His single, “Tigi”, continues to enthrall audiences while occupying top positions in the Mzansi music charts – but this is only the beginning for 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 the whole nation singing along.
“It’s very surprising because siSwati is still one of the over-looked languages. To be able have people celebrating a song that is purely in siSwati is amazing and I am grateful to be the doorway for that,” says the singer.
“If you are going to rely on your talent to make a living, it has to go through a process of purification. I have been through an extensive purification process. ” – Sands
The success of “Tigi” has inspired a new fascination with siSwati and has made many take note of musical treasures that may exist in Swaziland.
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 my album has a lot good music and so I don’t feel any kind of pressure. In fact, I am so excited to share more music from the album.”
Sands – Sandziso Matsebula – may currently be on everyone’s lips but he still maintains a boy next door demeanour. When I meet him at Chalkboard, in Maboneng, he seems a bit weary. He is dressed immaculately in a casual jean ensemble, complimented by trendy round sunglasses. The young-star is quite reserved and softly spoken.
I joke and ask, “are you shy?”.
“What have you noticed,” he responds with a giggle.
After sharing a series of jokes, he eventually relaxes and gets more candid about his musical journey.
“It’s been quite a journey, like all other singers,” he reveals.
“If you are going to rely on your talent to make a living, it has to go through a process of purification. I have been through an extensive purification process.
“That process taught me to focus more on the spirit of music and not be in my head too much because music comes from the soul. It is spiritual. Ingoma is very hard to categorise or even explain. It’s like a ritual and you have to allow yourself to go to a 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 striking that you can’t help but think that his success is no fluke.
“I knew music would be my career when I started getting paid to sing and that was five years ago,” he laughs.
“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 also appeared at the famous House on Fire, which hosts the annual music festival, The MTN Bush Fire.
“The music on the album is so natural and very inspired by life and so the title, Sands of Time, was a perfect match,” – Sands
His two singles Vuma and Tigi achieved success in his homeland but he admits that the music scene in Swaziland is not as advanced 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 that high level, yet, but with more time I believe we will.”
Sands describes the process of creating his debut album, Sands of Time, as quite seamless because 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 highlighting his impressive soulful voice and songwriting style.
Watch the music video for his smash-single “Tigi”:
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 when I was older. I have two siblings from my mother’s side and three siblings from my father’s side,” he explains.
“I lived on my mother side and it’s only now that I am familiar with everyone.
“Because I grew up alone I had to entertain myself and that’s how I became a creative person. You have your imaginary friends (ha ha ha). Hence today I am still pretty much a loner.”
The rather reserved singer says he doesn’t spend much time with his family because of his busy schedule. He currently commutes between Swaziland and Johannesburg, which he says can be quite daunting at times.
The rising star isn’t fazed by his growing popularity because he prepared himself.
“I acknowledged it before it even came to be because I envisioned it,” he says.
“The moment there is that click and you connect to something, and find yourself constantly being redirected to it, you learn to take all that it comes with. That’s what pushes you to work hard on it. Right now, I would say I am just grateful that it has reached this level.”
Watch the video for Sands’ second single “Vuma”:
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 is that the music must always be first,” he concludes.
Sands’ debut album Sands of Time is available on iTunes and all leading music stores.