Kelly Khumalo draws on 'love, betrayal and women's struggles' for new album

'I'd like to do a second season of my reality show,' admits the songstress as she fills us in on the inspiration behind 'The Voice of Africa' and her future plans

09 October 2020 - 00:00
Kelly Khumalo says the music on her new album, 'The Voice of Africa', reflects 'what we go through as Africans at large'.
Kelly Khumalo says the music on her new album, 'The Voice of Africa', reflects 'what we go through as Africans at large'.
Image: Supplied

Kelly Khumalo drops her much-anticipated album, The Voice of Africa, featuring eight new tracks on Friday. 

We spoke to the award-winning singer and songwriter to find out where she drew her inspiration for the album from, what life has been like after the launch of her reality show, Life with Kelly Khumalo, and what we can expect from her next.

You drew a lot of inspiration from Africa for your album. Can you tell us more? 

During the days of the [Egyptian] Pharaohs, there was a cat [deity] called Bastet. Bastet was a royal warrior that looked after the Pharaoh's family. So the gold and the black [in the music video for the first single, Empini] is taken from that. And also, Africa is one of the continents that has its own minerals in terms of charcoal, in terms of gold. So that’s where the inspiration comes from.

If you go into the music, the music reflects African stories and what we go through as Africans at large.

Kelly Khumalo in one of the outfits she wears in the music video for her track, 'Empini'.
Kelly Khumalo in one of the outfits she wears in the music video for her track, 'Empini'.
Image: Supplied
A depiction of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet.
A depiction of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet.
Image: 123RF/Michal Boubín

What's your favourite track from the album?

It’s like you're asking me to pick one child over the other. What I’ve learnt over the years is that there is no such thing as a favourite song; it’s about what the song represents as an individual. So all eight songs represent a specific part of who I am and what stories I want to tell.

If you listen to the album, there’s women’s struggles and there’s betrayal, there’s love, there’s embracing the Godly-given power that I have as an individual and that we all have as individuals.

You already have a music video out for Empini, the first single. Will you be releasing another music video from your album soon?

We will definitely release another music video — we just have to decide which song. All the songs are really picking up beautifully, both on digital platforms and on radio. I’ve had two of my songs on the charts: Empini and Esphambanweni. It’s a very tough one. We don’t know as yet which songs to shoot a video for because we have another single that will be released in a month or two.

WATCH | The music video for Kelly Khuma's track 'Empini'.

How has life changed since your reality show, Life with Kelly Khumalo, hit the small screen?

The reality show has been nothing but a blessing to me. It allowed me to own my story, to own my journey and also it has allowed me to find healing, even with the things that I’ve overlooked. So this journey has been nothing but amazing for me.

Will there be a season two of Life with Kelly Khumalo?

I’m not at liberty to share whether we will have season two or not, but personally I’m hoping that we will because the journey has just began and I would like to share more.

People were inspired by Life with Kelly Khumalo — particularly a lot of women were inspired by it.

I would like to do that for another season or two, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for season two.

Have you already started working on your next album or are you taking things slow?

I don’t know about a follow-up album as yet. This one is fairly new so I have my focus on The Voice of Africa, just expanding it and getting possible collaborations.

So collaborations are something you're keen on?

That’s what I’m looking at doing, maybe by adding more songs into the same album.