‘Hear my songs and not scandals’ says Zahara as she heads to PE
Zahara, Samthing Soweto to perform at Ibhayi Live Experience
For much of 2019, Eastern Cape-born afro-soul singer Zahara’s personal life has hogged the headlines. But, as she prepares to perform in Port Elizabeth on June 1, the star is hell-bent on reminding the public why she is famous – for her singing talent.
From her struggles with alcohol abuse, conflict with former record label TS Records and alleged financial woes, the Loliwe hitmaker has seen herself in the spotlight for everything but her music.She is ready to put the negative publicity behind her to focus on her career.
Anyone looking for her “true story” should attentively listen to her most recent album, Umgodi, she says.
“If you want to know all about where I stand emotionally and spiritually, pay attention to my music.“Everything that is being revealed now I sang about in Umgodi ... people just need to pay attention,” she said.
Zahara, whose real name is Bulelwa Mkutukana, will perform alongside former The Soil and Akanamali hitmaker Samthing Soweto, whose real name is Samkelo Mdolomba, at the second instalment of the Ibhayi Live Experience at the Boardwalk ICC.
The Phumlani-bred singer was in Port Elizabeth in April for a MultiChoice and BayTV event, and said performing in the Eastern Cape was something she always looked forward to.
“I love performing for my people. “It always feels like home, where I never have to adjust or change anything about myself,” she said.
The Port Elizabeth performance is one of the first gigs that mark a fresh start for the singer, who is busy with touchups of her own record company under which she will release music in future.
“I know people have been asking about a new album and it will come at the right time. “I just wanted to clear the air and get everything out of the way before moving on.”
In an interview with MetroFM’s MoFlava in April, Zahara accused TS Records owner DJ Sbu and TK Nciza of having robbed her of millions from her time with the company, claims which both Nciza and DJ Sbu denied.
“I have handed everything to my lawyers to fight for me and my money so I can focus on what I am here for – making music and telling my story.”
The star said she had finally opened up about the matter to show the public the realities of the music industry.
“The reason I even came out with my story is to be true to people who look up to me and let them see the reality of the industry,” Zahara said. “As people in the public eye, we often forget that we are role models and tend to display this perfect life on Instagram.
“I want the people who see me and may want to pursue the same path to know this journey comes with its own hardships,” she said.
With the conflict having been handed over to the musician’s legal team, Zahara will kick off her US tour a month after the Port Elizabeth show. The overseas tour will run until August 4.
“I will only be back in the country for a National Women’s Day event that I’m already booked for and leave again to continue with overseas shows [after it],” she said.
With her busy diary, Zahara reckons a new album may only come in 2020, giving fans more time to revisit Umgodi and listen to the singer’s story.
The star rose to fame in 2011 with her hit debut studio album, Loliwe, produced by the late Robbie Malinga and Mojalefa Thebe. She has since released The Beginning Live recording (2012), the EP, Nelson Mandela (2013), her second studio album, Phendula (2013), third studio album, Country Girl (2015), and fourth studio album, Mgodi (2017). Mgodi went gold in less than 24 hours.
The second Ibhayi Live Experience concert follows shortly after the first instalment which featured Bay pride Amanda Black as headliner. The show will start at 7pm, with Thembi Mona as supporting act to Zahara and Samthing Soweto.
Tickets cost between R200 and R400, and are available at Computicket.