MUZI RELEASES 5TH STUDIO ALBUM ‘uMUZI’
Featuring New Single ‘Queen’ with Coldplay’s Chris Martin
MUZI, the South African multidisciplinary artist, has released his fifth studio album titled ” uMUZI” via Fool’s Gold. This album is described as an autobiographical collection that delves into Muzi’s life and how it shaped his unique universe. uMUZI serves as his origin story chronicling pivotal moments in his life, from his parents first date to his experiences with homelessness and his complex relationship with his father. One notable collaboration on the album is with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who sings in Muzi’s native language Zulu, on the track ‘Queen’. The album also features appearances from British rapper The Last Skeptik on ‘ Milk & Honey’ and South African guitarist Madala Kunene on ‘A Letter To Zeno’. ‘uMUZI’ showcases Muzi’s ability to infuse a global energy into his music while maintaining a strong connection to his South African traditions and native Zulu language. The album invites listeners to join Muzi on an imaginative and heartfelt journey through his past, exploring his experiences, inspirations and creative evolution. It’s now available for streaming accompanied by the documentary, allowing fans to dive deeper into Muzi’s artistic and personal journey.
Born and raised in South Africa, you’re a multidisciplinary artist but were in med school before getting into music. What happened during this transition, and what moved you to focus on music and the arts in the first place?
I went to med school because I had good grades, not because I loved it. When my scholarship ended after three years, I figured I would go for my dreams rather than get a job to pay tuition fees for something I didn’t want to do. I think it was more of my mom’s/teacher’s dream than it was my own.
What is your background in general? Living and growing up in South Africa, who are the musical figures most vital to you that have shaped you musically?
I grew up in a township called Ngwelezane in Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal. I had a very humble beginning, but my house was always warm and full of laughter. My mom could hide it very well that we were poor in a monetary sense. I grew up in a very musical family, my mom was a singer when she was younger, and my dad collected a lot of vinyl albums, which means I was hearing a bit of every genre as a kid. Artists like Faithless, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Brenda Fassie, Madala Kunene, Steve Kekana, some hip hop in there, some gospel, everything.
Congratulations on your forthcoming LP, “uMuzi,” out on October 13th. This album encapsulates memories and your essential bond with your roots. Can you describe the creative process and your overall vision?
Thank you. The creative process was a long one because of how personal it is. These stories aren’t just my own and my family’s, so I had to do right by them. This takes a long time because I’m writing everyone’s (in my family) story. It’s not just about me and my parents. It also includes my siblings because it’s their parents too. So it was essential to see them (in their entirety as was making made the album.
In a few words, what does each track represent to you?
The album in itself is a road trip. So, if the road trip starts at dawn, it ends in the evening. The most intense songs (Light and Problems) are when the sun shines brightest. They were intense because they were not easy to write and complete and were the hardest ones for me to listen back to sometimes.
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered while working on the album? What are some memorable moments you’ve experienced? In and out of the studio.
Making the album took me about two and a half years to finish. Before I even started creating, the first part was identifying my emotions before creating around them. This took almost a year of just me processing everything that had happened and seeing how I would move forward. Having that patience with your art can get tricky because you don’t know when it’ll be finished. That feeling was unnerving at times for me. Shooting the visuals was also challenging. We did that over five days in the woods. Waking up before sunrise was not my favorite part, but it taught me a lot about discipline and commitment to my vision.
You’ve experimented with new outboard gear for this project. Could you tell us more about the equipment and the latest techniques you incorporated for the music composition?
I used the microKORG synth a lot because I wanted the album to sound like it was made in the 80s/90s, reflective of my experiences with my family. That meant a lot of back and forth between my computer and my outboard gear—Analog to digital to analog to digital.
From your previous album, ‘INTERBLAKTIC,” which tackles some rough moments you have experienced, one being homelessness; looking back, what would you tell to your past self? What have you learned, and what message would you like to share with your supporters worldwide?
You have to stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. You also have to be kind to yourself. You are not your environment, meaning your surroundings don’t have to dictate how you live your life going forward. You don’t have to repeat the hardships that made you. You can choose another path.
I wouldn’t tell my younger self anything. He made the right choices.
This brings me to this question: What significant values would you like to transmit with your music and newest project?
It’s okay to be the most authentic, true version of yourself, and it’s okay to reach out to your community and build with them. I don’t want to succeed alone, and I don’t feel anyone should have to go on their journey alone.
What are your hopes for this album, and where do you see yourself performing in the upcoming months?
I hope it reaches the people who need to see/hear it, but I usually have no expectations with these things because I see it as something out of my control. I do my best artistically, put it out there creatively, and let things be. I pay more attention to my next step than to the entirety of my future. I’d love to play in other African countries and build with the larger family there.
WATCH ‘QUEEN’ OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO BELOW
MUSIC EDITOR: JOIAH LUMINOSA