Sands’ song, “Tigi”, continues to enthral audiences and remains atop of most Mzansi’s music charts, but this is just the beginning for the Swaziland-born singer.
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
Main Photo: Masterpic
Sands has swiftly crooned his way into the hearts of many since releasing his single, Tigi. The song – which he sings in siSwati – is so disgustingly catchy that it has put the nation in a light trance.
“This is very surprising because Swati is still one of the most over-looked languages.
“That is why it is amazing to have people celebrating a song that is purely in siSwati, and I am grateful to have been the vessel for that,” he tells Blacklight.
Despite achieving a feat that many musicians from Swaziland only dream of, Sands says he does not feel any pressure.
“There is still a lot in store in terms of the music,” he shares.
“I believe I have an album that has many great songs, and so I don’t feel any kind of pressure. In fact, I am so excited to share more music from the album.”
Sands – born Sandziso Matsebula – may be currently trending, but he still maintains a timid demeanour. When I meet him at Chalkboard, in Maboneng, Johannesburg, he seems to be adapting to his new-found fame.
The young-star is quite reserved and softly spoken.
“It’s been quite a journey, ” he says.
“If you are going to rely on your talent to make a living, it has to go through a process of purification. And I have been through an extensive purification process.
“That process taught me to connect with the spirit of the music and not be too much in my head, because the best music comes from the soul. It is spiritual. It’s like a ritual, and you have to allow yourself to go to that deep place in order to truly feel it.”
The 27-year-old has been in deep pursuit of a music career since he was young. His passion for music is so palpable that one can’t help but think that his success might not be a fluke.
“I knew music would be my career when I started getting paid to sing and that was five years ago,” he reveals.
“I had always wanted to be a singer but being paid to do it was sort of like a motivation to take it more seriously. When you get paid to do something, it means people acknowledge the value in what you do.”
Sands has already made a name for himself in Swaziland. He earned his stripes by performing his own songs at corporate events and has also played at the renowned House on Fire, a performing arts theatre in Swaziland, which also hosts the annual music festival, MTN Bush Fire.
Even though his two singles, Vuma and Tigi, achieved major success in his homeland, he says the music scene in Swaziland is not as developed as it is in South Africa.
“There is actually so much talent in Swaziland, it’s almost unbelievable,” he gushes.
“The singers are very sentimental about their music. The music is so pure, and such a breath of fresh air.
“I would say there is more potential because we haven’t reached our height, as an industry, but with more time, I believe we will.”
Sands describes the process of creating his debut album, Sands of Time, as quite seamless as he has grown to become quite a prolific songwriter.
He cites the origins of mankind as the inspiration behind the title.
“The music on the album is so natural and very inspired by life, and so the title Sands of Time, was a perfect match,” he explains.
The album is getting a lot of praise on social media, with many praising his silky and soulful vocals and songwriting flair.
His instant fame may have thrown him into the limelight but he insists that he still enjoys his space.
He reveals that he grew up alone, without any siblings, and had to learn to enjoy his own company.
“I only had siblings around when I was older,” he explains. “I have two siblings from my mother’s side and three siblings from my father’s side.
“Because I grew up alone I had to entertain myself and that’s how I became a creative person. You just have your imaginary friends as company, hahaha. Hence today I am still pretty much a loner.”
With his scheduled becoming increasingly clogged, he says he spends little time with his family. He currently commutes between Swaziland and Johannesburg, which can be quite daunting at times. However, he is adamant that he is ready for what lies ahead.
“I acknowledged it before it even came to be because I envisioned it,” he says.
“The moment there is that click and you connect with something, and find yourself constantly being redirected to it, you learn to take it all in – along with everything it comes with it.”
Sands seems to have quite a solid plan for his career and hopes to become an artist that paves his own way. He shares that he wants to work hard so he can retire at some point.
“We must strive to work just enough to be able to retire.
“I want to get to a point where I can choose the things I want to do, how I want to do them and when I want to do them. That’s called freedom, man,” he says.
As for now, he just wants to use this momentum to share the music from his album. He states that Tigi is just a tip of the iceberg.
“What’s most important to me, is to ensure that the music always comes first.”
Sands’ debut album Sands of Time is available on iTunes and at all leading music stores.