‘I feel like the heavens have opened for me!”
So says songstress Amanda Black, whose smash hit Amazulu should not be mistaken with the Zulu nation but refers to the heavens above.
Speaking to City Press at The Market theatre in Newtown this week, Black, real name Amanda Antony, says her song Amazulu talks about darkness and losing herself.
“It talks about the bad [experiences] I have gone through. In the chorus I am basically asking if there can just be light. I’m demanding for it actually. Just to be free from the fears and everything that is holding me back,” she explains.
“It is a story of my journey with music and generally my entire life, as well as my experiences. It’s just about the physical, psychological and mental obstacles that I’ve gone through to get to where I am,” she adds.
Towards the end of the song, she declares she is a conqueror and a victor, regardless of her challenges and past rejections.
“I will never give up on my dream,” she boldly states.
But where does the name Black come from, I asked. “I never embraced my dark skin especially because of ‘the yellow bone regime’ and how I was made to feel by other kids for being dark,” she says.
The 22-year-old says using the name Black is about taking back her power. “I love being black,” she insists.
The five-time Metro FM Awards nominee says she could not have foreseen success of this magnitude coming her way. She was only hoping people would like her music and relate to it.
“My family and I were listening to Metro FM when we heard about my nominations. We all just flipped and celebrated. It doesn’t feel real and I just want to take it all in,” she blushes.
She described her nomination as similar to “getting platinum all over again”.
“I’m a new artist, it’s my first album and already such big things are happening for me. It’s so big. I don’t know how to react. Is there a manual?” she asks.
The Port Elizabeth-born has failed to win the Idols competition three times. “I was basically told that I wasn’t good enough,” she recalls.
When she lost Idols the third time around two years ago, she recalls how she went home and cried.
But she was surprised to receive a call from the organisers asking her to return. “They told me that someone had dropped out and I thought that maybe I still had a shot at fulfilling my childhood dream of being an Idols star.
“I only made it to the top seven and I concluded that I was just meant to introduce myself to South Africa through Idols and not win it,” she says.
Despite the setback, she says she never doubted that music was her destiny.
“I’m from PE and getting gigs there is hard. A lot of people were saying no and told me that they weren’t looking for what I had,” she says.
Black says her friends and family have been supportive throughout her journey, often giving her pep talks whenever she doubted herself.
“My grandfather called me the other day when he heard my song on the radio and reminded me about how I started out singing as a child in church. It [the conversation] was very special.”
She says the nomination for the awards makes her family feel like they have won too. “We are a very close-knit family so this is big for us.”
Asked whether she feels that she has arrived, she politely declined to answer.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m living my ultimate dream, because my dream doesn’t just involve me being famous. I want more. The dream is very big. I want to be a wholesome artist,” she says.
This year, the muso says, she wants to focus on mastering her music before she ventures off into any new avenues.
“I am an artist and a creative and at some time I will branch out into TV and other avenues as time goes on. I’m just looking to solidify my brand and my entry to the music industry first before anything else,” she says.
As a way of thanking her fans and giving back to them, the Afro-pop star says that this year she will be going on her first national tour for her album.
“I can’t go platinum and not give back to my supporters and be on that stage for them. I will also be releasing a live DVD.”
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