Nakhane has been on the local radar for a number of years but the last 18 months have seen his brand explode overseas too. His music, which is doused in melancholy before being draped in his gorgeous vocals, has shown the incredible power of storytelling in music. He has used his art to make statements about love (an emotion he knows plenty about) and protest the LGBTQI rights in South Africa and indeed the continent.
It is no surprise that international big wigs in music are recognising his talent and this week, New York Times featured him on their list of “10 Musicians to Watch in 2019”.
The publication had plenty of positive words for his album, You Will Not Die, which earned rave reviews from South Africans and those beyond the continent. Nakhane was named among musicians from America, the UK, Europe and Asia, and on the topic of the South African artist they wrote:
“The songs on his album You Will Not Die delve into both trauma and redemption. They ponder faith, pleasure, exile and belonging; they traverse hymns, neo-soul, South African pop and electronic dance music, and Nakhane’s voice crests in a vibrant, androgynous falsetto. Tenacity carries him toward joy.”
If there’s anything to be slightly curious about with Nakhane’s global rise, it’s that his fame overseas appears to be eclipsing that in his own country. It is nothing new to note that queer artists appear to enjoy more success internationally than they do in Mzansi.
Our support of local music has made great leaps and strides in recent years and now we need to open up the conversation to enjoying all local music. If Nakhane is good enough for the New York Times, surely he should be good enough for the rest of Mzansi?
We applaud Nakhane on his incredible achievement, and we hope 2019 is the year he begins to receive the support he deserves from SA.
Main image credit: Instagram/@nakhaneofficial