‘An illustrious music career has always been a secret ambition' - Actress Kea Zawadi ventures into music

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Kea Zawadi finally released her long-awaited EP titled Love High after releasing a few singles.
Kea Zawadi finally released her long-awaited EP titled Love High after releasing a few singles.

She left YFM on a high note. She had received two award nominations for her work at the station.

Now she is focusing her energy on making music and acting. Actress and voice-over artist, Kea Zawadi (30) currently plays the role of Nkuli on SABC 1 comedy-drama series 13 Weeks To Find Mr Right alongside Bonko Khoza, Lerato Mvelase, Mohau Cele, and Tiny Falatsi. 

Before that, Kea starred in No Hiding Here (2021), a feature film on Showmax and Mnet as well as on Inconceivable, where she plays Thandeka. 

The Klerksdorp talent recently released her RnB EP titled Love High, which is just a glimpse into a bigger vision for her music career.

“My vocals and style are primarily RnB but you get to hear how those vocals fit into soul, alternative RnB, new school, and amapiano. I've never been one to put myself in a box so that's the last thing I'll do in my music,” she says. 

"An illustrious music career has always been a secret ambition of mine since I was 10 years old. It was 2008 and my primary school was preparing for their school concert, and I just remember being picked for a lot of lead performances. I was only in grade five and I was singing with the grade sevens. Performing on that stage was one of my first recollections of wanting to do music,” she adds. 

Kea believes she has a lot to contribute to the African R&B space and sees herself as someone who can influence this generation of R&B.

“I would like to be mentioned amongst artists such as Tems and Elaine, as people who pioneered African R&B to the world. The world has become a lot smaller, and I think my music is good enough to be a true ambassador to the world,” she says.

She chose the title because she is a sucker for love. 

“Love songs come naturally to me. All five songs represent different stages of love high. It only made sense to give the EP a title that felt euphoric, that felt outside of reality.” 

Her creative process is straight forward, and she writes most of her songs from personal experiences and those close to her. 

“So fun fact, four out of the five songs on the EP were written during my first week working with Hit Cartel Records,” she says. 

“What started as a spontaneous studio session turned into the body of work we have now called Love High. Because my management gave me free room to write about whatever I felt, the songs came naturally with some being written quicker than others, some verses being done in one take. When I hear a beat, I will sit with it for about 30 minutes, and sometimes a melody hits right away, other times I'd listen to a song overnight to meditate on it.” 

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The decision to leave radio and pursue music didn’t happen overnight.

Her first attempt at music was when she first released the single titled NgiBheke Wena alongside Cape Town DJ, Deejay 1D, which was recognized by Apple Music and was featured on the Isgubhu Voices playlist. Her first solo single, Chill, is currently playlisted on MTV Base and BET and she has previously worked with artists such as PDotO, Cuebur, and Lebza The Villian.  

She’s taken her time before releasing the EP. 

“I'm a huge perfectionist,” she says. 

“Perhaps it's not always the most positive thing but I take pride in my work. And when I execute, I give my all. I think because of this, has led me to push back my music because I was so busy with tv roles and my radio career. Being here now, it made so much sense to finally give the world the truest essence of me, which is my music. Everything I do stems from my love for music. Perhaps it feels like a long time coming for others but for me, there has never been a more perfect time for me to drop a body of work.” 

With no features in the project, Kea made that deliberate. 

“I want to show people that I can stand on my own as a musician while also showing you my range as an artist. But in the future, I'd like to work with the likes of Black Coffee, Maglera Doeboy, Tshego, and Shekinah to name a few.”

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Kea kicked off her radio career in her final year at university working at PUK FM. 

“I studied a BCom Economics and Risk Management at North-West PUK and graduated Cum Laude in 2018. In my final year of varsity, I bumped into radio at PUK FM. After just one year of radio, I was nominated for Campus Newsreader and Campus Drive Show at the 2019 Radio Awards," she says. 

She then joined YFM in 2019 to host and produce 'Late Nights with Kea Zawadi' which also got nominated for Best Night-time Show in SA at the 2020 Radio Awards. In the same year, she launched an All-Female Mix show on YFM, The Mix Capital. 

In April 2021, Kea began hosting #IntoTheNight which aired every Sunday and Monday 10 pm-12 am on YFM until March 2022. 

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