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Featured Interviews Music

Cape Town Based RnB/Soul Singer, Songwriter & Producer Nalu Brings Love In Music

Sometimes when you listen to a song for the first time, the music really gets into your soul, you feel a sense of happiness and a calm aura moves all over your body. You suddenly have a goofy smile, your head starts nodding, your body grooves and your feet can’t stop tapping. Instantly, you are in a better place.

These are the incredible sensations I felt after listening to Cape Town based RnB and soul musician producer, Nalu Luvdust. Her message is all about love and being comfortable with yourself — a reminder that things in life can be pure and simple.

I had a chat with Nalu to break it down about her musical journey to date, speak about new music on the way and what inspires her spiritually.

Hi Nalu, one with the waves. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to me about all things music today. Your music is so fresh and real, your lyrics are carefully crafted and the tracks you make are meaningful as they have a great message. What inspires you to write and make beautiful music each day?
My writing is my form of journaling. At the very moment that an emotion, experience or wave of energy passes through me — I write, immediately, whether I’m at home, in my car or out with people. I whip out my notepad and I write, because I know that whatever triggered that emotion was raw and that rawness will fuel the truth within my music. Eventually, with writing, I craft a whole concept and by translating this concept into beats and lyrics, I make peace with it — whether it be something troubling or uplifting. I allow the feeling to pass through me. Nothing is more powerful than listening to song that truly resonates with you. A song which makes you reminisce and accompanies your memories perfectly. I’m inspired by authenticity, by my experiences, observing the experiences of those around me, and the emotional analysis thereafter. The most piercingly honest works of art often make for the most soothing healing experiences – not only for the listeners, but for the artists, themselves. I find that my music is empowering to both me and my listeners. My music serves as a reminder to feel and feel fully, to allow your emotions to consume you, engage with them, be gentle with them and then, lay them to rest and flow on.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician? Was there a moment that triggered the process or did it happen naturally?
I grew up with a trombonist as a father, a pianist as a mother and a clarinetist as a older brother. I was birthed into music, into a family of musicians and dancers. My grandparents on both sides were singers at church and all my aunts and uncles were either members of the church choir or orchestra. I started singing and dance classes at the age of four at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London, and started playing the guitar at the age of eight. By the age of ten, I had written my first single – a very simple chord progression with innocent vocals – and it was then that I knew that I wanted to express myself through music for the rest of my life. I give thanks everyday for being born into a family who nurtured me through music in this way. It is one of the biggest blessings.

image of cape town basd singer, producer, and songwriter - nalu
Image credit: Katinka Beste

What do you think the Cape Town music scene needs most at the moment?
Cape Town is an extensive hub of beautifully diverse artists. From indulging in its RnB n Soul to electronic to pure jazz — I find inspiration in all of it. The biggest issue I find in this city’s music industry is the lack of accessibility for an artist to make it big, to be valued, powerful and credited for their talents. Too often I hear Capetonian artists planning to move to Johannesburg or abroad in the hopes of expanding their success. I think that we need a greater buy-in from Capetonian listeners. We really need to support our own more.

You looked like you had so much fun making the Bedtime Confessions music video, any plans to make more videos in 2019?
The Bedtime Confessions music video was so much fun! My team worked together so freely, everything was fluid. The vision that I had for that video was a true depiction of what it means to love. My team and I brought my soul and mind ideas to life in a way that surpassed my imagination. I am so grateful for being able to create something like it. I’m releasing my first mixtape in April 2019, and thereafter, some visuals and singles will be popping off! I’ve got so much cooking. Concurrently, I’m finishing my final year at university so my academic grind is going to be at an all time high this year but I’m excited to take full advantage of my free time in between to bring more colours to my sound.

