, she has her own unique timbre. She's beyond legendary," says Baloyi.

"It is always an honour being offered an opportunity to share my talents among other creatives and it's an even more historical moment to share a stage with an icon on a historical day such as Freedom Day and month," she says.

Born to Mozambican parents in Johannesburg, the "city girl" says that although it sounds cliched and cheesy, it was impossible to escape her God-given blessing.

"Coming from a musical family, it was impossible."

She says her personal inspiration to follow her passion was her dad, Jaco Maria, as well as Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Chaka Khan and Anita Baker, to name but a few.

"My childhood was filled with so many beautiful ingredients that groomed me to be the woman I am today. Both parents added their own spices and I'm grateful for all the experiences, both good and bad. I am truly blessed - especially with the gift of music."

Although she doesn't specify her denomination, she regards herself rather as a spiritual being. "On days like today [Easter Sunday], I enjoy being home with close family and friends."

The Kora and Sama award-winning songstress is also a house DJ, something she ventured into recently.

However, on the night in question, Baloyi says she will give fans a taste of her jazz sounds many have come to love. "It's only befitting to the brand to associate it exclusively with the Wanda Baloyi brand. It was a very deliberate concept to keep the two brands separate. I have four albums under my belt, I have a multicultural background both South African and Mozambican, so you can only imagine the pool of music I can pull from," she says.

"I love inspiring people through my musical journey while keeping it meaningful and relevant to the day. I think it's only right to pay respect to those that have paved the way to our freedom," she says.

But on Queen Choco, her house genre, she says the music hit her back when she was part of girl band Ghetto Luv.

"It has always been embedded in me and it was just a matter of time and the right opportunity to unleash it. I was inspired mainly by my collaboration with Louie Vega. I thought about adding to my brand without clashing with the existing one. And the idea of DJ-ing and singing sets me apart from what is currently out there while still keeping my soulful/jazzy sounds," says Baloyi.

She will be hosting her very first event, Choco1st Delux, in celebration of female DJs in SA in May. "It's a strictly female DJ line-up [but open to all to attend], focusing on celebrating females in the industry and also offering a platform for up-and-coming female DJs who wish to form a solid career in DJ-ing."

*The concert takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre (Pavilion) on Friday April 27.

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