Get ready to groove because The Muffinz are back.
When this sensational group burst onto the music scene with their chart-topping hit single, Ghetto, I instantly became a die-hard fan.
And when I discovered their soulful masterpiece, Sound Check, they effortlessly claimed the top spot on my list of favourite local acts.
Their debut album, Have You Heard?, quickly became a personal favorite, and to this day, it remains a constant presence in my music rotation.
However, their second offering, Do What You Love, released three years later in 2015, left me somewhat disappointed. Unlike their cohesive debut, this album felt scattered and lacked a clear direction.
A quick visit to Apple Music reveals that only one song, Ngwana Te, has earned that coveted star symbol denoting listener approval. And let's be honest, the only reason it achieved this status is due to the incredible collaboration with Oliver Mtukudzi.
On the other hand, Have You Heard? boasts more than six tracks with a galaxy of stars, proving that it truly struck a chord with fans.
Fortunately, the group seemed to take note of this disparity and decided to take a break from releasing music.
They reemerged in 2018 with Where You Are, giving hope to their devoted fans, myself included. The song exuded the same magic as their debut album, but with a polished and refined touch.
However, their subsequent release in 2019, "You are the One," missed the mark for me. It seemed more suited for the "Do What You Love" album and didn't capture the essence of their earlier work.
Since then, The Muffinz have remained silent, leaving us eagerly anticipating new music and a full-fledged album.
Recently, a press release arrived in my inbox, teasing a new single and upcoming performance by The Muffinz.
Naturally, my excitement soared as I imagined fresh tunes and a complete body of work on the horizon.
Alas, my hopes were dashed when I realized the single mentioned in the email was none other than the 2019 track that failed to make its way into my music library.
So, what's the deal?
To get some answers, I sat down with two members of the band, Kekeletso "KekeLingo" Mabusela and Mthabisi "Mthae" Sibanda, on a sunny but chilly Tuesday in Maboneng.
Without hesitation, I made it clear that I wasn't a happy fan. Surprisingly, they burst into laughter and offered a simple explanation: lockdown.
Mthae chimed in, revealing that they had recorded over 100 songs during the pre-production phase.
Their initial intention was to promote the new album through live performances. Unfortunately, the restrictions imposed by the pandemic dashed those dreams.
"We thrive as a live act, so it was a tricky situation," added KekeLingo, expressing their frustration.
But could this upcoming performance be a prelude to a new album release?
"We are celebrating 10 years in the recording industry," shared KekeLingo. Mthae was quick to clarify, saying, "Actually, we're entering our next decade in the recording phase, so rest assured, an album is in the works."
Curiosity piqued, and I wondered what we could expect from this highly anticipated album. With more than 100 songs recorded since 2019, I questioned if they would make the final cut and if they were concerned about their freshness.
And what about the sound?
"In 2019, Afrobeats was the hottest trend, which is why you could hear its influence in 'Where You Are' and 'You are the One,'" explained Mthae.
While I could detect a hint of it in "You are the One," I couldn't quite place it in "Where You Are."
However, the group has decided to stay true to their signature sound after two to three years.
But what about the piano sound that's currently making waves in the industry?
Amapiano has taken over, but The Muffinz believes there's room for everyone.
KekeLingo, who has released some Amapiano tracks like "Akekho," acknowledges the genre's impact but expressed their desire to avoid getting lost in the chaos of the piano trend. "Our fan base is there," he reassured.
As the conversation shifted towards their upcoming performance at the Theatre of Marcellus in Emperors Palace, I couldn't help but ask what their fans should expect.
KekeLingo, with an air of excitement, shared, "We're taking our fans on a journey back to our roots. We'll showcase all the favourites that have made us a household name in South Africa."
With that promise, it's clear that The Muffinz are ready to captivate audiences once again with their soulful melodies and electrifying performances.
"Get ready for a night of nostalgia and celebration as we transport fans from the past to the present.
"An unforgettable experience awaits you on June 3 at the Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace," Mthae says.