What impact do you think amapiano has on the British sound?
The impact that South African music has in the UK and around the world is powerful. It’s full of punch, it’s refreshing, it’s beautiful. The music itself is beautiful to hear: the language, the voices, the screams, the screams, the whistles – it’s so unique and amazing to watch. It’s great to see South Africa coming out with this new genre in full force.
What do you think of the track?
The ideas were amazing. We are still working on it right now, but it will be finished by the end of the day. We’ll see what I think of it then.
What were your main inspirations for ‘Tales of a Miracle’?
Musically, I tried to go back to old school R&B, the Rugrats theme music, that sort of thing. I tried to research how to interpret the feelings of these songs in my own music, rather than sampling directly. I tried to be a little more truthful and honest about the things I had been through; it’s raw and honest. I wanted people to know that we can rap and sing and talk about deep things, but also that it doesn’t have to be deep, but that’s what I wanted my first album to be.
You incorporate a lot of global sounds, what do you like about music that crosses cultural boundaries?
So, like the dominant sound of South African music right now, people feel different and inspired. I feel inspired by so many sounds, I love Rai music from Algeria and North Africa, and I like to stay close to my roots. I’m a big fan of hip hop, R&B, old school blues – I like to take the best bits of whatever I like, and swallow them and give back what I perform. Beyond the sound, I keep my music very spiritual because my musical journey is very spiritual for me. If I write a verse, or if I’m involved in anything, I think of it in its purest form. Music from different parts of the world, it’s not necessarily western pop music – it could be raï, amapiano or traditional Japanese choirs – it’s emotional and I channel that into my own music.
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Do you sometimes associate specific sounds with specific emotions?
For sure! Sometimes it’s fun to mix things up, sometimes it’s fun to talk about sad things over fast beats, or sometimes it’s fun to be happy over a slow beat. And even genres, rock music has always made me feel a certain kind of way. I would say depending on how I feel, that’s all it is for me. I will use the music to make the public understand what I feel.
So when you create a track, an EP, an album, etc., do you accept the process as it comes or is it methodically planned?
I just kissed her. I don’t think that’s the best thing to think about in music, you’re not supposed to think about “how are we going to get a hit”, or “how are we going to get people to listen”. Music, even though there’s a whole business behind it, in its purest form comes with how you feel, with time and what’s going on in the world. That’s why I take it as it comes. Advance planning doesn’t always work, it’s not authentic.
What is your favorite project of yours?
The scrapbook. And also what I have planned after the album. I can’t say much about that, but there will be more.
Pre-order Nando’s EP Mix It Up Amapiano here