Luck is sometimes defined as the result of opportunity meeting preparation. After thousands voted nationally for Lungelo to perform at the People's Concert 2006, with Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Sean Paul and Mario, few would disagree that his shining performance left an indelible mark on everyone present. That "the boy from Gugs" was at home among the superstars on the stage asserted his bid as the next Mzantsi music great, and two months later, he was the only act to open for Kanye West in Cape Town. He has since shared the stage with the likes of Pitch Black Afro, Loyiso Bala, the late TK and Crushed and Sorted. He performed at the Johannesburg stadium at a Moroka Swallows vs Sundowns Premier League soccer match, has become the face of leading South African fashion label Darkie, and wrote the theme song for the TV comic series Supa Strikas on SABC1. He's had one of his tracks used in a Hollywood film, "Prime Evil" (to be released later this year) and will be featuring - in person and on the soundtrack - in South African film "Big Fellas" (also being released later this year). Alongside, he produced the winning South Africa Music Awards (SAMA) tracks for ProKid and international Hip Hop group Black Noise and will be producing the albums of Zambian pop idols winner Kapuka and Nigerian superstar Ashionye, early 2007. An array of Magazine articles and TV interviews have followed in his tracks, and with the release of his first album, Collision, in November 2006, the attention only intensified. The leap into the mainstream media is huge for anyone, and the spotlight Lungelo has been under is hot. The dusty streets of Gugulethu Township outside Cape Town are riddled with crime, unemployment, poverty. The focus of media attention is notoriously fickle and the leap from one world to another is big. The gap is huge. How does anyone make such a transition without at least some difficulty? More importantly, how does it affect Lungelo, the "boy from Gugs"? Well, in a sentence, and in his words, the philosophy that drives him, that is exposed through his music and that gives us an insight into his world: "Go big or go home". Those dusty streets of Gugs were the breeding ground for his love of music and performance. At eight he was performing at primary school talent shows. When he was nine he encountered the sounds of the piano at a traditional Xhosa ceremony and was entranced. And when he returned home and heard the same magical notes coming from the organ at church, he begged his family for a keyboard. As he first touched the piano keys, he says, "I felt like there was something in me that was so huge... I had to be careful and take care of it." The first lessons he got from his neighbour, Mr Matshikize, took him onto the stage at church, at primary school and then at Dale college, where he studied classical piano but outside - on the street, his friends were the beat-boxers, rappers, artists, ballers and lyricists. He was one of these cats, and here was the source of his urban inspiration. Having begun his studies in music at the Professional Music Performance and Technology College (PROMPT)), he then attended M7 - the music school founded by Abdullah Ibrahim - and added Production and Engineering to his skills. The 2002 Coca-Cola Popstars contest began his foray into the public eye in his personal style: the R&B-hiphop-ragga-Mzantsi sound that may come to be known as his own "Kasi-Soul". The hard work that followed, and that ultimately led to that national vote for the People's Concert in 2006, has paid off, big time. Since his debut album "Collision" hit the streets in October 2006, Lungelo's delicate combination of chilled township romance, bold expressions of sexuality and honest and emotional lyrics has begun to shift the public's attention, even changing attitudes about where South African music could be heading. A collaboration with producer Ryan Belfus, with it's unconventional interpretation of ragga, hiphop, R&B - "Kasi-soul" - Collision is a bold work of art. It's first single, "Andalusia" shot to number one on Goodhope FM and has since stayed on high rotation. His second single "Dirty Girl" is played on radio stations across the country and the music video is played on MTV Base and Channel O. Most recently, the attention has been from South-East Asia, where he has been invited to perform in the coming year. South Africa's music cannot be disentangled from international influences - particularly the edgy African-American genres - that are evident in Lungelo's sounds, but an authentic African core to his music glows throughout his performances and recorded music. His inspirations? Abdullah Ibrahim and Oliver M'tukudzi. No matter where his music takes him in South Africa and beyond, he will remain "the boy from Gugs", true to his roots and his heart. He'll go big, but he won't forget his home.
You May Also Like
Page 1 of