Are there any local acts that really excite you at the moment, perhaps even enough to collab with?
Nothing makes me fall in love like a 7th chord in a guitar riff and some lofi distortion. Artists like Nufi, Saat and SoundsLikeLove have really mastered these music languages and I’d love to create with them. I’d also like to work with artists who have a very different sound to me; the challenge is alluring. I’m inspired by artists such as Black Coffee, Youngsta, Dwson and Bougie Pantsula. I’d love to work with rap lyricists and fellow queer womxn of colour Hanna, who featured on Bedtime Confessions, and Nyota Parker. The spiritual connection that exists when working with other queer womxn of colour is incomparable to anything. In my experience, it has always been this motion of digging deeper on a soulful level, womxn to womxn, struggle to struggle, to reach mutual enlightenment through the music.

image of cape town basd singer, producer, and songwriter - nalu
Image credit: Carl David Jones

What kind of music are you currently listening to currently, local or International, at home or while you are out and about?
I really listen to everything under the sun. Classical music helps me find clarity in my mind while 1930s jazz helps me release and engage with my emotions. Deep house makes me feel good and whole, while lofi relieves me from my anxiety. I dissociate when I listen to music. I turn off the world around me and tune into myself. This question is so tricky because I really listen to every strain of this form of art, depending on the state of my being and what I need in order to center myself.

What are you goals for the rest of the year, musically and personally, what would you like to achieve?
I can’t answer this question without giving away too much about my mixtape but know this; everything is intentional, and my purpose is light. My goals for this year both personally and musically are intertwined — I want to the people who exist in my space and listen to my music to feel heard and understood, and with that, loved. I want them to know that what they feel is valid and it can be translated into something beautiful, something pure. I’m pursuing this mission through my releases this year, but for now, everything is top secret! You’ll just have to wait and listen.

Where can we find out about your upcoming gigs and music releases?
All information about my mixtape release and upcoming gigs will be available on my Instagram and my Twitter accounts: @naludez. A Nalu Music Facebook page is under construction and will be launched with my mixtape in April 2019. Thank you for this wholesome conversation. Peace and blessings to Nusoulhub Radio and to its readers, today and every day after this.

Watch the beautiful music video for bedtime confessions by Nalu featuring Hanna.

Follow Nalu on SoundCloud and Spotify.

Featured image credit goes to Jerjus Bitumba.

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Featured Music Reviews

Introducing Thembe X: Joburg-based crooner uses his music to highlight & celebrate the beauty of black women

Johannesburg-based artist, Thembe X, is South Africa’s next R&B superstar. Thembe X is a multi-disciplined creative, who is also a seasoned and well-respected visual artist. He croons his way into the hearts of R&B lovers with a sound that could compete well in the international arena. What sits at the core of his artistry is the celebration of black women, black beauty and dismantling misogyny. His message is simple but revolutionary: black men can also be emotional, respect women and celebrate the women that give birth to them.

Thembe’s R&B is sensual, packed with emotion and allows him to be completely vulnerable. The man knows how to hold a note and tell a story, and that sets up to be one of the best up and comers we’ve heard recently. He recently released an EP called the Goddess EP, where the focus is black love, the beauty of black women and modern relationships. The EP is refreshing as it gives one insight into how young black people are interpreting, unpacking and speaking about love.

Stream the Goddess EP below.

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Featured Music Reviews

South African jazz re-imagined: Rhea Blek’s unique, modern take on jazz & artistically finessing her way into the hearts of music lovers

RHEA BLEK (real name Naledi Refiloe Makhetha) is a South African treasure. The Durban born and bred artist is a breath of fresh air and a rising force in the South African urban music scene. With an unmatched, inimitable style, the young sister does what many cannot do – capture the ears and hearts of listeners after one listen of her music. That’s rare and an undisputable indication and display of talent.

Hailing from the beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal coastal city, Durban, affords her the opportunity to immerse herself in the progressive arts and culture scene in the region. Rhea blek’s rise in the music scene comes at a time where Durban is becoming a focal point for unearthing talent to shake up the local music industry. Acts like Red Robyn, Victoria Raw, Muzi and ByLwantsa are breaking through and receiving much acclaim for their work. One of the biggest artists to come out from this new generation of Durban acts is Shekinah, who now has won multiple SAMA awards for her Rose Gold album. The interesting thing about what RHEA BLEK and her peers do is how their gifted to show a different side of city and offer something unique to the South African listener.

RHEA’s first shot in breaking into the industry was through her three-track EP titled THIIIRD WAV – a ground-breaking body of work that thrust the young artist before the eyes and ears of South African music lovers. The EP was a mixture of all the sounds that inspire her, you can hear traces of R&B, pop, neo soul and very strong jazz influence. Media platforms that cover and champion alternative music went crazy, all covering her as a new act that was to shift perspectives in the urban music scene. We vehemently agree with all the media platforms that co-signed her. He ascent is passion-driven and is happening organically, which is a beautiful sight to see as she blossoms into the artist she is destined to be.

