WAXING LYRICAL WITH NTSIKI MAZWAI

Q: How long have you been in music and how did you get into the industry? 

A: My first song to be released into the mainstream was a song called Light Up My Life in 2004 on a compilation alongside Brenda Fassie, Lebo Mathosa and Rebbeca Malope. That is when I got lost in music. Then my next song was a year later - uWRongo which was on DJ Fresh's album which went on to be best-selling song that year. Before that I had been an underground artist since 2002.

Q: Do you view yourself more as a poet or a musician?

A: I view myself as more of a musical poet. My poems come in melodies and can be translated into songs. I am a lover of words and a lover of melodies. 

Q: How has the country responded to your free spirited poetic views?

A: At any given point in time, somebody is mad at me. That takes some adjusting. However, I am such a happy-go-lucky spirit that I'm too busy picking flowers in the garden or writing open letters to let it consume me.I have come to the conclusion that what matters most, is how I feel about myself. I have also decided that they must simply ignore me if I ruffle their feathers. 

Q: Do you think South African music is poetic?

A: Yes! There is a lot of South African music the masses are not exposed to. SA music is very deep and poetic. There are times where I am exposed to music which is from here which I thought was from somewhere else. But because our radio stations play so much American music, we as South Africans don't know our own music. We only know the music of 'celebrities’.

Q: Who writes your music and what inspires the content of your songs?

A: I write my own music based on my feelings about the world. My poems and songs are an expression of what is going on around me.

Q: What do you think are the most important human rights issues that we should always be cognisant of it? 

A: I think the most important human right is the right to dignity. In any space, when a person is treated with dignity, it benefits the whole society because that person feels like they matter. In any work environment, if everybody is treated with dignity then morale and productivity will be high.

In a home, when everybody is treated with dignity then people have respect. I try to play my part by promoting human rights every day. I use my speaking platforms to address pertinent issues about matters that affect our society.

Q: How do you think Human Rights Day should be celebrated in South Africa?

A: By having more programs and messaging around the principles of “Ubuntu” throughout the year, not only on commemoration dates.

Q: How was the year 2014 for you as a musician and poet, and what can we expect from you in 2015?  

A: 2014 was a very good year for me. It is the year I started fitting into my own skin. I am starting to understand myself more, which means it's getting easier for me to express myself. In the year 2015, I am in a good space spiritually, mentally and physically. It feels like another great year is up ahead. I have started a radio gig on Radio Junto. I am on air weekdays from 8 to 10am. On my show, I play strictly South African music. This is my new form of expression. I provide a platform for local music. 

Q: How long have you been a SAMRO member and what have been your best and worst experiences with the organisation? 

A: I have been with SAMRO since 2004. I have always received great and respectful service from the organisation and for this, I am thankful. I really have not had any bad experiences, and trust that the organisation will continue in its professionalism and respectful service. 

Q: What’s your take on the importance of Copyright in music? 

A: I believe that a musician’s right to own intellectual property is very important, and one that should always be enforced. I am glad that there are organisations such as SAMRO  that help to protect our rights as music creators, as more often, our rights to own intellectual property are always abused. 

It is comforting to know that SAMRO is able to help protect our works, and enhance our right to intellectual property. 

Newsletter Edition: 
Beat Bulletin April 2015
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Ntsiki Mazwai has carved out a unique place for herself on South Africa’s music scene with her powerful combination of musical and poetic talent; and ruffled a few feathers in the process..