Interviews Up close and personal with Asanda Mqiki

Up close and personal with Asanda Mqiki

Afro-Soul Singer and musical  director, Asanda Mqiki, presents a recognisable brand with a unique singing style. Cue spoke with this soulful personality, who has shared stages with singers such as Sibongile Khumalo. She continues to explore new arrangements of music at Festival this year.

How and when did you decide that this is what you love and want to pursue as a career? I grew up knowing that music was something I wanted to do. The realisation, however, sparked when I decided to go study at the National School of the Arts. I had always been a singer, but it all became real when I packed up my bags and went to Johannesburg. I believe there’s magic in me to share with the world. What excites you most about Festival?

Togetherness. I’ve been coming here since 2010 when I first met The Soil. Meeting up with everyone excites me, I also get to meet other artists – people I’ve always dreamt of meeting. The fact that people are just so comfortable here makes the Festival experience worth it. Who are your musical influences? Sibongile Khumalo and Rachelle Ferrell. They are both great vocalists and I often watch their videos to get a better understanding of how correct breathing and breath control work.

How did you become involved in music?

Asanda Mqiki performs at the Rhodes Club, Grahamstown, 07 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Mqiki is a product of the National School of Art and has performed in Sweden and Maputo, she explores new arrangements of old favourites as well as performing her original work. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

Asanda Mqiki performs at the Rhodes Club, Grahamstown, 07 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Mqiki is a product of the National School of Art and has performed in Sweden and Maputo, she explores new arrangements of old favourites as well as performing her original work. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

Growing up I used to listen to a lot of jazz, ballads and R&B. My friends did not like me much because I would always make them listen to my “boring” music when we were together. However, it is that kind of music that influenced me to create music that is raw and unique.

Do you have your favourite type of music and is it any different from what you sing?

I wouldn’t say it’s entirely different from what I sing, but I really enjoy R&B and soulful jazz.

What do you think makes you and your music unique?

I’m me, and everybody knows this. My sound and style are very unique in that I draw on inspiration from jazz, soul, hip hop, kwaito, and rap to create music that is contemporary and different. I’m a versatile artist and not shy to involve myself with other art forms too.

Can you recommend two artists who you feel deserve more attention?

Dave Grusin and Rachelle Ferrell. I love their music.

Lesedi Ntuli
Cue Student Reporter

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