Music | Breaking down Bulo’s sound

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Njabulo Masemola, also known as Bulo. Photo: Supplied
Njabulo Masemola, also known as Bulo. Photo: Supplied

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Bulo breaks down his brand of amapiano and provides some insights into his new EP. 

Njabulo Masemola is a 31-year-old who you might know better as just Bulo. He has an EP out at the moment, which the streets seem to respond to. His soulful sounds bridge a gap between Afo-pop and the influence of amapiano in a way that makes his work most memorable.

He is originally from Middelburg, Mpumalanga, but relocated in his younger years to Soshanguve, Pretoria, and grew up there, allowing the sounds of this hood to mould his artistic outlook. 

He says: 

I’ve been creating music since 2008, but I stopped for about 10 years due to my schooling and my other passion, which is engineering. I decided to pursue my career in engineering, but later came back to music during the lockdown in the year 2020 and that prompted me to drop my first body of work.

You will most likely know him from songs, including hits Isondo, which features Nkosazana Daughter and Sino Msolo. His other endeavouring offering is the single Udlala Ngami, alongside Mthunzi and Nkosazana Daughter.

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Talking to us about his new EP called ToliBoy Pt. 1, which was released on November 25, and is his second EP, he said:

"The first EP, which was titled The Unauthorised EP, dropped earlier this year and acted as a teaser for my growing support of fans till the drop of my current ensemble. ToliBoy serves as an ode to my grandmother from my mother’s side whose nickname was Toliboy. She played a big role in my upbringing and was a huge influence and inspiration behind the conception of the EP."

On this project, he worked with an array of artists, namely, Nkosazana Daughter, Mthunzi, Sino Msolo, Nana Atta, Josiah De Disciple, Mbalenhle, Marsey, Eemoh, Gmastermusiq, Infinite Motion, Khan, Zaba, Bonj, and Eltea Dour.

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"All of whom contributed greatly to my EP and I’m super grateful for that," he expressed.

He shares a close relationship with most of his collaborators and the shared energy is palpable in the sonics.

"You’ll notice that I worked with some pretty established names as well as artists who are still up and coming."

Njabulo Masemola
Amapiano artist Bulo. Photo: Supplied

He adds: 

This move was very strategic because as an artist who is still new to the game, I needed to ensure that I collaborated with artists who resonated with my sound and complimented my music. I knew that the music I prepared was gold and that whoever I featured needed to match that - and that they did.

It didn’t hurt that he was a fan of these artists and has been devoted to uplifting the talents around him. 

This ode to his grandmother will involve what Bulo calls premium amapiano music.  

I don’t believe in creating music that’s going to trend for a few weeks and can never be something you listen to again. My aim is always about creating timeless music that caters to young and old and is going to most importantly be enjoyed today and the many days to come.

The singles Isondo, Udlala Ngami and Mama all have visuals. The next visuals set to drop are for the song titled uMbonaphi, which features Mthunzi, and is from the EP.

He elaborates: "uMbonaphi is a beautiful song, and is the third single I dropped from the project. It’s a song that I feel a lot of people will resonate with, especially once they see the visuals of the song. Mthunzi is such an amazing artist to work with and it was only fitting that I create visuals for the amazing song we did together - so people should be on the lookout for that."

READ: Amapiano dominates Spotify charts: Here are the top five bangers

His moment in the sun has been short but he conducts himself much like someone who wants to stay in the limelight.

Looking back at the time he has enjoyed as a commercial musician, he says: "A career highlight has to be when my single Udlala Ngami that featured Nkosazana Daughter and Mthunzi reached a million views on YouTube and currently sits on 1.4M views. As someone who started officially dropping music this year, all these milestones have truly been remarkable to see, and I am ecstatic at just how well my music is being received. Isondo is also well on its way to a million views, currently on just over 834K views. I couldn’t be happier."


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