Getting to know the artists behind the popular uMlando track

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9umber, Toss and Mdoovar - The artists behind uMlando
9umber, Toss and Mdoovar - The artists behind uMlando

His plan was to spend five days in the studio after Christmas making music that people will enjoy from the beginning of January till the end of December 2022.

While people were fresh from celebrating the New Year, he posted a video of himself dancing to a catchy hook that got the whole on Mzansi rocking to it. It was his way of telling people that it was okay to celebrate themselves and their achievements.

Read more | Dineo Ranaka back on the airwaves after Umlando challenge controversy

Former soccer player turned musician, Pholoso Masombuka (22) got into music in 2014. He started off as a rapper. 

He says growing up he liked kwaito and got into dancing and became known for dancing pantsula in Tsakane, East of Joburg. When he moved to the Vaal because he was a naughty kid, he then met musicians who introduced him to hip-hop music.

“When I first went to the studio I knew that when I finish my matric I want to focus on making music. I told my dad, and he didn’t have a problem so I made sure that I did well at school so I can focus on something that I love.”

Popularly known by his stage “Toss”, a name he got when he was in a development team for Kaizer Chief, he says his life turned around when he recorded his song Gcwala. He recorded it at a time when he was ready to quit music because he left like there was no progress.

“Gcwala is a song that made me find my sound. I was writing my music and my peers would tell me that I inspire them, and I kept going. Until one day someone said I should try writing and rapping in my language, I was on the verge of quitting music and trying something else, but that song blew up, I had to keep on making music. It was a kwaito song, and that is when I knew that kwaito is my sound and I will stick to it,” he says.

But things got interesting for him when he met producer, 9umba when they were at JazziQ’s studio. 9umba told him that he was one of the artists he wants to work with because he will bring something unique to the music scene.

The pair met with producer and vocalist Mdoovar and they made a couple of songs which got them gigs and kept them busy during the festive season. It was after one of those gigs that the trio came out with the idea of making a song that people can use as a soundtrack when celebrating their achievements.

Toss tells Drum that they were chilling in a studio after a night out, he was with 9umba and he started freestyling. 9umba loved the freestyle and started working on the beat so that they can record it. While working on the beat, Mdoovar walked in and suggested that instead of recording the freestyle, how about they can work on a song that people can play when they are celebrating something huge in their life.

Mdoovar, real name Mduduzi Memela (31), says it’s a new year and people are working on their resolutions and gearing up for the year. They wanted to create a song that would make an impact, something people would immediately think of when celebrating  a milestone. That is how uMlando was born.

“I told Toss and 9umba that we don’t have a dance song that says happy birthday or let’s celebrate. Toss being the great lyricist that he is, wrote something on the spot and shot the video of him dancing. He went home and a day later he dropped the video and it trended and there was a challenge. That is when I saw that we had to record the whole song and drop while it is still hot,” Mdoovar says.

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The trio said they didn’t think that the song would be such a hit. Producer 9umba, real name  Letlotlo-la-bakuena Letlatsa (19), says they didn’t anticipate such a huge success because they only had a hook for the song.

“The social media success pushed us to finish with song, and we have featured people who loved the song and they put their best foot forward so that it can live up to the standard of the hype it already got. The process of making the song was fun because it changed from when we initially wanted to record to a song that will definitely be part of people’s success and that is a win for us to be able to make such a song,” 9umba says.

They say they will keep working together to produce hit songs and even individually so people can expect music from each one of them and as a collective, because they want to maintain the success of Amapiano.

uMlando is out on all digital platforms featuring Sino Msolo, Lady Du, Young Stunna, Sir Trill, and Slade. The dance challenge is also continuing on social media and even made a few personalities get in hot water at work.

Toss says he enjoys the videos so much, and his favourite video is by choreographer Gomo Maloka.

“Gomo killed the challenge, she is the only female who got it right.”

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