A legend’s shadow

2013-03-31 10:00

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Last weekend I was asked to perform a tribute to Lebo Mathosa. I did not ask to do this tribute.

I am an artist who has declined tribute shows in the past due to the belief that if someone passed away, their soul should be left in peace and imitations are bordering on creepy.

My decision to do it in the end was based on fulfilling a request to use my artistry to pay tribute.

Having said that, on the night of the performance, following a thunderstorm, waiting for the stage hands to sweep the water off the stage, I made a prayer and stepped in with my heart and soul.

The sound in the monitors facing me was crystal clear and the levels sounded right, so every note and every word felt right.

It was only after the set was finished that I was told that my vocals were clipping and muting.

If I were on the other side of it, I would have probably observed a disaster and a poor performance as well.

I knew from the beginning that it was an extremely difficult task and that it did not help that my mother tongue is not Zulu and my skin is lighter than what is considered “black” in this country.

These are also reasons and challenges that I welcomed and that swayed me toward the decision to take it on. Ignorance and mob mentality are not something I welcome into my world.

I am an artist and professional who takes great care in presenting quality and truth, and I surely would never blame a poor performance on a technical glitch if it weren’t something that has so badly misrepresented me on a large scale.

I feel, in this instance, I have been unfairly criticised in an already-uphill effort.

The perception created by this turn of events is not only that I didn’t “deserve” the position, did not have enough respect or expertise to learn the words and project my voice, but also “who the F is this chick anyway?”

I have already expressed the way I feel about what happened. I wanted it known by my fans, who have carried me up until this point, to make it clear that, as with every single performance in my 10-year career, I gave my everything despite what it may have looked like.

I remain humbled by the outpouring of love and support from the people who understand my craft, and who know that integrity is a core value of the music that I make.

I look forward to making more of it and sharing it in truth, honesty and love.

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