In 2013, singer and songwriter Msaki used to sell her music from the boot of her car.
“I managed to sell 500 copies of my CD. It was a big deal,” says the bubbly Msaki, whose real name is Asanda Lusaseni Mvana.
Fast-forward six years, and the 33-year-old is now a muso who has collaborated with award-winning artists such as Prince Kaybee, Black Coffee, Mobi Dixon and Tresor. Prince Kaybee’s smash hit Fetch your Life and Tresor’s Sondela, both featuring Msaki, are currently dominating the charts.
There was a point when she could have given up on her musical career, but her passion and perseverance saw to it that she did not.
“Although I knew I could sing, I never took my singing career seriously,” the self-taught musician says.
She is starting to see recognition in the music industry – recently she was honoured at the Mbokodo Awards in the women in music category, which celebrates musicians across musical genres who demonstrate a deep commitment to Africa and her traditions.
“This award means a lot to me, especially given that I grew up in a family where we all loved sport and getting medals became normal.
“It is a big deal to me simply because I started music very late.”
However, she feels she still has a long way to go to prove herself as an artist.
I really appreciate the support, but I still feel it’s too early to say whatever I touch turns to gold. Give me 10 years, then we could be talking a different story
Her journey to musical success has not been a direct one. After matric, she studied law at Nelson Mandela University. However, she found her first year at university a “nightmare” and quit, later obtaining a degree in fine arts from Rhodes University,
Msaki, who now owns her own independent record label, One Shushu Day Artistry, is currently working on her album, which is set to be released next year. The East London-born star’s last album was also her first solo album. Titled Zaneliza, it was released in 2016.
This year, Mafikizolo, who has always been her musical inspiration, approached her to co-write a song for them.
Her face lights up when she talks about the duo. “I have been a big fan since a young age – working with them is like a dream.”
But, she says, working on her latest offering doesn’t mean she is going to shut down collaborations.
“I want people to understand me more musically in my next offering. I feel like I am still trying to find myself as a musician.”
Msaki’s music is inspired by many different things and emotions.
Sometimes she is inspired by what is going on around her or she would dream a song and immediately wake up and record it.
“Always having a journal with me helps because when I think of an idea I pen it down in my journal.”
Her dream is working with young voices, and she would love to work on Clash of the Choirs SA.