Premiere: Umlazi born artist, Umaah, releases the Sheila EP, an exploration of modern African womxnhood
Umlazi born singer-songwriter, Umaah, is one of the freshest, breathtakingly talented up and coming artists to come out of South Africa this year. She’s an artist that does not fit into any conventional music industry category, in fact in her artistic presentation she defies all commonplace industry norms by being authentic in how expresses herself.
Formally trained as a fashion designer, she fully understands the practice and structure of creativity, and as a self-taught musician, she uses what she has learned in her formal training to create her music. Her new EP, Sheila, gives us a glimpse of how she approaches music – a mix of a strategic, structured, physical effort and a spiritual, ancestor-guided and emotive effort. Creatively, she presents herself bare, bold and focused as she places womxnhood, African spirituality and unhindered expression on display for the world to see.
The Sheila EP is special to her because it serves as her first official release and it is named after of her grandmother. The EP oozes of matriarchal energy and is experimental in composition. With the voice that she possesses, she could have easily settled for R&B, soul or neo-soul, but she choice to creatively lean on electronica, a genre that knows no creative bounds. As much as she took the electronica route, traces of Hip Hop, soul and R&B can be heard in the new EP.
When describing the process of creating the EP, she says the following: “I found the process of creating Sheila to one of trust, trusting myself and trusting everyone who helped me open up heartedly to see it all into fruition”. For this project, she had to trust herself and her collaborators, and also allow her lead producer, Micr. Pluto, to guide her appropriately through the creative process. The EP consists of four tracks, with seventy-five percent of the project produced by Micr. Pluto and the rest is handled by Eye-on-Feather.
The EP is released under SubWav, one of Johannesburg’s most left-field and progressive labels pushing beat-focused, electronic music.
Stream the Sheila EP on SoundCloud below.
Stream/Buy the Sheila EP on Bandcamp below.