CHALLENGES facing young aspiring musicians in the music industry often derail their dreams of prospering. A lack of financial support, piracy and the challenge of finding a legitimate recording company are the main issues facing young artists. An emerging maskandi artist from Kranskop, Philani Sithole believes that, despite all the challenges, perseverance and being positive are the main components that make a good musician. Sithole hails from eMakhabeleni, near Kranskop, in the KwaSenge area. He attended KwaSeme Primary and Sokheni High School and, when he was at high school, he was part of a sicathamiya group.The emerging artist released his first 10-track CD, Amathole Amahle, in October last year. Sithole said his love of maskandi music began in 2013 when he was in Johannesburg. He told the Gazette that, when he moved to Johannesburg, he met maskandi artists who inspired him to sing maskandi after realising his talent in the traditional music. “When I went to Johannesburg in 2013 I realised that I had potential in maskandi music. Traditional music keeps me going and it is something that I love. “I love maskandi and I enjoy entertaining people through my music.“When I was growing up, I used to listen to the late maskandi artist Mgqumeni from Nquthu. My dream was to meet him, unfortunately, by the time I went to Johannesburg, he had already passed away,” he said. Although he has already released his first album, Sithole said that critical challenges that torment many emerging maskandi artists motivated him to stay focused. He told the Gazette that he is currently searching for a recording company that will assist him in making progress in the music industry.Despite all the challenges he has encountered, Sithole is ecstatic about the unprecedented support he received from the community of Kranskop and surroundings, which he says motivated him to work even harder this year. The artist is optimist that, through his music, he can raise the South African flag high in the international scene.“In November this year I am going to release two additional songs. I only released the first CD with ten songs last year. In November I am going to release the last two songs that will be featured on my album,” Sithole said. Hit songs on his album include: Uma ungibona ngijimima, Ntombazane cabangela impilo yakho and Uphakeme (a combination of gospel and maskandi).