Five months after its release, Vusi Nova last week announced his album Naninina had gone platinum. On the back of a successful 2016 and with three singles simultaneously on rotation on the radio, this news is hardly surprising.
“I’m just grateful to people for the love and the support,” Nova said.
“I’m a very spiritual person, I believe in ancestors and God, and I started 2017 with umcimbi (cultural ceremony) just to thank my ancestors for all the blessings and just for looking out for me and making sure I’m alright. I believe ancestors are angels sent by God. So it means I’ve started the year on a proper high.”
This positive start to the year has been boosted by his nomination for Best African Pop Album, Best Styled Artist/Group and Best Produced Album at the 2017 Metro FM Awards.
“I’m just over the moon,” he said.
“In terms of plans for 2017 there’s a song of mine called Ngimfumene. It’s track number 7 on my album, and we’re planning to do a collabo remix with someone from another country in Africa, I won’t say who. And I came to that decision because this guy is doing amazing things not just in Africa but outside Africa. And I can just hear his voice on the song.”
This remix will align with Nova’s goal to branch into the continent and shift into different markets. His music and the topic of love he often delves into is similar to that of R Kelly, someone he says has deeply influenced his music.
One of Nova’s breakthrough songs last year was the album’s title track, Naninina, a song which he references on several occasions during our interview because of the unique process in compiling it.
“I woke up one day and I had a melody,” he said before reciting the song’s melody.
“There were no lyrics at the time, but I had the melody. I took out a piece of paper and the chorus came out. Now the weird thing about the song is that’s all I wrote.”
When he got into the studio, he and his producer composed the instrumental before Nova went into the booth, switched off the lights and sang.
“The song is for my parents, and particularly my mom. I feel like I put her through so much hell in my teen years. I remember one day crashing the car after I stole it from her. I think all those things happened because of drugs.
“I think it’s me saying, ‘Yes I know all this happened in the past, but moving forward and knowing that they aren’t around anymore, I know that they’re watching and looking out for me’. So it’s just me saying that I pray…”
After recording the song on improv, he felt some parts could be improved and wanted to re-record it, but his engineer told him to leave it and let it be as real and imperfect as it is. This, he says, taught him to be more natural. He’s comfortable with his voice now, and he’s arrived at a point where he finally believes in his abilities.
Nova isn’t planning on releasing an album this year because he believes there are plenty of songs on the album he wants people to hear. The first push of the year will be the release of the video of Ngikuthandile.
Before that comes out, Nova, along with Nathi and Ntando will be performing at the Evening of Love at The Wanderers’ Club on Valentine’s Day.
“What better way to celebrate love than with myself, Nathi and Thando. It’s gonna be amazing. Ntando has done great things when it comes to Afro pop in the past – and I still believe he has so much to offer. I think it’s gonna be amazing.”