Bongeziwe Mabandla has just dropped his latest single, “Zange” (translated as “Never Before”), as an introduction to his highly anticipated upcoming album. This will be his third album so far, and his second to be released through Universal Music Africa.
During the seven years since the release of his highly acclaimed debut album “Umlilo”, Bongeziwe has been regularly hailed as one of the most significant and gifted musicians to emerge from Africa. His depth and powerful voice were evident in his first album produced with Universal Music Africa, titled “Mangaliso” (“Miracle”). His first and most successful single ‘Ndokulandela’ has accrued more than 3 million streams, whilst “Mangaliso” has been a groundbreaking success with over 7,5 million streams and counting. Having created his own unique space as a performer he has achieved a formidable status on the South African musical stage.
Bongeziwe started with a solid foundation in Afro-Folk music, but has since evolved his sound, combining the traditional with a strong electronic, punk and jazz infusion, attracting a far broader audience. Besides having won awards such as for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2018 SAMAs, he has garnered a solid international following, delivering riveting performances at many local and foreign events.
“Zange” is a magnus opus for this great artist, and with an 80’s inspired sound focuses on the meaning of what it feels like to love and be loved in return. With considerable Xhosa influence and Bongeziwe’s signature introspective sincerity, the song encapsulates the life-changing power of romantic love, remaining upbeat and full of joyful soul.
Bongeziwe perceives the piece as the perfect introduction to his forthcoming album, which he describes as having a more uplifting and youthful sound and which was influenced by the likes of Blood Orange and Solange. As a soul-inspired artist, the concepts of love and mutual respect are key to his mesmerizing musical creations. This is a musician unafraid of delving into the secrets of the heart, a muso with profound messages woven into his words.
“I want people who listen to my music hear that I am getting older. I’m thinking about different things. I wanted to talk about love because so many of us are so alone and so broken that we would do anything to love… Love reveals us. Before I wrote this album I thought: “What is going on inside me?” I realised that I think about love and the lack thereof, all the time. Feeling alone, looking for love, being heart broken, getting up and all the mess that comes with loving someone. The title track is about the good times… making memories that will shape you forever.”
It is a pleasure to follow an artist with true depth and passion regarding the search for love and meaning in life. Universal Music Africa has chosen well by offering an important platform for Bongeziwe to further develop his elevating musical creations. “Zange” is the tip of the iceberg – though warm as the sun – and we can expect a flurry of heartfelt tracks to emerge from his next album.
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