It is the great trumpeter, Hugh Masekela, who said “I have lived for music ever since I could think”. And in that light, South Africa could be blessed with another fine-tuned artist, this time, a groovy guitarist whose music is distinct.
The 23 year old Xolani Xolo, who hails from the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal in Port Shepstone, completed his matric at Phathwa High School in 2014. He is currently a third year Drama student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and also pushes his Afro Pop music career on the side.
Singing is a genetic talent in the Xolo family, owing to the fact that Xolani and his younger brother inherited it from their father, who was also a singer.
Xolani describes his music as unique and within the quality of the Afro Pop genre. He believes that once he has completed his studies, it will be time for him to step in and make his mark in the music industry.
People know me as a person who has a unique raspy voice, who doesn’t only perform. I entertain, I dance, which makes me different because many Afro Pop artists only play the guitar and sing.
Most of his performances are renditions of house and R&B songs. “I also do write songs of my own, but I don’t want to sing them in public yet, because people might steal my songs and produce them as their own and I will not have legal rights to prove they are mine” he added.
With additional spice of the unmixed guitar, some of the songs that have drawn crowds when he performs, include Babes Wodumo – Wololo; Dr. Malinga – Akulaleki; DJ Merlon – Koze Kuse; Sands – Tigi.
Although he started singing at church, this young artist says that “DUT’s Got Talent” was the main platform which helped him kick-start his career. This talent search competition included poets, rappers and traditional dancers, who were all competing for the title of the most talented artist. “The competition made me realise that people love the way I present my craft. They would ask for more” he added. Needless to say, Xolani became the overall winner.
Studying Drama has contributed greatly in the improvement of Xolani’s artistry. Not only does he sing, but he is also a model for a vintage designer clothing brand and participates in community stage plays. “I now know how to pitch my voice, how to breathe while singing, and a few other techniques that help me when performing on stage. I only knew how to play the guitar, but now I can play many different types of instruments” he said.
Like many upcoming artists, having no financial support or recording equipment have been major setbacks for Xolani. He’s had encounters where people approach him, asking to record with him, only to find that the help they offer will only benefit them.
Despite these disheartening encounters, Xolani still believes that his music will impact many lives, just like the music of his role model, Sjava.
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