03 Aug Singing is a passion with Letta Mbulu and Thandiswa Mazwai
It’s sometimes difficult to remember that your heroes have their own heroes. In this remarkable conversation with two of South Africa’s legends from different eras, Thandiswa Mazwai expresses to Letta Mbulu “Mama, I wanted to have this conversation with you for a long time.” She goes on to talk about the impact that Letta had on her life as a young artist. She knows all the albums, loves all the songs and you don’t run out of songs from one of the most prolific songwriters of all time. In talking about legacy this Women’s Month, there are not many on the same level, so it’s a privilege to learn from two of the greats.
“I’ll be singing when I’m dying” – Thandiswa Mazwai
Not even exile could hold back Letta, who once she arrived in the USA, joined forces with Harry Belafonte and went on several world tours. It’s impossible to not be whiplashed when reading the multiple awards Thandiswa Mazwai has won in her career. From the beloved band Bongo Maffin, to her own staggering solo career, she has won almost everything as her albums sold in their millions.
Both Letta and Thandiswa share the same drive and the same passion for what they do. They were driven, not by money but by an innate desire to create, to make music. Letta advises young artists to really search, to think before you plunge in. “Think about what you really want to do. Do you want to sing because you feel this thing inside or because you can make money?” Making money is a goal for many. If that is your goal, perhaps look at how you want to achieve that goal? If it is in music, then find what you are passionate about within the industry and do that.
Letta and Thandiswa always loved the music, and loved singing, it made them feel good, even when in the beginning she “got chowed” by fast-talking people in the industry. She loved doing it, she found lawyers and got to saving money … but she still just loved singing, and that is what drives her to this month.
Creating a legacy with Letta and Thandiswa is all about the love for music.