Thandiswa Mazwai on fame: You can't live according to people's expectations

16 November 2017 - 07:00 By Kyle Zeeman
Thandiswa Mazwai says that her happiness comes from staying true to herself.
Thandiswa Mazwai says that her happiness comes from staying true to herself.
Image: Via Thandiswa's Instagram

Thandiswa Mazwai has been in the music industry for 22 years and seen a lot of change, but the star says the key to her not bowing into the pressures of fame and popularity is being true to her identity.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE ahead of a special show to be held next month at the State Theatre as part of the 10th Annual Mzansi Fela Festival, Thandiswa explained how her sound was different to that often heard on radio.

"People associate my work with their traditions and culture and maybe there isn't enough of that in the music industry. The music industry does sometimes become a little poppy and more about the accumulation of things. My work is about memories and identity"

"When you are a musician creating any work, you don't have a sense of what that work is going to become or achieve in your community. I have just had the blessing that my work has had some kind of resonance in my community."

She said that she has never been tempted to give into the temptations of the industry and believed that the key to happiness and success in music was to be true.

"You cannot want to live in other people's expectations . Your only intention should be to tell your story and tell it authentically. That is the only culture an artist should have. I don't have a desire for popularity or a desire for anything that people think identify you as a successful person. My success comes from finishing my work. So, as soon as I finish my work, I feel like I have succeeded. Anything that happens after that is out of my hands," she said.

Thandiswa said that she wanted to touch people's lives with her music and explained how she had several ways of approaching her live shows, according to what she felt would be best.

"I have a lot of band configurations. I have a jazz band. I have the band I have been playing with for 20 years," she said.