Toya Delazy’s talent is undisputed. She embodies all things cool; she is funky, fresh, young, and has such infectious energy. At only 23 years of age, this young songbird has chirped well-enough to wake up South Africa, and get the nation singing along to her catchy beats. Toya Delazy, whose real name is Latoya Buthelezi, and granddaughter to Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, came to our attention in 2011.
As unexpected and seemingly sudden her rise to fame has been, Latoya’s background gives us enough inclination to assume there has been sufficient struggle through the years to make it. Her Sony packaged album titled “Due Drop” which was released in October, 2011, is led by a feisty debut single called “Pump it on”. The airplay this single has received has been tremendous, and the music video packaged for the debut track deserves honorary recognition.
The official video for “Pump it on” is currently sitting on 107, 053 YouTube hits, and receiving support from prominent music channels, such as Channel O, MTV Base and TRACE Urban. The second single is titled “Love is in the air” and is also well received by the public; the video has received 33 777 hits on YouTube. Buthelezi describes her album and sound as; “it’s a little bit of everything: jazz, electro, hip hop, pop. I get my bass elements from my jazz background; add some electro keys and my flow is heavily influenced by hip hop. “Pump It On” has all these elements, but it’s still quite poppy”, she says. With such diverse appeal, the former Howard College (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal) jazz student has been embraced both locally and abroad, with listeners often mistaking her slick sound for that of an international act.
Due Drop features production from the likes of Jax Panik and Octave Couplet, and collaborations with The Soil and others. Music critics have on the general scale appreciated that the lass certainly has talent, however condemned this apparently permeating trend to auto-tune, and overly-produce a perfectly good sound for the sake of commercialization. The album is poppy, electro, and very much a dance-album; the lyrics do not offer much depth. The auto-tune is dominant, and this is a distraction to an artist who otherwise, has more to show. The feeling here is, it would be a treat to hear Toya Delazy at her most natural and undeterred, just her voice and piano playing with harmonious melodies. Nonetheless, she had garnered enough supporters to show that there is something she is doing rather well.
Buthelezi is as interesting to listen to as she is to look at. Her choice of aesthetic appeal is an array of ensembles rich in multitudes of colours, and textures. She describes her personal style as a mixture of “street and vintage”. All of this is usually adorned by her brand crown of an intricate braided Mohawk and eccentric nerd glasses.
The songstress’s future certainly looks as colourful as her style, and the anticipation for more is at its peak. Delazy is South Africa’s latest gem and I certainly am keen for a second album.
By Nyeleti Machovani