Page through Sakhile Moleshe’s diary - Photography by  - Fleur Beemster
Photography by Fleur Beemster

Page through Sakhile Moleshe’s diary

With the release of his debut solo project, “The Final Call“, the vocalist and composer Sakhile Moleshe invites listeners to tap into the conversations taking place in his head. Describing it as diary-style, Sakhile says that “if someone adjusts their listening to feel like [they’re] paging through someone’s diary with or without permission, that’s what the album should feel like.”

Growing up in the home town of Fort Hare University, Alice in the Eastern Cape, Sakhile’s first introduction to music was through the church choir. This would develop further in high school where he picked up DJing and performed in rock and jazz bands. With a background in movement theatre, Sakhile was inspired by Standard Bank Young Artist winner Acty Tang to study music. “I was into movement theatre before I did music. So, I just found that his dancing and the way that he expressed himself through movement was always taken to another level by his choice of music. I thought I really want to create music for movement. Create music for theatre and so on, so I thought let me study music and come back to theatre at a later stage. So that’s when I started studying Jazz at UCT.”

It was while studying that Sakhile connected with Goldfish and recorded “Fort Knox” and “Cruising Through”, which would see him performing with the group around the world for five years. “They were kind of stealing me from lectures, flying me to Bloemfontein, Joburg, Durban to sold-out shows. Both songs did very well for them on their Pacha release. Pacha is one of the oldest clubs in Ibiza so they gave Goldfish a record deal and they took me to Ibiza with them, we toured worldwide, New York, Paris, London, all the major cities, as well as playing local shows, which were always packed. So that was the most amazing experience after university where you’re kind of dreaming up so many things and that was a great manifestation of all my dreams from university.”

Around the same time, Sakhile and fellow UCT music student Bokani Dyer formed the Soul Housing Project which saw the two work with numerous Cape Town-based musicians. “I would take things that I would do on the piano and get him to play them on the piano and I’d free up space to sing. That’s kind of the dynamic. Then he would come with a piano sketch that he didn’t quite [know] what to do with and he needed some vocals and I would be the first person to express them.”

The release of Sakhile’s solo album came out of necessity. “I’d obviously banked on Goldfish and Soul Housing Project being my only two vehicles but years later after reflecting I realised that as a vocalist I’m in love with acapella music. Acapella music has such a strong history in South Africa in terms of struggle music, choral music is a big thing here more than some places in Africa. So, I wanted to have an album that mixed my love for hip hop, jazz and acapella music and see how far I could take that.”

Sakhile titled the album “The Final Call” referencing the fact that this is his moment to show what he is capable of. “I’d always done projects with everybody else and I felt like I could lose my identity through doing that. ‘Final Call’ means it’s my final moments to define myself, to face myself. A lot of people believed in me up front, so it’s the final call to actually deliver the goods and hinge that not on a personality but the art itself.”

Describing it as honest music, Sakhile explains that “I want you to feel like you’re inside my mouth and by virtue of the fact that you can get inside my mouth you can get inside my thoughts and hear all these other voices that I have speaking inside my head and listen to them converse, that’s what the album style is all about.” Written and produced by himself, Sakhile worked with mixing engineer Gavin Eckart to achieve the sound he was looking for.

“I would like people to let all the voices inside their heads speak. You can have a conversation for 5 minutes with someone you don’t know and they could become part of your voice. I would implore people to be aware of those voices that merge into their own and to invite other voices in your head that can help you realise your destiny and your path.”

The Final Call” will be launched Melrose Arch at the Young Rebel Studio pop-up on the 30th of January.

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