Kabomo pines for local gig
For South African neo-soul and RnB artist Kabomo Vilakazi, music is a way of life and recently the muso experiences his crowing moment to date as he performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival, a decade later after being on the other side of the stage as an enthusiastic audience member. For Kabomo, performing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival this August was a dream come true, sharing the stage alongside the legendary Stimela and American brand, The Temptations. “It was a big deal for me,” he said.
“My dad used to take me to the joy of jazz and I’ve seen my favourite artists there and back then being in the audience as well as seeing people revel at them was so amazing and now I get to perform on that stage. It is more than a milestone,” he said further.
For a decade before venturing into the limelight, Kabomo was behind the scenes as a producer, songwriter and vocalist, having worked with renowned artists like Thembi Seete, HHP and Kelly Khumalo. He now has two albums out; All Things Grey (2011) and recently delivered another offering to his fans.
Kabomo’s new album titled Memory Remains was released a few weeks back and is due to be launched before the end of the year. He describes his second album as a celebration of love. He performed ‘S’fika ’ with his band at the Joy of Jazz, a heart string tugging ballad from the album which was enjoyed immensely by the mixed crowd.
Though commanding a mass appeal to the young adult audience, his musical influence stems from the older generation musicians. He grew up listening to the likes of Bayete, Hugh Masekela, Stimela and Caiphus Semenya. “Even though I don’t sing the same music as them, they have influenced how I compose my music,” he explained.
Kabomo has learnt a lot during his sharing of the stage with internationally celebrated musicians such as Lizz Wright, John Legend, Gerald Albright, Bilal, Phonte, Louie Vega, amongst many others. He said that an artist will never go wrong by being that true to oneself, something he says the younger generation needs to pick up.
“What I have realized as a musician is that audiences connect with truth. And that is something these international artists that I look up to and have had a chance to share stage with possess,” he said. “When fans compliment me after a show where international artists like Eric Roberson came after me, that I am more talented or as talented, I realized that it’s not about that. It is just that we both speak our truth and when you are true the people will connect to your music,” he explained.
Kabomo reminisces of how he used to travel often to Botswana to perform at poetry gigs. “I desperately want to come to Botswana. I have to be invited first. I get about three tweets daily asking when I’m coming. I used to make trips to Botswana regularly for poetry gigs, but that was way back when I was not famous. I would love to play there with my band and perform,” he said.