Siya Makhuzeni’s jazz interest sparked at an age when her peers were crushing on boy bands and listening to pop and hip hop music.

The jazz heroine, is one in a few young South African’s to embark into jazz- “Soul music” as many call it. Unlike other cool kids who were always intrigued to listen to pop music, Siya Makhunzi was different. She was intrigued by Baroque records and classical music. Her interest in jazz music began when she was in high school where her record teacher suggested she join the school jazz band.

Makhunzi has since collaborated with heavyweights such as Feya Kaku, Abegail Kubeka, Carlo Monbeni, Sibongile Khumalo and many more, whilst also working on her project, Ippyfuz.

“It felt like a full circle journey. I am humbled by the experience of having started out as a student in the program, then playing professionally for 14 years with a diverse range of musicians.” 

Makhuzeni is a songwriter and vocalist who is currently recognised with the honour of being Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2016, following alumni Kesivan Naidoo and Shane Cooper to name a few. She describes her sound as ‘Cross over Jazz’. Her music is infused with elements of traditional and modern jazz, as well as traditional Xhosa music influences.

“My creative process of making music is not really set in stone. I hear a baseline then add the melody, arrangements and lyrics. Sometimes it’s the melody or chords that come first and I build something from that. Sometimes it’s the loops that set up the foundation for where the song needs to go.
“I enjoy this process because I don’t ever get bored. I have been blessed to work with a number of musicians locally, like with Themba Mkhize, McCoy Mrubata, Sydney Mnise, Andile Yeyana, Afrika Mkhize, Thandi Ntuli, Dyer Mark and many more.”

When she was asked if she thought there were enough young jazz artists on the scene, Makhunzeni says that she is pleased to know there are definitely more young artists on the scene than a few years ago – and she finds that it’s a good indication that the industry has grown greatly over the years.

The Young Artist Awards form part of the National Arts Festival programme.

The awards are regarded as the most prestigious recognition given to established South African artists of a relatively young age who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their chosen fields but who have not yet achieved national exposure or acclaim.

A key aspect of the awards is that they guarantee the artists a place on the main programme of the forthcoming festival. Apart from a cash prize, each winner receives substantial financial backing for a festival production/exhibition.

The list of past winners of South Africa’s creative talent, have since gained international recognition.

We look forward to seeing Siya Makhunzi on international stages, while also enjoying her talent here locally and we look forward to more young artists being recognised in the industry.

Categories: Entertainment News