Her end goal is to become a professional recording musician, establish a record label and management company and release multiple albums. She’s not only working on becoming an innovative musician, but she also has plans on becoming an entrepreneur in the music industry. As a performing artist, she has rocked crowds at major events such as Woke Arts and We Are One Music Festival, spaces that are very progressive, inclusive and safe for different types of people.

She is an artist that has a bright future, full of potential and a lot to offer to the world. With new music coming out soon, we can only imagine how much she is going to amaze us.

Listen to her THIIIRD WAV EP below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Meet Thoko Namuya: Dynamic LA-based Southern African artist taking the world by storm

Every once in a while, an artist comes along and turns your world upside down, and reminds you why you music is such a vital part of human existence. Sure, the music industry consistently churns out music from old and new artists, but what’s rare these days is music that is genuinely real in composition. Music that allows the composer to be vulnerable, sincere and open. That’s rare, expression in its rawest form is difficult to come by nowadays.

LA-based Southern Africa audio engineer and vocalist, Thoko Namuya, who grew up in Zambia and South Africa, is an artist relishing in her truth. A truth that affords her an opportunity to express herself without conforming to the pop world, and in doing so she is able to build a fan base that she can age with and curate personalised, meaningful experiences for. Stylistically, she can easily remind you of soulful artists such as Sarah Vaughn, Erykah Badu and Esperanza Spalding.

Her sound is rich in textures drawn from contemporary Jazz, R&B and Neo-Soul complemented by African melodies, rhythms and harmonies. With this very sound comes ‘Fallin’, her breakout single which has gifted her local and global acclaim, from international music blogs to being played on one of South Africa’s biggest alternative music radio show headed by Kid Fonque, Selective Styles.

Thoko is undeniably a treasure, one that we should champion, support and be grateful for, as she is setting new standards for music in Southern Africa.

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Culture Featured Music

Irv Blames Jake launches Tree 63, a new radio show focused on delivering audio illusions

Soweto-based videographer and DJ, Irv Blames Jake, has launched a new online radio show called Tree 63 – Audio Illusions. The show is designed to communicate Irv’s unique taste in music, how he sees music and how he interprets music. The radio show is designed to be an experience and the guests on the show are to be selected to strengthen the concept of the show. Educating people about music that they typically wouldn’t hear on traditional media platforms sits at the core of the main idea behind Tree 63.

Image credit: Irv Blames Jake

The online radio show is set to have monthly episodes which feature a guest or guest mix from a creative that has a unique sound.

Listen to the first show below. It features Joburg-based spinner, Al Da 3rd.

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Featured Music Reviews

Meet Namibia’s AliThatDude: Fresh, creative reformer pushing beyond artistic thresholds in Southern African urban music culture

Namibian artist, AliThatDude, needs no introduction as he is an act that has performed at some of the biggest festivals in the world. An act, more famously known as part of innovative Experimental Hip Hop outfit, Black Vulcanite. In 2018, he primarily makes moves in the music world as a solo artist with backing from Cape Town’s Rude World Records, the vision seems to be same but this time around he’s using a different lens to view the world. Push musical boundaries, introduce the African listener to fresh sounds, use his voice to connect people and have fun, are clear goals which you can pick up from the music Ali makes.

The Cape Town based artist is gearing up release an EP called Mood Ring on the 29th of May through his label. The new project is to follow a string of dope SoundCloud releases that AliThatDude has been releasing to psyche up his fans and introduce them to a new sound. A sound that has him singing more on new age, future-beats influenced production which allows him to build a completely new world for his fans. Will he stick to the same direction and trajectory on his soon to be released project? We don’t know but what we can be sure of is the quality of the music will be world-class and the concepts will be second to none.

Image credit: Rude World Records

Stream Burnt Orange by AliThatDude below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Talented South African sketch comedian, Okay Wasabi, releases “With Love From Marabastad”

Multi-talented sketch comedian and digital content creator, Okay Wasabi, is undoubtedly the most entertaining South African personality on the internet. Positioned as the go-to-guy for organic and authentically South African content, Okay Wasabi captures mostly black millennials and gen Zs looking for funny and relatable content. From the skits, to his Kota-focused Youtube show Kota Past 9 and his vlog with his beautiful girlfriend Sasha, Okay Wasabi has won the hearts of the South African youth.

