Singer’s star keeps rising

Busiswa rides on wave of ‘Black Panther’ success with a new release, writes Zamandulo Malonde

Busiswa Gqulu, who hails from the Eastern Cape, has released a 13-track album titled ‘Highly Favoured’
Busiswa Gqulu, who hails from the Eastern Cape, has released a 13-track album titled ‘Highly Favoured’

Eastern Cape- born singer Busiswa Gqulu – whose single featured in the blockbuster Black Panther movie – was in Port Elizabeth last week to launch her first album.

As a result of her hard work along with collaborators who put in just as much effort, Gqulu’s single, Gobis’iqolo, reached the ears of millions due to its inclusion in the film version of the Marvel comic.

And the hard work has been ongoing, as Gqulu has been involved with promotion tours of her debut album – and performances – just three months after giving birth to a bouncing baby boy.

The Midnight Starring hitmaker visited Port Elizabeth last week to promote her 13-track album, Highly Favoured.

The lively singer said dedication and hard work were some of her secrets to staying relevant in the male-dominated South African entertainment industry.

“Because the industry is already male-dominated, almost all the producers you’ll work with are men, so you have to be assertive and navigate the kinds of relationships that you create [with them] and set boundaries, because if you create a situation where men can take advantage then you can’t [focus] on your work,” Gqulu said.

“It takes a lot less for men to walk the red carpet because not much effort is needed, whereas as a woman you’re expected to look good before you even start making money, while also being a homemaker.

“It takes a lot less for men to walk the red carpet because not much effort is needed, whereas as a woman you’re expected to look good before you even start making money, while also being a homemaker. It costs more for women because we have a lot to consider, including our own safety,” she said.

As one of the struggles she faces as a woman in the industry, the Lahla vocalist said the amount of travelling that her career demanded made it difficult for her to spend enough time being a mother and homemaker.

But she seems to be handling this juggling act quite well as she had planned strategically around her pregnancy.

“When I realised I was pregnant I just started recording all of this music so that I could still be dominant in December even though I was going to be on maternity leave.

“I approached people who I know work hard and worked with them, so it was fairly easy for me to get bookings as soon as I announced my return, because while I was not on stages performing, my voice was still present.”
She shot music videos for her hit singles, Midnight Starring and Bazoyenza, while still nearly six months pregnant.

Highly Favoured hit the shelves in December, five years after the songbird and poet broke into the industry.

Since then she has collaborated with some of South Africa’s biggest names, including Oskido and Dj Zinhle.

“It’s been a long time coming because I’ve been doing singles for quite a while. It was just time. Although it’s a lot more work I had gotten to a point where even the worst case scenario was looking good, so I just decided to take the risk, as I did with all my singles,” she said.

Highly Favoured is available at Musica stores and digital music platforms.

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