Kelly Khumalo: Life after Senzo Meyiwa was still hard.
Kelly Khumalo appears within the latest issue of Moziak magazine where she spoke about the year she’s had.
In the interview with the web magazine, Khumalo opened about media scrutiny and being within the limelight where she said: “I mean, what am i able to say? I’m not getting to sit here and pretend to be a victim and cry over every bad thing people have said about me. I understand the life I lead and what comes with it and that i have grown skin over the years and learnt to affect it.
“Yes, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it cuts deep, except for the foremost part I even have learnt to go away them thereto . there’ll always be doubters and detractors.
However, the Senzo Meyiwa case brought the singer back to the spotlight after Police Minister, Bheki Cele said police had arrested five suspects within the murder case and leaked documents on social media suggested police were investigating Khumalo’s involvement in Meyiwa’s death.
Social media had a field day with the allegations with many weighing in on her involvement with the case.
Senzo Meyiwa and Kelly Khumalo
Tell us about The Voice of Africa, what made you select to theme your album round the continent?
This album was rooted in Africa. Anybody who knows me knows i’m proudly African and that i always encourage Africans to embrace their roots, to unite and to find out about our respective cultures.
The Voice of Africa was really me paying homage to African women, African people and telling authentic African stories using my gift – my voice. Hence the title, The Voice of Africa happened . There are tons of negative stereotypes a few lot of African things; from our unique spiritual practices, to our medicinal practices, even right down to how we view other Africans, so this album on behalf of me was also about educating my listeners about this beautiful place we come from.
Bheki Cele and Senzo meyiwa
At a time when tons of artists were delaying releases, what made you still plow ahead together with your plans?
Well to be honest, most of my album was recorded before lockdown so I wouldn’t say I experienced any delays. one among the songs, Esphambanweni, the vocalists (myself and Hlengiwe Mhlaba) recorded it at separate venues but apart from that, everything else was all done. the sole thing left once lockdown began was mixing and mastering and once that was done, we planned a release date and thankfully, we were ready to plow ahead with it.
For me, I consider myself to be an artist instead of just a musician, and once I complete a body of art I send it bent the planet and see what the reaction are going to be .
Speaking of art, are you never worried that some people will misinterpret your message, like what happened with the Empini music video where people accused you of Blackface?
Can I tell you something? I knew there would be something like that. I knew that despite all the research I had done, and therefore the historical background behind the role i used to be portraying (the Egyption goddess Bastet), there was getting to be someone who searched for the negative in it. So i used to be prepared for those blackface comments and once they happened , I simply explained my reasoning for the video. Art is usually subjective, it are often controversial but as long as you don’t have the context. Context is everything.
Do you ever think that the media and a few people within the country are just trying to find an excuse to color you during a bad light?
I mean, what am i able to say? I’m not getting to sit here and pretend to be a victim and cry over every bad thing people have said about me. I understand the life I lead and what comes with it and that i have grown skin over the years and learnt to affect it.
Yes, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it cuts deep, except for the foremost part I even have learnt to go away them thereto . there’ll always be doubters and detractors.
With the country closed (again!) does one miss performing sleep in front of an audience?
I miss it such a lot , I miss the electricity of the stage but at an equivalent time I understand why things are the way they’re . These aren’t normal times that we live in.
Once things open up across the world , what’s the one iconic venue you’d like to perform at?
Oh wow! You’re putting me on the spot here. There are numerous that come to mind, i feel i might like to do some venues across the continent. i might like to perform in West and East Africa , also as other parts of Southern Africa. If I even have to settle on one “iconic venue” … maybe Madison Square Garden in ny City.
That’s the right venue for a singer like yourself. I even have to ask about your skills as a vocalist, how did you become such a strong singer?
Thank you! I even have always said that I grew up as a gospel singer, I grew up singing within the church. once you sing in church, you learn such a lot about music and vocals and you’ve got to possess a strong voice to command that pulpit. So my church background definitely helped, then the remainder i assume is simply my natural gift.
But to be honest, I’ve been thinking of getting a vocal coach and it’s something i would like to figure on soon.
Are you joking? Shouldn’t you be the vocal coach?
[Laughs] the maximum amount as i feel i’m an excellent singer, i think a teacher could help me become even better and even more purposeful with my voice. Even Beyonce had a vocal coach. regardless of how good you’re , someone out there can still take you to subsequent level.
Well we’ve seen you sing everything from Afropop to gospel and even RnB. As you expand your range, could we ever see you performing some of SA’s current mainstream genres like amapiano and gqom?
NO! No, not me. [Laughs] Don’t get me wrong for one second, i really like both of these genres, and that i am not saying there’s anything wrong with gqom vocalists or amapiano singers in the least . It’s just not really fitted to my voice unless, I don’t know, if it’s possible to slow it down or something.
…But there are some soulful amapiano songs!
Okay, true. Let me say that I probably won’t do a gqom song, but if it had been a smooth and soulful, loungey amapiano song then maybe.
Any message to the country before 2021?
It’s been an extended year and that i know that we are all tired immediately but we still got to remain strong, remain disciplined for a few of the months ahead. It hasn’t been easy but a part of me believes the worst is behind us. Let’s just try our greatest to stay strong, remain diligent for these next few weeks or months until we’ve finally won this battle.