“I’m working on my album and want it to be a labour of love that someone will keep and make it a classic.”- Langa Mavuso

Images: Nick Boulton
Images: Nick Boulton

You’ve seen him on social media singing in various videos, he is super talented and no wonder he got the attention of renowned producer Black Coffee who then swiftly signed him to his record company Soulistic Music Records.

We caught up with the singer, songwriter, see our chat below:

Who Langa is?

I was born and raised in Johannesburg for the first six years of my life I lived in Diepkloof with my grandmother and then later moved to be with my parents. My little interaction with music even then was visiting my parents during the weekend or holidays, they met in the choir and I was always going to rehearsals with them.

So you come from a musical family?

Yes, but I have discovered my own voice and I got to explore it as I got older when I went to the National School of the Arts and studied music. I left to go to Rhodes to study politics but realised that it wasn’t me and went to the University of Cape Town to do jazz, unfortunately, I didn’t finish because I had some mental health issues.

When did you realise you could take on music as a career?

It started for me very young, I think I was like 9 years old and someone heard me singing in the bathroom and told the teacher I had a great voice. I had kept it a secret that I could sing but after the teacher asked me to sing I ended up joining forces with other boys that were talented and the rest of the term we would sing and make songs during break time. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do.

How did you get to work with Black Coffee?

I returned to Joburg after leaving UCT and just decided to take care of myself. I started taking my music seriously in 2016 when I moved back home, so I started recording my EP. But I did one song in Cape Town at the Red Bull studios and a friend recorded my session and I posted it online. The next day I woke up with the video trending and I had many direct messages on Twitter. I got messages of encouragement and validation and one of them was Black Coffee. He asked me to do a song with him for his upcoming album and we recorded two days later.

How was it working with a powerhouse like him?

The thing that stood out was that he was just so humble, I was met with his humility before I got to meet the talent and the encyclopedia of musical knowledge that he is. I walked into it just like any other recording session hoping I’d learn something and gain something more for the future so I can be better in my music. Since then, I share my ideas and my music with the label and it has been collaborative, but I’m very particular about what music I want to make.

How did your signing to Soulistic Music Records come about?

I sent him [Black Coffee] the song I had gone to Cape Town to record and asked for his advice because I wasn’t sure about the mastering and he loved it. Then a few days later his people called me and offered me a deal. I had been in negotiations with a major label and I felt Soulistic was perfect because it was a smaller label and would give me the attention I need. I signed in July 2017.

What is your songwriting process like?

My lyrics and narratives are urban African stories, I grew up in Johannesburg so I can’t talk about rolling hills so it’s urban, I write what I have experienced or wish to experience. I have fallen in love, I go to chill sessions and party with friends so those types of narratives. I write whenever I get inspiration. I used to write a lot in the bath, but with my phone. I can hum something anytime even while driving and get home and write. So my process isn’t rigid at all.  My sound is very soulful and can be different things for different songs, but it’s definitely rooted in soul music.

When can we expect an album?

This year I am definitely releasing my album and finishing things off, so people won’t be seeing a lot of me, but I will be performing still. I just want to create a timeless piece of work, but I definitely know it will be out in the cold months, maybe July or August. I’m working on my album and want it to be a labour of love that someone will keep and make it a classic.

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