Meet Musa Keys, the amapiano star who calls himself the Tsonga Michael Jackson

Musa Keys is loving the reception he's receiving as he tours Africa.
Musa Keys is loving the reception he's receiving as he tours Africa.

He lives for music. If he's not lending his vocals to amapiano tracks, or working behind the decks,  he's dancing to his favourite jams. 

He loves music so much that he refers to himself as the Tsonga Michael Jackson and like his hero, he wants to make sure all his performances stand out. 

This is why he would often be seen inviting members of the audience on stage during his shows and singing directly to them. With Covid-19, things have changed and artists have had to be creative.

But one thing that hasn't changed is the joy he gets from music. 

Musa Appreciate Makamu, Musa Keys to his fans, seems to have it all. The voice, the fashion sense, the looks and the charm. 

We catch up with him during a busy work day. Musa Keys has produced multiple chart-topping hits such as Samarian boy, Vula Mlomo and Possible. 

He's loved music all of his life, he tells Drum. He was born in Giyani and is the eldest of two children. He has always been a creative child from a young age and always wanted to do things that he loves the most and that bring him joy.

“As a kid, I didn’t have everything, I had to work for whatever that I wanted. At home I wasn’t the favourite child.”

He says that growing up in a household where his mother was raising her sibling and having to compete for attention was a bit of a difficult situation to adjust to.

“I had an absent father, I only saw him a few times in my life. I feel like all those things were necessary for me to go through so that they could build the character I am today.”

He fell in love with music at a young age and he decided quite early to pursue it.

So, after graduating high school he went on to study sound engineering at Damelin but dropped out during his second year.

“I felt like we were stagnant and that I was being taught things that I already know. I had already done music and I was already a part of the industry that’s when I decided to drop out to pursue my music because I saw that it was starting to work out. At first, I didn’t think there would come a time where music would be my only focus, I always that I was going to be an architect.”

He's an all-rounder creative, he shares. He's into fashion, drawing, music and even film. But there is something especial about music that connects him to people, which is why he chose it.

“I want to do the things that I love, the crazy thing is that till today I still don’t think that I am superstar, I am never satisfied with what I achieve. I always see room for improvement, I seek constant growth.”

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“The best kind of music is music that is created in genuine good vibes and energy. If everyone’s energy doesn’t connect in studio, the song will feel forced. I don’t plan how I am going to do the songs, it flows naturally. Amapiano chose me before I started making amapiano, I was producing trap music.”

He's an overthinker, he tells us. But he's found a way to use that to his advantage and always  analyse and strategize his next move.

“I always think of new ways to do things. I don’t want to be found sitting and doing nothing. I always think of all the people trying to make it in the industry, so I always make sure that I stay on my feet. My mind keeps me motivated.”

He is currently working on his second album, Tayo, which means source of joy.

“It’s an 8-track album and maybe we will do a deluxe because no one does a deluxe in amapiano. I believe that my music is the source of joy for many people around me, it’s a great representation of who I am and what I am to the people around me. I always try by all means to name my projects around who and what I am.”

The self- acclaimed Tsonga Michael Jackson has been touring Africa and he is very excited to see where his music takes him. He hopes to reach large crowds with his music and to leave a lasting impact on amapiano genre and music in general in South Africa.

He is currently touring in Tanzania, and he recently performed in Ghana and was shook to hear people recite his songs word for word.

“It’s overwhelming to watch people’s reaction while performing sometimes. My first time performing in Tanzania, people were singing my songs word for word and I couldn’t believe that people were into my music like that. Ghana was my first international show and my first time being out of South Africa and it was sold out.”

He says that he would like explore fashion and film one day and see where it would take him.

“I have a good eye for fashion, my drip is always on point and I have a good eye for filming. I would love to bring some of the concepts in my mind to life, I always envision things in my mind."

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