It’s been a long-standing trend for progressive and experimental local acts to make a name for themselves at home by making a name for themselves overseas first. Not the easiest route to take, but it’s usually still easier than trying to get local media and audiences to notice you when you’re not doing the same thing as everyone else. That being said, it’s pretty much impossible not to notice Fortune Shumba wherever he is.
Fortune is about to return home from a rip-roaring tour of Australia called The Trash tour (named after his #menaretrash anthem, “Trash!”) and judging from social media and Australian media, the tour has been an absolute success. After becoming such a hit in the land down under, I sent him a few Facebook messages ahead of his return home to see where his head’s at, and how he plans to use this momentum. It turns out he not only has a big personality but a big heart too, as you’ll soon find out.
Firstly, congrats on the Aussie tour, it looks incredible from this side and like it’s been a life-defining experience, how do you feel about coming home from this? Are you excited to continue riding the momentum, or are you looking to maybe chill for a bit, and are there any niggling worries about coming home?
The Trash tour has been a life-changing experience and I am truly honoured and grateful to everyone that believed in me and my views enough to support the movement and help turn this vision into a reality. My management Nomandla, Heaps Gay, my amazing DJ Si’ Noir, the talented acts I played with, the photographers, the festivals and the beautiful people who came to the shows are some of those individuals.
Of course the shows themselves require a lot of physical and spiritual energy and you get kak anxious a few minutes before you step on that stage, but once you are on, and you realise the hundreds of eyes and smiles all cheering for you, you have no other choice but to give it your all and by the time you get to the second song of your set you are already in your zone just having the time of your life; doing something you are extremely passionate about. All the positive feedback and people whose lives you’ve touched in a positive way is the best reward ever and makes it all worthwhile. The appreciation is super fulfilling.
Above and beyond, this has proven to me that dreams are real and with determination, hard work and a dedicated team of people whose goals align with yours- anything really is possible. I am super excited to go back home and share all the amazing stories with my peeps and inspire more greatness. My story is a special one.
One Australian gentleman said I should keep this momentum going because consistency is key. I will not be resting for a while as I have a big purpose to fulfill and music is my instrument. I will take the opportunities offered to me to share my message of Love, Acceptance, and Freedom with the masses and perhaps educate and inspire positivity in people across the world through my work and my presence. All I had ever dreamt of is this platform which has now been granted to me. Until I feel like I have brought enough change and have nothing more to offer, I will not be backing down.
I am not too worried about coming back home for now. If anything I am even more pumped to share my message with South African audiences and inspire more people; my contribution to creating a more inclusive and pleasant South Africa for all of us when I get back home. I might be sticking around a bit longer than I was initially supposed to as I have been offered a chance to tour with a huge band as an opening act next month. That still needs to get announced so I cannot reveal much but it is exciting as fuck to get this well received on a global scale. I will be manifesting more SA gigs in the meantime. Also, I had been missing pap and skobho cause I am still a township babe at heart, although we did make some pap and relish with some braaied meat last night.
You’ve been at this music thing for a few years now, but from the outside, this seems to be your breakout year. Does it feel that way for you?
I feel like I still have a looooong way to go before I can officially say THIS IS IT. I still push myself to be better with each show done and each song recorded. I honestly aim to be a global musical act at some point and then maybe I will feel like I have arrived. A lot of what I have been doing was laying a solid foundation for something massive, something even I doubt I can fully comprehend at this point in my life.
And finally, with 2018 drawing to a close, how are you planning on spending the last few remaining months and have you thought about your plans for 2019 yet?
I am looking at releasing my “Trash!” music video (which was shot by an amazing NGO called Umuzi) in the next month or two. Shortly after that, we will be releasing the second single- it will most likely be “Trouble”, also produced by Vox Portent. I will be collaborating with a few other artists, something I had not done a lot of in the past. I also aim to release my third EP, Dusk before the year ends.
Oh and I want to do a sanitary pad drive, we are calling it the Rad Pad drive. Not sure if I should be speaking about it yet as I prefer to do the actual thing first before speaking about it. Staying here longer will make the pad drive possible and then I can bring the pads back home with me to assist those in need as this issue has remained one of the closest to my heart. Women should not struggle with their period when men’s condoms are so easily accessible and having sex is a choice and menstruating is not.
Photography – Ezra Kofi Qua-Enoo
Styling – Unathi Mkonto