Conversation with Kabomo …

Kabomo Vilakazi (also known simply as Kabomo) is a South African writer, poet, editor, musician, producer, artist manager and actor best known for his first single, Uzobuya, which was released in 2012; and his subsequent album All Things Grey. He is also known for editing Y-Mag and Uncutt Magazine and contributing to True Love Magazine and for producing albums for such artists as Kelly Khumalo and Thiwe.

He has opened for international artists Louie Vega, Vikter Duplaix, Josh Milan and Bilal and has shared stages with Questlove of the Roots, Kaos, Angelique Kidjo, K’naan and Saul Williams. As a sought after producer/songwriter he has made songs for artists such as Tshepo Tshola, Unathi, Aya, Kelly Khumalo, Thiwe, Nothende, Flabba, The Fridge, Flatoe, Pebbles, Zubz, Dineo Moeketsi, Sound&Experience, RB collective and many others.

He made his acting debut as Jazzman’s accountant Herbert, who doesn’t know any details about the actual crimes and who just keeps the businesses clean, in the Mzansi Magic soap opera Zabalaza …

Q: What is like to be a man in the modern day South Africa?

It’s not different from being a human in modern day South Africa. There aren’t many things left that are designed specifically for men and this is a good thing. I love that I have a voice that is not limited and silenced, my entire existence is based on my expression. I love that I live in a country that doesn’t throw me in prison or kill me for speaking openly about my things that might even offend my leaders. That’s what true freedom is about and this beautiful country allows me that.

Q: How has technology changed music and how we consume music?

The positives are that it’s quicker to get the music in the ears of the consumer. I can finish a song today and have it on iTunes tomorrow morning. That cuts down the old school process by months. I love that. I love that I have access to music from across the world on my phone. That also makes for a far more open minded audience – a critical audience – an audience that knows what they deserve. The upside to technology is that it’s way easier to get ripped off as an artist. People whatsapp each other our music, there are websites dedicated to giving our music out for free. It is what it is.

Q: Do you know what Feminism is about and do you think everyone else knows what it actually means?

I thought I did that for a long time, but the more I grow I realise that I don’t. For me what is important about feminism is balancing out humanity. The world was programmed to favor men. Feminism aims to balance out things that things (land, wealth, power, money, decision making) is shared fairly amongst the genders. i support that – that is vital.

Q: You have a new album, please tell us more about it.

My new album is called SEKUSILE. it’s a first of many from me. It’s a first album where every instrument is live. There is zero programming on this album. From drums, to piano, to guitars, to bass lines, it is all live instruments. This sound has grown immensely. I have never been comfortable being known exclusively as a neo soul/hop-hop artist. So this album allowed me to play in adult contemporary with a slight of jazz here and there. A lot of harmony and a lot of brass. And I wrote the entire album in zulu. I am not Zulu, but I certainly love how that language expresses love. It’s a first album I do without any guest artists. For those who know me, will know how crazy that is. My first album ALL THINGS GREY had 9 featured artists and my second MEMORY REMAINS had 17 featured artists. So to do an album without any featured artists is a big deal. It was important though that I trust in my own instincts and know that I can stand by myself and still be able to tell a clear story.

Q: How different is it from All Things Grey (our favourite of yours by the way) and Memory Remains?

There is no hip-hop basically I don’t rap. There aren’t those Dilla type beats on it. It’s a brand new sound for me. I made the album with 42 instrumentalists and singers. Each song has a live energy to it. I am not just making music for heads only, I am making music for music and their parents as well. I wanted to grow so I allowed myself that.

Q: What are your thoughts on streaming music?

I am all for it. I feel people should use whatever means they can to hear the music. Music is meant to be listened to by people who love it. if your way is streaming, then be it.

Q: In your own words, what is the role of a man?

To provide and to protect his family by all means necessary.

Q: Are you a traditionalist?

I respect tradition. It is the foundation of what we are about as a people. But above tradition, I am about God, love and humanity. I am about community and being able to bless the next man.