The shot is fired, Sikelela; is the latest single released by Collen Khalishwayo. The music prodigy who already has two albums under his belt came back like never before with this hip-hop/kwaito single that is currently disturbing the frequency.
The Paulpietersburg born, in an interview with Braamfontein Alive shared his journey so far in the world of music and how he preaches peace and hope as a way to inspire young and old.
Below is what he has to say:
Q: My brother is good to meet you and can you introduce yourself?
A: Yeah, yeah. Good to meet you too. I’m just blessed to be here. My name is Collen Khalishwayo. Also, go by the name Collen in the music industry. Born in KwaZulu-Natal, and I started this music thing at an early age then we came to Joburg to pursue it.
Q: What brought you to music? Why are you doing music?
A: Truly speaking; music has been my life. I grew up at home in KZN doing all kinds of music. You will find me in gospel groups, traditional dancing, etc. This thing is in my blood and I never stop since then. When we talk about music; that’s my language. That’s what I know best.
Q: What kind of music genre do you do?
A: I’m based on Hip-hop/Kwaito; although, music is music. If you bring me music I’ll do music. Regardless of what kind of genres but I base on Hip-hop/ Kwaito.
Q: So why Hip-Hop/ Kwaito?
A: You know, we grew up there listening to Kwaito and that makes us what we are now and later run Hip-Hop came on board so mixing together will give you the best. So I decided to do Hip-Hop/ Kwaito as I don’t want Kwaito to die while I’m still here.
Q: Who and who have been your role models as Kwaito artists?
A: I will put it the way it is, Zola is my man! Is always my man although, the late Mandoza; the like of Mdu Masilela has been there for me but Zola is my man!
Q: What and what did you see in Zola that made you to say is your man? Do you have any similarities?
A: Actually, I relate in a way that I can’t explain in Zola’s music. Whatever he went through I feel like “this is me; everything he sings about is me!” So I just decided to help this guy preach the same verse is preaching!
Q: So what’s that verse?
A: The verse of Kwaito. You know sometimes in music people tend to forget where we come from. The things that we go through every day. So we just tend to forget by singing about nice time and stuff and so Zola wasn’t there. Zola was there for people that were facing difficulties, to uplift them and give them hope.
Q: So your songs give hope to the hopeless?
A: Everything I write is to give hope. Although, we do it through entertainment but is to give hope.
Q: I just listened to your latest single, Sikelela. What brought about it?
A: Sikelela, is a song that I wrote while I was looking at the things that were happening nowadays. Sometimes, the things that are happening. We act like we don’t see them because we don’t want to talk. I decided to be the man that talking about it while everybody is just standing aside and look.
Q: In other words, Sikelela is acting as the voice of the people?
A: Yes, I’m just speaking for them! It seems no one wants to stand up and say “what’s happening?”
Q: So is this your first project or do you have something that you’ve done before?
A: Yeah, I do have projects that have done before. Actually, two albums that were done before. Although, they were not that marketed enough. So this one, we just told ourselves we’re changing the change.
Q: Changing the change: what’s title of the project you are currently busy with?
A: The project we are currently busy with; we include “Sikelela” on it is “Livumile” meaning everything just turns to be light. Everything is just coming together and now is my time.
Q: Can you tell me your journey so far in music. Do you have anyone in your family doing music?
A: I’m the first one in the family doing music. I brought music into the family so sometimes I look at myself as the star of the family because I’m putting the name out there. Although, the journey is not easy to get where I am now but we are trying. Especially when it comes to pushing music the way you want it to get out there. It is not easy the way people are thinking is easy. You need to put all your time there and is not easy to focus on music alone as you need to do some other things. Especially financial wise, you need to balance to push it. Although, I believe that music can speak for itself.
Q: Can you shed some light on the challenges you face as an artist?
A: With music, you need to push yourself, you need to grow, you need to learn; make sure you know the industry before you do whatever you want to do. There’s no short-cut here. You need to go through what other people have been facing. You can’t just come and say this is me and this is my music. It doesn’t work like that. You have to go through all the processes. Make sure whatever you don’t understand you ask!
Q: What’s the strategy or approach in the music industry that you’re adapting to change the game?
A: Firstly, with my lyrics; I know it can change the game. The mixing of my music is second – how I mix now I know many people are not aware that you can mix gospel with hip-hop and make something nice and the likes of other music genres that I do mix. So we are changing the game. If you look at Sikelela; everyone can listen to that song. It’s not for youths or elders but anyone can listen to it. We have put everybody under one umbrella so that the young and the old can learn from each other.
Q: Do you have an album coming soon?
A: We are about to finish the album now. As we are busy releasing Sikelela we are also busy cooking the rest of the songs on my new album so any time soon the album can come out. Although. I’m not sure about the date but any time soon.
Q: On your forthcoming album, how many songs must we expect?
A: Fourteen (14) tracks.
Q: What kind of personality ladies out there should be on the lookout for? Are you a lady’s man?
A: I can’t say I’m a lady’s man but I got something for them. Something that they can listen to and say Collen is the man. Definitely, they will find something for themselves in the forthcoming album.
Q: For the kids, what kind of moral standards have you set for them in your songs?
A: Like I said, we include everyone there. The kids will be dancing with the grown-ups at the same time. Our strategy is to gather the youth and give them entertainment and preach “the verse!”
Q: Among female celebrities, who’s that one you have a crush on?
A: Ah, ah, I’ll be lying if I say I have a crush on anyone! My focus is just music.
Q: Looking at South African music industry; are we getting it right or is there anything we need to do to get it right?
A: Musically, we are definitely growing. We are; although, some touch ups need to be done. Some people need to change few things. I hear on the radio talking about hip-hop artists and female on their music videos; somewhere, somehow, we are losing the respect of our women. Things like that need to be changed. Hip-hop artists need to be the focus, they need to put something out there that can make somebody grow not to corrupt someone. Things like need to be changed. The videos that we are seeing now; the way they are putting the picture of the women out there is not the way it supposes to be.
Q: Where do you see yourself in about five years’ time?
A: I just see myself as the next Dr. Dre. That’s what I see in me. I’m not only an artist. I compose, write, produce, an actor, an entrepreneur. I do all those new things in music.
Q: Can I say is good to have you, my man?
A: Yeah, thank you so much for having me!
Word out! Is time to rock Sikelela and make it travel the world over as we await the dropping date of Collen’s latest album “Livumile.”
For Listening, bookings and reaching out, follow Collen via these platforms:
Facebook: Collen Khalishwayo.
Cell: 083 861 6587 / 071 785 8741.
Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-752317312/sikelela