Music is a form of a love language for her. It enriches the spirit while teaching those around her about culture and the value of preserving indigenous sounds.
Just two weeks ago, only people familiar with her work at arts festivals and different stages knew her name.
Now almost everyone who loves traditional music will remember her. All thanks to her Idols season 17 audition, where she performed her song ‘Ntinga’, serenading the judges with uHadi and her voice.
Lindokuhle Matina Kotyi (23), popularly known by her stage name ‘Chosi’, has been making music for as long as she can remember. She fell in love with Xhosa sounds at a very young age and grew up around women who loved singing and who enjoyed traditional music.
“My first memory of music was at home and church. I have an aunt who was an opera singer at the time and she would perform on the musical show Imizwilili. Sometimes their group would come and do church hymns at home and I remember hearing all the different voices together and thinking this is cool. After their practise my cousin and I would imitate how they sang and that time I don’t think I could sing,” she tells Drum.
At home her family knew her as a dancer. When they discovered her singing voice, they supported her dreams.
“In Grade 12 I fell in love with black history and the black movement that was happening in Kilombo in Khayelistha. That’s where I learnt about being African and taking pride in who I am. I also grew up around my grandmother was very invested in tradition, I got all my culture knowledge from her. She also loves African sounds and that’s where my love for African music started.”
She is a film and television graduate from the University of Cape Town and it was in university that she got exposed to African jazz and was introduced to indigenous music.
She's taken what she learnt to art festivals in Cape Town performing original music as well as poetry.
Chosi plays traditional instruments. There is one instrument that captured her heart at first sight, uHadi. She plays the instrument organically and pairs its sounds with indigenous melodies.
“Just from watching someone play uHadi I knew I had a connection with it. And as soon as I held it in my hand I could play it, people go to school to learn uHadi and for me it was organic. A friend of mine bought me uHadi and I practised by myself, and I got into doing shows around Cape Town.”
Her Idols SA audition has gained her a new set of fans. It even landed on TikTok and all social media, with South Africans sharing their awe at the pride she has in her culture.
She performed her song Ntinga and had all the judges singing along with her.
“The song was inspired by a old song by umakhulu Madosini, Yaka Yaka and the song is about a bird and then I thought what do I want to say about a bird. I thought of artists and people with a purpose which is all of us on earth. Sometimes things may seem to be moving slow or it may seem you not in the right path, but I wanted them to stay true to themselves and I am encouraging them in their journey. Do the work and trust that you will succeed one day and when you do don’t become iskhwenene (parrot) and imitate people around you.”
She's amazed at the support she's received since the audition and hopes that her music continues to touch people throughout the country.
“People have been showing me love and they are loving my music, I feel honoured by God and I feel the love so much.”
Chosi released a faith inspired hip hop E.P last year November titled Genesis and she tells us that it was influenced by her faith and relationship with God. She wanted to share her story through catchy melodies and medium-tempo, hip-hop instrumentals produced by her faith leader and rapper Pastor Jay Makopo.
“My husband is the one that introduced me to Christ and showed me an alternative way of relating to God. I have a poetry background, so it was easy for me to transition into hip-hop. I worked on the E.P with my Pastor, Pastor Jay Makopo he saw that I was talented, and I needed guidance. He produced all the beats, and I wrote the songs for the first time because I usually freestyle my melodies as I receive them in my spirit. The E.P is about my newfound love which is Christ and my Identity and what it means to be born again.
“Part of my purpose is to enrich African people and to show that we know God and we are spiritual people. We knew God before everything else. I can't wait to release music that will be a gift to South Africa. Right now I don’t have the resources but I hope to have a band and people who will execute the vision I have in mind."