Muzi, also known as “The Zulu Skywalker,” is one of the most revered and talked about musicians coming out of South Africa today. But the love doesn’t stop at the South African border with co-signs from artists such as Black Coffee, Chris Martin, Damon Albarn, Stormzy, and regular features on leading music blogs including Noisey, Afropunk, Okay Africa, and Complex. Muzi’s is one of the first names that come to mind when thinking about modern African music today.
But Muzi’s journey started long before his appearances on the world stage. The proudly Zulu artist hails from a township in Empangeni, some 140KM north of Durban. In addition to its rolling hills and coastal plain, it is also where Muzi first started to conceive of his place in music. Bolstered by the support of his mother, and soaking up the sounds of the time, there is no doubt that his roots play a significant role in the music he makes. He expertly blends together the influence of cutting edge urban and electronic music with local genres like Maskandi, Kwaito, Iscathamiya and Bumblegum Pop of the 80s and 90s. Like the title of his hugely successful second album, Afrovision (2018), Muzi has a keen sense of self, and the effect he wants his music to have on his listeners.
Muzi is one of those artists who is truly global. In South Africa, he is welcomed as a headliner at various events, including Rocking the Daisies and Oppikoppi but he also fits in equally in music festivals in Europe and the United States, for example, performing in New York for thousands at the Afropunk Brooklyn festival, and headlining a Vice party at Berlin’s Monarch where over 500 people were turned away as the venue was full to capacity.
He is without a doubt South African music’s golden boy; the artist that everyone wants to see win. After his performance at Afropunk Paris, Muzi was dubbed a “genius” by Coldplay front man, Chris Martin who was watching from side-stage. Muzi has since collaborated with the band on an official remix of their 2019 ‘Orphans’ single off of their Everyday Life album and released a rendition of his ‘Sondela’ track with Chris on piano.
Muzi is fast-becoming the go-to producer for music in ads. Amongst others, he has provided music for Apple, Ralph Lauren, Nandos, Vans and Jagermeister.
There’s no doubt that Muzi is a musician’s musician; extremely hardworking, focused on the big picture and entirely uncompromising when it comes to his sound. Even for those avid fans who have seen him multiple times, no two sets sound the same. A kind of musical mad scientist - he is equal parts skill and intuition. And the response is never lukewarm.
On October 11, 2019 Muzi released his third studio album, ZENO, to global critical acclaim. The 12-track album is inspired by and dedicated to Muzi’s daughter. With singles ‘Good Vibes Only’ ft. Espacio Dios and ‘Phuma (Bad Self)’, the artist secured the work’s place as one of the best South African albums of the year not only domestically but in France as well.
From Elle to GQ to Fader to Mixmag, Muzi’s impact is hard to miss.