MUSIC REVIEW: Singer Sha Sha took the music scene by storm with her efforts in the festive season run. Phumlani S Langa bumps her EP Blossom and traces her rise in the game
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Singer Sha Sha has fast become a household name as a result of her heartfelt vocals, specifically on the 2019 smash hit by Samthing Soweto, Akulaleki featuring Maphorisa. Sha Sha finesses the chorus with her sultry falsetto, and what’s most thrilling is that, while she channels the Hindu-styled vocal sampling on this track, you can tell she has much more in the chamber. She kills it while chilling on it.
So, what else can she do? She has shown a little more of her range on her new EP, Blossom, which was released at the top end of this year. Blossom has eight songs with quite a few of them drawing on Maphorisa’s expertise on production. His hold on the game has seen him become a savant of genres such as gqom and amapiano. He’s not an originator of either, but his take on both is something to be revered, and anyone he throws his weight behind must be someone worth messing with.
Sha Sha, a Shona word meaning ‘the best’, predominantly sings about love in all its complexities, with lyrics that flow from personal experience. It works well on the groovy opener Abondaba, where she makes use of less fragmented notes. House vocals have become contrived, with either too much emotion going on or just a bunch of aggressive ad-libbing. Artists have been getting away with shouting “Yebo” and “Haibo” for far too long. Sha Sha could be the vocalist to turn the heat up in this genre, with a return to raw emotion – less Babes Wodumo and more TK, you dig?
Sha Sha is signed to Maphorisa’s Sony Music imprint BlaqBoy Music, along with acts such as Kabza De Small and rapper Lucasraps. With or without this veteran vouching for her, her talent is irrefutable.
She demonstrates her full complement of capabilities beautifully on an acoustic performance of her song Tender Love on YouTube’s Vevo. Her vocals sooth the ears with the Zimbabwean inflection she has at the end of her notes. Her sound could be considered radio-friendly, but she bursts through this box with stringy but solid vocals that sound a lot like some of the indie artists you might encounter on music platforms Colors or Pitchfork. The highlight comes in the form of Mutare, which means move, and the laid-back House beat draws on Afro beats for an off-the-wall boogie, an understated standout.
The Maphorisa and Kabza De Small drum and saxophone pattern can get predictable, the beginning of the Samthing Soweto track sounds much like the beginning of her track Sing, a cover of the iconic dance song Sing It Back by Moloko. She also covers Lorayne’s 2009 banger Something About You, giving it her own take. A debut EP with two covers is a bit risky; that’s two slots where she could’ve loaded something new for us to hear. Her breathy, effortless renditions make these easy to forgive but we need to hear her explore more acoustic and unexpected sounds.
We’re curious to see whether she’ll be able to carve out longevity in a genre that’s synonymous with flavours of the month; we hope she lasts longer.