It’s been a little over one year when South African born guitarist, Mbuzeni Mkhize performed a remixed version of Diamonds by Rihanna in Istanbul-Turkey. Never could he foresee the doors that would open for his career.
The KwaZulu talent known for his mastery of Maskindi also called Maskanda, a subgenre of Zulu folk music, got a call from the team of the LA-based pop star Rihanna, that she wanted to do a song with him.
He was told the request was prompted after she saw a video of him performing a remix of her 2012 hit track “Diamonds”.
Mkhize, who hails from Mkomazi, South-East of KwaZulu-Natal, said he was shocked when he was contacted by Rihanna’s team.
Now, the little-known guitarist is off to the US where he will collaborate on a song with Rihanna expected in December.
He told the SowetanLIVE he has already begun working on the song.
To him, the lifetime opportunity will sky rocket not just his music career, but will also take the maskandi music genre to its biggest level.
“Rihanna could have chosen any person to work with her. But she chose me out of hundreds of maskandi artists. For that, I am honored and humbled. I thank my ancestors for the gift [of singing].”
Mkhize explained that the deal came after an international promoter saw him performing in Turkey last year and took a video of his performances.
“He showed the videos to Rihanna, who liked my interpretation of her song and the way I did it. She asked to meet me and if we can do a maskandi song that will be in both our albums.”
After performing internationally in Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, Mkhize acknowledges that collaborating with Rihanna, an internationally-acclaimed artist who has won over 215 awards with even more nominations for her contemporary R&B, pop, hip hop, and dance music, will be a game-changer for his music career.
“This is a big thing for South Africa and for maskandi as a whole. This shows that my music is taken seriously wherever I perform.”
Before heading to the US for the recording session with Rihanna, Mkhize will be entertaining audiences in Paris where he hopes to advocate for his music genre, further selling himself.
From sealing recording deals to headlining top musical concerts, African talents continue to mesmerize the world and they are loving every bit of it.