The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
AT a certain point in his career, Msiz’kay would look at certain artistes he wished to work with, with a deep sense of longing knowing that, despite his greatest desire, they would not give him the time of day if he asked for a collaboration.
These were the days when he was a one-man band — the days when he was the singer, his producer and his very own manager.
To the artistes that he aspired to work with, back then Msiz’kay was just Sizalobuhle, a young boy from Bulawayo whose prospective music career seemed to hinge on nothing more than hope and a prayer.
Msiz’kay has come a long way from those days.
Among the young crop of musicians in Bulawayo, he is perhaps now the most recognisable and one that some would say that, if his career continues on its current trajectory, could eventually be recognised as not merely good but great.
There’s a long way to go before that happens but as of now, he seems to have taken tentative baby steps towards the acclaim and longevity that has eluded young Bulawayo musicians for the best part of two decades.
The boy who used to be referred to in music circles as Sizalobuhle is now Msiz’kay, a standard bearer on the music scene.
It is this respect that has allowed him to craft the self-titled album, Sizalobuhle, an 18-track effort that was released on Friday.
To show his growth, and the respect that he has garnered in the music industry, Sizalobuhle brims with features and collaborations with artistes that he used to long to work with when he was a little-known name.
“I think it’s because I have been in the industry for a while now and in the past, I might not have had access to certain individuals that I wanted to work with,” he told Sunday Life in an interview.
“Over the years I have connected to various musicians who I have admired from afar but also wanted to work with.
So, as I get the opportunity to work with people that I want to work with, I am taking the opportunity to work with people that I feel will be great collaborators and will add to my sound and help create music that people will love.”
Sizalobuhle is Msiz’kay’s first effort since he exploded on the mainstream music scene as a serious force to reckon with.
It is perhaps no wonder that this is the most polished of his projects thus far, with the sort of professionalism befitting of an artiste whose stature grows with every release.
While he is proud of the number of collaborations he garnered, Msiz’kay concedes that working with such a wide array of artistes, some of whom are not in Bulawayo, provided him with a steep learning curve, one he was able to navigate skilfully.
Featured artistes include Awa Khiwe, Bhekiwe, Cosmos Roinuj, CTL, Fab G UmshanakaGogo, Hwabaraty, Luchi Shiki, Mbo Mahocs, MJ Sings and Mzoe7.
“Making songs for this album was an amazing, amazing experience.
I had fun at every stage of the process.
This is my album with more features than any other body of work that I have done.
There are so many songs with features, I think half the tracks have features. So that’s nine out of 18 tracks which is something that has never happened with some of my past work.
“I would say the behind scenes story of the making of this album is a tale of learning how to co-ordinate and manage such a big project because Sizalobuhle is a big project for me.
I’m talking about stuff like going to Harare for my collaboration with Ishan and doing the recording there.
I’m talking about making songs like Ngawuzw’ Umoya Wami with Awa who is in Germany and working on Ingoma Zothando with MJ Sings.
This whole process involved so much including learning about the business side of music as well.
Drafting contracts for the different features and all other behind the scenes behind stuff that people don’t get to see when we make music was an eye opening and great learning experience,” he said.
While the album was a labour of love, taking all of three years to make, Msiz’kay said that the blood, sweat and tears that went into making the album a reality did not detract him from the joy of making it.
While the accountant turned musician is happy to bring this new baby into the world, he admits that he got as much joy from the birth pangs that brought it to the world.
As the title suggests, Sizalobuhle will serve as the reintroduction of Msiz’kay to his audience.
It’s a chance for fans to get a glance behind the man and see the man behind the music.
His work in the studio and on stage is what has brought him prominently into the public eye, but with the release of this album, he wants his lyrics and melodies to tell the story of Sizalobuhle.
Perhaps more importantly, this album is dedicated to his mother, a woman who he says played a large role in shaping him into the man, and consequently the musician, he would become.
“Sizalobuhle is an album that I have been working on for the past three years.
The concept of the album was to give the listener a deeper or closer understanding of who Msiz’kay is as a person, where he comes from and the life that he lives.
That’s the album in a nutshell.
Sizalobuhle is an album that I have chosen to dedicate to my mum.
The title track of the album is a dedication to her and the rest of the album is also dedicated to her memory.
So, not only am I telling my story, but I am dedicating music to the person who made me and brought me into this world.
I would say that dedicating this album to my mother is my own way of honouring her and thanking her for bringing me into this world and raising me to be the person that I am and moulding me into the individual that I have become,” he said.