The Sunday News
URBAN grooves crooner Otis Ngwabi is back in the studio and is brewing an album he hopes will help him reconnect with his fans.
Ngwabi last released a full album in 2010 and music lovers have been yearning to hear what the soulful singer is coming up with next.
Otis, as Ngwabi is simply known in music circles, said he was ready to come out of his shell and give people a taste of his creativity.
He moved base to South Africa in 2011 and is recording his latest album in that country, at Bitbox Records in East London.
“I am working with Bitbox Records founder, Banele Moyo in producing the album and I think it is an offering that will be appealing to many. I believe it will resonate well with many music lovers because of the varied mix of the beat although the album is predominantly afro-pop, with a slow beat that has a feel of R ‘n’ B although some tracks have a tinge of jazz and there is also a gospel tune. However, as they say the taste of the pudding is in the eating, music fans will be the judges,” he said.
“My sound still stands even though I have experimented a lot since I came to SA. What I promise my fans is that they should brace themselves for a beautiful album with beautiful love songs and a bit of gospel songs too.”
Ngwabi said he had not been in a hurry to release an album as he wanted to fully engage his creative senses and come up with an appealing album.
The nine-track album will be released within two months with most of the tracks having already been recorded but are being fine-tuned through mixing and mastering.
Otis said he was releasing two singles next month before availing his full fourth album.
Ngwabi shot to fame in 2002 with the release of his first album, Inkondlo Zothando the same year, with the tune Ndiwe catapulting the then young musician to stardom.
Otis established himself as one of the foremost urban grooves musicians then, carving a niche for himself in the music scene with his slow, soulful love tunes.
He followed up Inkondlo Zothando that was produced by Babongile Skhonjwa with a self-titled album which was produced by Flash Gordon Mutekedzi in 2008 and his third offering Zulu Zulu was produced in 2010.
In 2013, he featured in a compilation album titled Zim Stars which features a number of local musicians and Otis had contributed the track, Nomzamo.
The compilation was produced by McDonald “Mc Dee” Chidavaenzi and features songs by other local urban groovers like Extra Large and Trevor Dongo.
Ngwabi also teamed up with tribal house outfit, Djembe Monks and came up with tracks such as Ingxabano and Ngoma Yorira.
Otis said the past four years have been eye-opening and his stay in South Africa had seen him pick up a few lessons.
“I think artistes must get into the music business with a broad mind, a vision and knowledge so they will be able to read through contracts and fully take charge of their brand without anyone exploiting them, because at the end of the day we all want to get returns where we have invested.
“If you fail to exploit your brand fully, other people take advantage of that and use it at your expense,” he said.