Nay Maps on pursuing his love for music – 'It is me putting my heart on my sleeve'

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Nay Maps started making music before acting. He plays the piano.
Nay Maps started making music before acting. He plays the piano.

He is a talented actor and is widely known for his roles as Mxolisi Zulu on Uzalo, Dingani on The Queen, and most recently Sphamandla Mvelase on Umkhokha.

But he also has other talents besides acting.

Nkosinathi 'Nay Maps' Maphalala recently debuted his new R&B single I’ll Be There at an intimate setting hosted at White Lounge in Sunninghill Johannesburg, where he collaborated with Bombay Sapphire. 

Close friends, family, and celebrities came in numbers to support the multi-talented Kwa-Zulu Natal star. 

“In the song is a love story that I worked with TK Goodman and Mtho Dube. It is me putting my heart on my sleeve. It speaks of a dynamic between a man and a woman and I allowed myself to be vulnerable, so more people connect with me,” he tells Drum.

Through his vocals, he passionately narrates how two people are looking to be in a relationship.

“It also stems from how I discovered that some women I had dated feared losing me because I’m in the limelight and I get attention from female supporters,” he says.

“I’m a lover and when in a relationship I commit. When I get into something, I give so much of myself, “he says.

But dating is usually a challenge for Nay. 

“Dating becomes tricky when you’re in the limelight. You often have women throw themselves at you and you don’t know who is genuine. Most ladies want to be with you only because you’re famous they think you will do things for them. It becomes hard to find a genuine person. But when you find someone, the person starts to question whether they are not good enough and they need to work on them being secure,” he says.

At the moment he is single and not really looking. 

“I was in a relationship but I found that I had given too much of myself and forgot about my needs and to focus on myself. It was starting to affect me because I forgot who I was. So, I decided to focus on myself so by the time I find the right one, I am able to balance things,” he says. So he is focusing on his acting and music career.

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His music has been highly anticipated by fans as he has been giving them snippets of his skills in that area. Many knew he could hold a note, but this single is the official beginning of his solo music career.

Nay Maps comes from a family that loves music. His dad Simeon Maphalala, who was an Apostle, and his mother, Xoliswa Maphalala are creatives who enjoyed creating music most of their lives. 

“As a boy growing up my parents would make me sing at events and push me to perform on stage. They saw the gift I possessed with music and storytelling,” he says. 

“My dad was a great musician who was meant to be there amongst the well-respected musicians. He was self-taught and played almost every instrument you can think of; from the accordion, keyboard, guitar, drums, you name it. He would record music on cassettes back in the days before there were CDs. He was a phenomenon and anointed man. I wish he had the opportunity to be huge. It didn’t happen. But who knows, maybe God passed the anointing down to his kids,” he adds.

“My parents would make me and my sister sing in church and we would do duets. We won a competition for a duo once. So, music is something I loved even before acting."

His parents and siblings mean the world to him. Growing up, his mom had aspirations of being an actress but chose the medical field and helping people instead.  His dad, who passed away in 2020 due to pneumonia related to Covid-19, was his inspiration. 

“Many people assumed that I vanished from The Queen or that I got fired but I was dealing with my father’s death,” he says. “We were incredibly close as a family. His death affected me a lot and I took nine months off the screen.”  

But returning to work, he wants to honour his dad through music.

“He is my inspiration. My dad taught me the basics of what I know. I play the piano well. I also play the organ, guitar, drums, and xylophone. My dad gave me the basics and I learned from there. I met friends along the way who helped me to build on the foundation already laid by my father and I am grateful he planted the gift of music, love, God, and the respect for music,” he says. 

“I am also grateful that my mom is here to witness it all."

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Nay started taking his music seriously in high school. “I had been acting at schools and doing musicals. After a great audition, I realised there could be something special.”

His latest single I’ll Be There is a song about love and the challenges of dating while in the limelight.

After high school his parents wanted him to study something he could fall back on when music did not work out.

“My parents wanted me to do something lucrative like architecture, medicine, or IT.”

He ended up studying IT and focusing on Software Programming. 

“I did it for monetary reasons. My uncles from both sides were doing it and they were doing well.”  

But before he could complete his studies in the third year, he got his first commercial job and decided to drop out. 

“I had to sit my parents down and let them know that my desire and passion for acting and music was greater. I just didn’t see myself working in an office.” 

Nay worked in sales and promotions to fund his talent. 

“The promotions helped me to make money to be able to attend auditions.” 

He is currently working on releasing singles until he is ready to release a full album in a year or so. 

“I can't wait for people to hear what I have to offer and my diverse sounds,” he says.

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