South Africa's MusiQue draws inspiration from highlife for debut album

Musa Ngobeni is a young South African singer, songwriter and percussionist who goes by the name of MusiQue. From humble beginnings he moved to Johannesburg to pursue his dream and is today working on his debut album with artists from Nigeria and Cameroon.

South African artist MusiQue is working on his debut album.
South African artist MusiQue is working on his debut album.

Born on 12 December 1987 in a township called Elim near Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt) in South Africa’s Limpopo province, he was raised by a single mother in a working-class, Tsonga-speaking background. He enjoyed singing contemporary pop, R&B and gospel at an early age and soon became interested in the likes of Bebe Winans, Brian McKnight, R.Kelly and boy bands such as Boys ll Men, NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. He also drew inspiration from prominent local singers such as Jeff Maluleke, Umanji and reggae legend Colbert Mukwevho.

By his teens, MusiQue was performing as a lead singer in various boy bands and considering a career in music. However, in 2006 he had to shelve his musical endeavour to pursue a BA Journalism degree at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). “I recall being a youngster coming to Joburg with the hope that I would hook up with a band and make it big - only to be humbled by my studies that needed more attention to the detriment of my first love – music,” he said.

Soon after completing his studies, MusiQue reignited his flair for music when he was roped in as one of the songwriters for Choppa of ‘Margarida’ fame. “You don’t realise how gifted you are until a person of Choppa’s calibre asks you to pen numerous songs for him and give direction to those songs,” he said.

MusiQue’s obvious talent went on to attract the attention of other music acts such as Theop, Hypnotik and Ma-t, with whom he worked as a session artist, also recording sound tracks for TV shows such as Soul City. Inspired by the likes of Vusi Nova, Khaya Mthethwa, Brian Themba and Loyiso Bala, MusiQue contemplated a solo musical career which he would finally get off the ground in 2015.

Working alongside his brother, producer The Semitonez, the singer recently released his debut single ‘Zi ryt iGalz'. The track has topped charts on several online music platforms, including DataFileHost.

 

His second single, ‘Famba na mina’, is also getting a lot of airplay on radio and reached over 1000 downloads in less than five weeks. The track reached number 2 on the Univen FM charts, while his music has also been well-received on Makhado FM in Limpopo, Alex FM and Thetha FM in Gauteng, and Vuma FM in KwaZulu-Natal.

 

Following the success of his first singles, MusiQue is currently working on his debut album, which will see him collaborate with his mentor Choppa and other local acts such as Succezz Lepora, Deep Mental and Flow Master. To diversify his sound, Musique has teamed up with gifted acts from elsewhere in Africa in the form of Mr. Rhyma (Nigeria) and Lion Boy (Cameroon).

"The album will be called Famba na Mina (a Tsonga expression roughly translating to 'walk with me')," the artist told Music In Africa. "With this title I am basically inviting everyone to join me in this musical journey that I have embarked on."

"People can expect a fusion of R&B, hip hop, Afro-soul and Nigerian highlife music," he added. “Above all, they can look forward to an authentic sound that is influenced by my Tsonga heritage and upbringing in Limpopo, one of the most fascinating provinces in South Africa.”

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