Former Nelson Mandela Bay Idols contestant Amanda Antony has released her debut album Amazulu last week and it has already reached No 1 on iTunes.
The Beverly Grove songstress, who made it to the top seven on Idols last year, said by the time she was kicked off the competition she already knew what her next move would be.
“When the competition ended in November, I told my mom I was moving to Johannesburg on January 10 the following year. I knew I wanted to do music full time and pursue my passion,” Antony said.
Antony, 23, who now goes by the name of Amanda Black, said she had always had a plan and, thanks to Idols, she was able to generate “gigs” because of the publicity.
Five months into her Joburg stay Ambitiouz Entertainment, mostly known as a hip-hop label with artists such as Emtee, Fifi Cooper and A-Reece, approached her.
“Between May and June this year I met up with the CEO of Ambitiouz Entertainment Kgosi Mahumapelo and signed with them and dropped Amazulu a month later,” Antony said.
Antony, who is known for her raspy tone, said she always had a plan to release a single in May, “maximise on the hype around Idols as much as I can”.
Music producer Sjava, the hitmaker of Ek’seni, produced Amazulu and the 14-track album was released two weeks before the finale of Idols to capitalise on the exposure.
Antony said even though she had signed up with a label, she was always apprehensive about being signed.
“We know the things that happen with upcoming artists being robbed by underhanded labels. I was scared and not in a hurry to sign with anyone but when I met up with them, it felt right and I felt like it was the right thing to do and the right fit for me,” Antony said.
She said even though people described her sound as Afro-pop, she felt she had yet to identify a genre that best described her.
“I do fall under that in many ways but there’s a lot of fusion … I’d say it doesn’t have a name. My music is a lot of fusion. I just wanted to create something fresh, nothing ordinary. There’s a lot of elements such as Xhosa, English, R’n’B, pop mixed with traditional Xhosa music fused with a very present hip-hop element,” she said.
“I draw a lot from past experiences, going through the motions of wanting to be an artist, the no’s I got and the struggling I endured to get here.”
On the name change, Antony said it was a conscious decision she made after learning about her culture, her people and what it meant to be black.
“The black is so figurative, but it means it’s how I feel about being umXhosa, being black and being African,” she said.
Amuzulu is on sale at Musica and is available on iTunes.