Slovaz, aka Khaya ‘Kicky’ Khumalo, has just released a new album entitled ‘The Slovaz Chronicles: Ubuntu Bami’. The album, Slovaz’s third, was produced by legendary composer, Gabi Le Roux, from Kaleidosound and best known for his creation of cross-over hits with Mandoza. It includes a new musical sound that is different from his earlier style. It combines references to ‘the early days of Kwaito’ with strong house, jazz and gospel influences. Slovaz has also introduced a more lyrical approach, with an extended vocal repertoire.
The album contains 10 tracks, including the cover ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ featuring collaboration with noted songstress Lindiwe Suttle. All songs were composed by Slovaz (vocals) and Gabi Le Roux (music). The team spent an entire year crafting an introspective and soulful album that marks a very personal journey for Slovaz.
Slovaz describes his experience of working with Le Roux as life altering creatively: ‘Working with such a titan took the project to the next level. We were on the same page throughout the process. The chemistry was instantaneous and magical.’
Slovaz’s return to music marks the end of a sabbatical that also included recuperation from an accidental gunshot that narrowly and miraculously missed his heart. The story related to this was covered in the local press.
Earlier works include ‘Isinqawunqawu (2000)’ followed by a second album ‘Impilo Kalova (2005). The inclusion of Slovaz’s popular track ‘Sho Sgebengu’ from the television series, Yizo Yizo was a milestone. The “Yizo Yizo” soundtrack was an instant hit including such luminaries as Brown Dash, Zola, Mzekezeke, Brenda Fassie and Kabelo. Slovaz’s song from the Impilo kaLova Album‘Tsotsi Ungvuse nami Ekuseni’ was selected and used by MTN as the signature tune for the 2006 MTN SAMAS and further works have been featured regularly on local television series Zone 14.
The name Slovaz emanated from the character in the television series “Yizo Yizo 3”, namely Ria's thugged-out goon with a tattoo on his six-pack. Slovaz was actually born Steven Kicky Khayelihle Khumalo in the infamous township of KwaMashu in Durban. Whilst he has kept part of his past identity, notably still showing the tattoo of his name carved across his midriff, Slovaz is passionate about his faith, being a born-again Christian that worships at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg, Johannesburg.
With songs like ‘Ubuntu’ and ‘Dreamer’, Slovaz introduces an introspective and sensitive side, which is distinctively different from earlier works. ‘Baby, it’s you’ was written specifically for his wife of four years, Nozipho Khumalo. The versatility of Slovaz’s voice is more pronounced on this new album, clearly shown in the duet he performs with Lindiwe Suttle.
The track ‘Ubuntu’ was selected for a music video which Kyle Lewis directed. Slovaz has had media interviews in the wake of his new album that hits the stores soon. He has been featured in DRUM magazine, Sunday Sun, and The Sowetan. He has been broadcast and interviewed on Radio station namely, Uhkozi, Moretele , Gagazi, Metro and Lesedi FM. He just recently made a guest appearance on ETV Sunrise.
Ubuntu Bami is music with a message. He explains: ‘This is me - Slovaz the son, the brother, the husband, the colleague and most of all Slovaz the father who wants to nurture the youth. This is the legacy I want to leave for the youth of South Africa.’