Name sound familiar? Well, as thousands upon thousands of fans know, Kgosinkwe is part of the hugely successful group Mafikizolo – an act that brought a new era of sophistication and benchmark-setting quality to the domestic music scene when it launched close to 12 years ago.
Now 35-years-old, Kgosinkwe occupies a position in South Africa’s entertainment scene that is, these days, pretty rare: he’s seen as a bonafide role-model for music fans with a reputation for professionalism, steely-eyed focus and perfectionism that is at odds with the tabloid-baiting antics of so many of his peers.
Theo Kgosinkwe on going solo and being SA’s answer to P Diddy and Jay-Z Solo Artists from Mafikizolo, with a latest album – described from Theo:
The album opens with "Usi sthandwa Sam", a flighty love song with a heavy marabi influence. It vividly recalls the groove of "Ndihamba Nawe" and should easily catch the attention of any Mafikizolo fan. The next few songs are similarly influenced and their sequencing, one after the other, isn't by coincidence. Theo's album is divided into three sections: songs with an Afro-pop feel make up the first; songs in the middle carry a smooth Afro-jazz/R&B vibe; the third section has a decidedly deep house groove. Theo reflects on love, beautiful people and the necessity of showing appreciation for one's blessings.
If there's a drawback, however, it has to be that the album doesn't offer enough variation lyrically. Though the music switches styles, Theo sticks to the same themes throughout the album. The lyrics then end up giving off a sense of repetitiveness and each section ends up sounding like either an Afro-pop or house variation of the same song.
So, you’ve gone solo with an album titled I am. What gives?
I wanted to show I am more than what they see in Mafikizolo. I am also a songwriter, producer and collaborator, hence the title of the album. The title came to me after reading a book where I came across the biblical meaning of “I am” and decided to make it the album’s title.
The album’s nothing like Mafikizolo...
I collaborated with other musicians so that I got a varying sound. I worked with Black Coffee who offer something completely different . I included my collaboration with Don Laka on his Invitations album, and I also worked with the band we use for our live performances to create a jazzy interpretation.
You’re looking like a gent.
Yeah, it’s the P Diddy and Jay-Z look. I wanted to get away from the Mafikizolo look wearing the fedora hats and two-tone shoes. I wanted to look like a businessman, and like a musician who can be taken seriously. I’ve grown and started my own label.
Will the solo stint interrupt your work with Mafikizolo?
Mafikizolo is too strong and in demand. All we have to do with the brand is expand it. When Nhlanhla was busy doing gigs I had to compromise and carry the load . Now that I have my solo career, she will have to do the same.
You’re the crown prince of ‘Afro-pop’. Where do you think the genre is going?
I think we stumbled into the genre, it existed with the likes of Brenda Fassie who had already made it popular — all we did was take it to the next level. Our concept was to have a female singer and two guys serenading her in the background. — Benjamin Moshatama
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