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Malatji Still A Force To Be Reckoned With

Since his introduction to the music industry with his well packaged contemporary afro jazz sound, Malatji has had a fair share of music awards nominations including, the South African Music Awards and Metro FM Music Awards.

Not only has the talent gone to sign with one of the biggest labels in the world, Sony Music, he has also had a privilege to work with popular jazz musician, Selaelo Selota on his albums, Stories Lived & Told and Azanian Songbook.

Recently, Music Link had an opportunity to sit with the musician and talk about his musical career, from being signed to Sony, going independent and many other industry related issues.

Question: Let’s take it back to the beginning, what inspired you to pursue music as a career?
Answer: Music was the only thing I know and love with all my heart. I had no option but to take this route.

Q: How was the journey like, when wanting to get into the industry?
A: It was a bumpy ride. I remember sleeping under a bridge in downtown Jozi so that I could submit my demo in the morning.

Q: You were once signed to Sony, how did that happen?
A: I was lucky to meet Selaelo Selota at the Puisano Jazz programme, an initiative by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation. He felt he couldn’t do my project alone and suggested that Sony would be the ideal partner and it so happened that Sony liked my music, and we worked well together.

Q: You have continued to predominately sing in your mother tongue; how has this move helped you to get into the mainstream music industry?
A: Balobedu are humble people and that inspired me to sing in Khelobedu. There’s not much competition singing in Khelobedu, especially in my genre and this adds a special magic to my music. I get great pleasure in preserving the language of the royal rain-making queen, Queen Modjadji.

Q: You have been nominated for both SAMAs and Metro FM Music Awards, what do you think makes your music stand out?
A: My music is new. I have not known anyone that does it in Khelobedu like the way I do it. It’s a mixture of old Khelobedu folk songs that I translate into afro jazz. It is indeed unique and special.

Q: With so much music piracy and drop in CD sales, how do you keep the business side of your career afloat?
A: By going to the people more often. There’s still a lot of good music buyers and lovers of our music. As a musician, all I need to do is to go to where the people are at and sell them my music.

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