Getting to know Jerusalema’s Nomcebo Zikode

Nomcebo Zikode, the voice behind the smash hit, says she didn’t imagine the song would blow up the way it did.
Nomcebo Zikode, the voice behind the smash hit, says she didn’t imagine the song would blow up the way it did.
Nomcebo Zikode/Instagram

It’s taken the country – and the world – by storm.

Jerusalema by Master KG featuring Nomcebo seems to have become a global anthem. Not only has the music video for the song been viewed more than 56 million times on YouTube, it’s also been covered by artists from countries as far afield as Italy, and the track has spawned the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge on social media.

Read more | Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode’s Jerusalema is officially a big hit

Nomcebo Zikode, the voice behind the smash hit, says she didn’t imagine the song would blow up the way it did. “I am overjoyed but nervous at the same time. It still feels surreal that people all over the world are singing and dancing to a song that was sung by me. It’s a huge blessing and I’m grateful,” she tells DRUM.

Nomcebo, who is also the voice behind DJ Ganyani’s Emazulwini, was approached by Master KG late last year to work on Jerusalema. “We worked on this song at night, before midnight,” she recalls. “I remember playing it on my way to the gym the next morning and getting chills all over my body. I was overtaken by emotions I couldn’t explain. I knew at that moment that God was telling me something about the song, but nothing could have prepared me for this.”

Read more | Master KG’s Jerusalem gets 30 million views on YouTube!

At the time she said a silent prayer the hit producer would also see the song’s potential. “Lo and behold, Master KG gave me a call later that day asking me to come into the studio so we could complete the song. He also knew there was something there,” Nomcebo says.

Although she’s been in the industry for more than a decade, the 26-year-old believes this is her big break. “I’ve been a back-up singer for 15 years. I’d been praying for God to give my talent a bigger platform to make a mark with my voice and look at how He answered,” she says.

“By God’s grace I was able to meet Master KG and God used my talent in the wonderful way He did. The wait was all worth it,” Nomcebo adds. “I still don’t have an album out, but I believe I’m well on my way to bringing joy to people through my talent while that work is in progress.”

The vocalist behind the world-famous hit song of the moment Jerusalema says not making the nominees list for this year’s instalment of the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) stung but she quickly adjusted to the reality and focused her attention on positive matters. 

“Look, I won’t lie, I was disappointed when we were not nominated. It’s something I was really hoping would happen – never mind winning but a nomination would have been a great to one’s profile,” she said adding that “I quickly spoke myself to positivity and did not let it affect me and I was not stressed. I made a decision to be genuinely happy for those nominated and not be bitter”.

Nomcebo who says she’s a strong believer in God’s plans told DRUM she trusted He had a bigger plan and portion for her and Master KG beyond a SAMA nomination.

“I told myself it had to be a part of God’s plan that we don’t make the cut. I don’t want to say were snubbed as I’m sure the Samas have their reasons as to why we didn’t make the cut. It’s true that everything happens according to God’s plans. I am not stressed at all. Also, look at the portion that was waiting for us around the corner.

Master KG and I love the direction the song’s taken and how our talent is making an impact globally. If that’s not evidence of how nothing can take away the great things God has in store for you then I don’t know what is,” she said.

5 things you didn’t know about Nomcebo:

1. I love pap and amasi – and no, I don’t add sugar.

2. I love dancing, preferably behind closed doors in the comfort of my home.

3. I listen to all music genres and love African sounds.

4. My favourite meal of the day is lunch.

5. I’m married with two children aged 14 and five.