Jazz and Soul songstress, Nonkanyiso Mabaleka, who is also an actress and author says she always wanted to be in the arts industry but was afraid because she thought that it would be difficult to make a living from it.
Well-travelled Mabaleka who finally made a decision to venture into the arts industry full time in 2015 after quitting her job as a beauty therapist is slowly making her name in the arts industry.
Recently, she held her “Love Is Mellow” concert at Alliance de Française which was fairly attended showing she is on the right track. She performed cover songs as well as some of her yet to be released compositions.
In an interview, Mabaleka said: “I always wanted to venture into the arts but feared that I wouldn’t make a living out of it hence the delay. I was also uncertain of how to go about it.
“I did dabble in a few pantomimes with Bulawayo Theatre Club and tried recording, but was never happy with the music produced.”
The musician who is an author of a book titled “Mazi Awuzikhetheli Abazali Bakho” in 2016, went for vocal lessons.
“I went for my first music audition and started recording my first single after getting a guitar and vocal lessons from Filbert Marova. This helped boost my confidence.
“I then released my first single titled ‘Do you still love me’ in 2017,” she said.
The single which is available on Sound Cloud has been receiving airplay on local radio stations as well.
On why she ventured into Jazz music, Mabaleka said: “My leaning towards Jazz was inspired by my parents. They were both very musical, especially my late father. We had LPs from the likes of Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and The Commodores.”
Asked if the arts industry was paying she said it was tough but she is enjoying the journey and its challenges.
“It’s tough, but like any profession, starting out is tough especially if you’re boot strapping. I believe if one perseveres and is driven, even the arts can put food on the table,” she said.
She said she has since gotten the hang of things and is looking forward to recording her debut album this year. She is also planning to stage another show next month.
“I’m planning to record an album this year and hope to have it done by end of year, or early next year. I want to give people a great project so I’m taking my time,” she said.
However, Mabaleka said she was failing to get the right producer.
“In terms of recording, I’ve been quite frustrated because I haven’t been able to get the right producer to create the sound I need. Also, I’m working with zero finances,” she said.