Let me introduce you to the future of South African music – at only 19 years of age Makhosazana Masango known as Azana is already out here securing the number #1 spot in the country on Apple Music’s Pop Chart, and charted across all genres on Apple Music Top 100 in South Africa, eSwatini and Botswana. How many 19-year-olds can say the same? She is showing us that with hard work and determination, anything is possible – as well as having a successful music career she’s also studying for a law degree. When they say women can do it all, we really can do it ALL!
My love for afro- soul grows stronger every day! A true queen with the voice of royalty, proudly proclaiming “I am Queen” her sound is largely influenced by black musicians both past and present with a penchant for activism, pride and intuitive songwriting. 2020 saw her career take off with hit singles like “Your Love” and “Ngize Ngifike” with each song climbing the ranks in the charts!
Her Debut Album INGOMA begins with the prayer-like “Okhokho” on which she draws to her ancestors which was such a beautiful way to start her album off, I think most South Africans can appreciate this subtle tribute to our culture. Then we have the genre-bending song “Egoli” which talks about her journey to Joburg, then we have my favourite from the entire album – “Bafazi” directly translating to women, it reminds us of our innate power and just how incredible we are! Her entire album speaks of love, loss and ambition – everything that we need and more to keep us going in these uncertain times!
Which artists would you say has influenced your choice of sound the most?
Uhmm Simphiwe Dana, Simmy, it’s just a mixture of everyone really and of course, the people that I work with, so that’s why the sound is the way it is because it’s a mixture of my vibe and theirs. I love their vibe so much, so it just gelled.
Which out of neo- soul, afro-pop and house is your favourite to produce?
The slower songs, I find it really natural to sing on fast beats but the slower ones have a special place in my heart because those are very deep to me, so soul.
Ingoma means song in English, why did you call your debut album this?
The reason I chose that title is because I’m into Solange a lot, Solange’s art is very simple but it still has a lot of meaning to it, a lot of symbolism. So when I say just it song, it doesn’t mean just a song, it means healing, it means happiness – it’s me taking a word that is as simple as a song and putting so much into it and have a whole ablum called ingoma but it’s just not that – that’s the message I am trying to bring to light, that it is not just a song but so much more than that.
This ablum symbolises the beginning of many things for me, it’s the introduction to Azana.
The intro track is “Okhokho” where you draw to your ancestors? Are you a traditional person and would you be able to tell us more about the song?
I am traditional to an extent – I do rebel when it comes to certain ideas and teachings in our culture, like how we were always made to believe that the man is bigger than the woman and that women aren’t capable of doing certain things, so I am very in love with my culture. I love what it stands for and I am tradition, I do believe in ancestors and that was a part of me that I wanted to bring out in my album and share with the world.
The song was actually me acknowledging my deceased brother that I knew personally and while I was acknowledging him, I was like “yo, say hi to the other ancestors!” That’s basically the song.
When did you finally decide that you were going to pursue your music career and move “Egoli?”
I think I had made the decision a long time ago, it was just the opportunity that came. I always knew that I was going to do this but I just needed a platform and once I got it, I just took it so it was more of an opportunity than a decision, cause the decision was made a long time ago.
What did you learn from working with all these amazing people like Mthunzi?
Being able to communicate with people because working with creatibes you have to realise that they put a lot of heart and soul into what they do so you have to watch how you talk to them because they are understandably very sensitive with their art. And just enjoying what you’re doing, not thinking about it too much because it’s music.
How did it feel to secure the #1 Spot in the country on Apple Music’s pop chart?
I was so happy, I didn’t take it t heart, to be honest with you, but I was really happy! It’s a blessing, it’s amazing, it’s beautiful!
Why was it important to you to include lyrics in isizulu?
It comes naturally to me, when I express myself in zulu it’s easier.
Which musicians do you look up to the most and why?
Umsaki because of her lyrics and how arty she is, I like her whole image and the whole weird vibe she has going on, I LOVE it so much and she inspires me.
Beyonce because of her efforts and how feirce she is. Simmy because I have got to know her on a personal level and g to to understand some things about her too, that’s why I cherish those people so much.
How was it working with Sun El on Uhuru?
It was very beautiful, I got to write in a very comfortable space and it was just amazing. We gelled and it was very natural.
So, you’re juggling school as well as music? What are you studying and how are you handling both?
It is so hard but it’s doable. I am currently studying law, I am really interested in family law because I love children.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Oh my word! Oh my word! Where do I see myself?
I see myself still doing music but I hope to branch out to many things in the music industry, so in terms of my career I’d really love to branch out. In 10 years time, I’ll be 19, so naturally I’d also love a family.
Listen to her new album here;