Watch: Undoubtedly the best parody to come out of SA in the last 5 years. Quote me on this!

With a strong and growing name on the internet streets, it’s only right for him to expand his content offering by fully venturing into music with a touch of comedy. Music is the perfect type of content for drawing in new listeners and supporters, as it does not only entertain but gives the listener the power to attach the music to memorable moments and emotion.

READ: Dali Danger drops ‘LAP DANCE’ featuring ENKEI.

Okay Wasabi has always dabbled in the music space, with his first successful project “They Know Me In Soshanguve” which was followed up by “Lost In Attredgeville” which was released through Slikour On Life. The fascination with the hoods from Pretoria is probably one of the most stand-out aspects of these releases and this purely motivated by how much support he has received from Pretoria since he started sharing his content online.

This year, for his 24th birthday, he dropped ‘With Love From Marabastad’ – an RnB project. The project is as conceptual as they come, carrying themes centered around love, dating while broke, the struggles of a young black creative hustling in Johannesburg and all of this is packaged as a comedic body of work. Genuis, if you ask me! The project was mostly executive produced by BTM (don’t ask me what the abbreviation is, Lol) from Strobe Light Records – an East Rand based collective and label – and additional production from B1 from Dipopaai Studios and KaeB from STAY COZY GROUP. With this project, Okay Wasabi moves away from rap and completely flips everything by delivering a solid RnB offering.

The tape features some of Wasabi’s frequent collaborators like ENKEI, Thiaps, Neruda and his best friend, Dali Danger. As much as this may be a parody project, it surpasses many drops in the urban music category when it comes to quality. And Wasabi’s singing is not too bad too!

The standout tracks from wlfm are ubani lo, speeding (the reaction to this song at the wlfm listening session was amazing), azibuye and pls call me. All in all, a solid project. Absolutely phenomenal! Sleep on this and stay behind.

Vosloorus “1475, the hood where skinny niggas die and iy’dudla multiply” should be proud!

Listen to With Love From Marabastad:

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

#TheForeground: TAWVN is a South African singer you cannot afford to sleep on

South African singer, TAWVN, is a breath of fresh air. Armed with a beautiful, smooth and soothing voice, she mesmerises music lovers looking for something new and progressive. A formally trained musician, who doesn’t only carry higher education stripes but is also winning the hearts of the youth of South Africa.

TAWVN’s unique selling point is how she approaches music, with a style that is informed by the styles musical marvels like Jamiroquai, Angélique Kidjo, Janelle Monae and Jabu Khanyile. With a solid grounding, she creates music that transcends geographic borders and race – allowing people from different backgrounds to relate and connect.

One of the most interesting things about TAWVN’s music career is how quick she has managed to get herself attention from youth-focused station – YFM. TAWVN is definitely a South African act that you cannot afford to sleep on.

Stream the ‘Promise’ on SoundCloud:

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Featured Music Reviews

PREMIERE: Rising Nigerian star, zarionuti, drops “FINITO” featuring AYLO

Atlanta, Georgia based Nigerian artist, zarionuti, is innovative and on a journey to create the next African sound. Being based in America does not weaken his connection to the continent, in fact he is gifted a sense of pride that he can fearlessly display as he takes on the first world. Armed with an unshakeable spirit and a knack for creativity, zarionuti challenges conventions set for African music. A perfect example of a true world citizen, zarionuti pushes himself to create music that connects the world and music that is unapologetically African.

We were given the honour and the privilege to premiere the young singer’s latest single titled FINITO featuring AYLO. It’s a West African affair headed by two impressive Nigerian artists that are breaking boundaries.

Stream ‘FINITO‘ below:

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: UK songstress, HURU, drops a sensual new single to kick off 2018

London-based singer/songwriter HURU is one of the best black British artists to come out of the UK in the last two years. With her avant-garde style and aesthetic, she draws you in with her aura and her soothing voice. Stylistically, the music she makes could be regarded as alternative because of how it sounds and the topics she chooses to challenge generally do not fit into the general pop mould.

On her latest release, she speaks about love and time, and the understanding that is required to make a relationship work.

We were given the privilege and the honour to premiere this brilliant song which you can stream below: