Top Ten SA Male Vocalists
by: Buhle Mweli - 25 October 2013
Live Mag has dug deep, searched high and low, bribed and charmed to present to you our list of kick-ass local male vocalists. Okay so maybe the process was not that dramatic. Either way these ‘young’ men, in no particular order make it easy for us to love them. Some of them are new-comers to the local music scene and some of them have been blessing us with their vocal ability for years now. Whoever you are, whatever your flavour, you’ll find someone who makes your ears smile. Leggo!
Ringo Madlingozi needs no introduction. He’s probably helped many broken hearts mend, connected people and featured in more African weddings than one cares to remember. He has perfected the art of writing and singing African love songs like no other artist, and we love him. He gave us Sondela, Ekuseni and Baleka.
He brought us “Thando“, “You make it easy to love you” and “Ngiyakukhumbula”. Lloyd Cele is proof that in the sometimes fickle music industry, looks are not everything. His cross-over music style, aspirant dance moves and powerful voice wins him our tick of approval.
“Seeing stars”, “Dragons” and “Thinking about you” are just some of the tracks that Chad Saaiman is famous for. And after mis-spelling his surname about 17 times I’ve concluded that he’s got the looks (he’s also a model ladies), the voice, and his BA degree from the University of the Western Cape makes him a smarty too. Why on earth would you not like him?
Khaya Mthethwa‘s done a great job breaking away from his idols slash PK (pastor’s kid) mold. His voice and determination has landed him a spot as the new presenter of Mzansi Magic show, Gospel Alive. The show airs officially on DSTv on the 3rd of November so we can’t tell you if he’s any good at hosting, but we can definitely vouch for his impressive vocal and instrumental skills.
He also has dreadlocks, but no, he’s not related to Chad. Brian Temba is a man who can sing about “Dominoes” and make us all pay attention. His effortless delivery and beautiful words are the reasons why he gets a star on his forehead. Fun fact: Brian played Simba for famous theatre production, Lion King for six years.
It would “Hurt so bad” if Danny K was not featured on this list. He might move like a white boy but he more than makes up for it in his awesome callabos. Think “Friday” with Mandoza, “This is my time” with Terri walker and “Made to love you” with DJ Kent. And what more can you say about a man who looks good in a suit?
RJ benjamin is that jack-of-all-trades-type-of-guy. He is a songwriter, vocalist, vocal coach and producer. He is the man responsible for Lira’s track, Iris. His voice is unique and soulful; and the house track “Change the world” is still a relevant party starter in 2013.
Kabomo was quoted as saying: “I’m not zulu, but I love zulu love songs.” And I must say he’s doing a darn good job producing timeless zulu ballads. Think “Uzobuya” and other futuristic tracks like “Colour of you” featuring Nothende. His neo-soul sound with a mash-up of afro-soul and rap makes his delivery unique and down right heart-melting. We think it’s also safe to say that his dexterity in rhyming and songwriting can be partly attributed to his journalism background. He can serenade me any day!
“Haybo nyamthanda, haybo ndyamthanda” if you’re not familiar with these lyrics then you probably fit in the younger range of Live’s target market. For the rest of us who were teenagers during Ntando‘s era (lol) we know that this is the hit track that catapulted Ntando’s status as one of SA’s best male vocalists today. His infectious ethnic voice balances traditional and afro-pop music perfectly – and again, the selection of dreadlocked males was not deliberate, true story.
Robbie Malinga is comfortable with being the guy who silently makes things happen in the background where the SA music scene is concerned. But we know his secret. Robbie is not only a singer/songwriter, producer and record label owner, he’s also responsible for shaping the music careers of most popular kwaito acts in SA. One of the few SA afro-pop pioneers, his raspy voice is timeless and his track with Kelly Khumalo ‘Sobabili” is still my favourite afro-pop song.
Where is he now? And where were you?
Joe Nina dominated the SA music scene in the 90’s and we wouldn’t mind having him back in the music industry today. He gave us “Ntombzodwa nguwe,” Sbal’ Awdeli” and “Ebunzimeni.” No one could do vernacular love songs like him. From what we hear his more recent attempts at music production have not been as successful, but we’re grateful for the musical genius he displayed all those years back nonetheless.
Go on and tell us who your male vocalist favourites are (in SA)? We want to hear from YOU! Comment here or tweet us on @LiveMagSA.