5 Minutes with Blaq Diamond

Blaq Diamond
Blaq Diamond

Umuthi the pair’s latest album, is a masterpiece to say the least! Their single Love Letter is climbing the charts, on high rotation, and a fan favourite. They let us in on their music, rise and finding their place in the industry.   

The reception of our sophomore album Umuthi has been amazing. 

We debuted on number one on iTunes, across all genres, in just under two hours of the album’s release. Our debut album Inqola took two days to trend. This is a sign of how much we’ve grown, and that people have been waiting for new music from us. (NM)

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The support from our fan base is humbling and we’re forever grateful for it. We have now cemented ourselves as artists, and this shows in the growth of our sound and music. We took a chance by changing our direction and journey with Memeza and Ibhanoyi, and our fans grew with us. (NM)

Umuthi has had singles, but nothing beats Ibhanoyi, which was our second single. Our third single, which is currently gaining momentum, is Love Letter. On this 13-track offering, we have featured the likes of Cici, The Legacy and Sjava. (NM)

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Music brings us so much joy — it doesn’t feel like work for us. We enjoy every aspect of what we do, and we take this seriously. We formed Blaq Diamond in 2010, but people started paying attention only when we moved to Joburg. But back home in Ladysmith, we were already stars. (NM)

We used to rap and were comfortable with the genre until we decided to experiment, just for fun, and added a few melodies to our song, Makhelwane.

Everyone in Ladysmith fell in love with it instantly, and this has now become our signature sound. This song introduced us to the music industry because people connected with it. (SD)

We’re a pop group because we do popular music, but the way we package it will always be authentically African. We’re inspired by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Malaika, Tear Gas and other local artists we grew up looking up to. (NM)

Our music is solely done by us – from laying the beats to production and vocals. It comes from the two of us jamming together in the studio; there are no specific roles between us. We chose to work this way because in the past, we had reached out to other people and no one was keen, or they’d take our ideas and run with them. (SD)

Through Sjava, we got a recording deal with Ambitiouz Records in 2017 while still hustling and working on our music in Maboneng. 

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A friend who knew Sjava said he would love our sound and music. At first, we didn’t take him seriously until we later decided to give it a try. He sent one of our songs to him and he loved it.  Sjava sent it to the record label and they called us the very next day. (NM) 

We met in Grade 8, on a bus to a Shaka Zulu excursion. We took part in a rap battle, and have been best friends ever since. We’ve been at this life thing together for over a decade now. (SD)

Our journey definitely wasn’t easy. We moved to Joburg after dropping out of college – I was studying law and Ndu was doing accounting. Our parents cried when we left. We got to Joburg and knocked on several doors. I remember Kalawa Jazmee Records saying that our sound was too different and not mainstream, so it wouldn’t do well. Ambitiouz took a chance on us and we have made our parents proud. (SD)

Ndu is a dreamer, and I must constantly bring him back to reality because he sometimes wants to pursue the impossible. We balance each other out quite nicely — that’s why we’re a winning team. (SD)