Toya is any­thing but lazy

CityPress - - News - CHARL BLIGNAUT charl.blignaut@city­press.co.za

When award-win­ning singer, rap­per and pi­anist Toya De­lazy re­leases her third al­bum next year, it’s go­ing to be quite dif­fer­ent to her first two.

No longer signed to Sony Mu­sic, she has taken her ca­reer into her own hands and ev­ery­thing she does now is un­der the De­lazy En­ter­tain­ment la­bel – in­clud­ing the six-coun­try African tour that she fin­ished off on home soil this week.

“I was feel­ing so gagged, stran­gled, I wasn’t re­leas­ing, my ideas were not what my record com­pany was look­ing for ... I needed to re­vi­talise my artistry, find the ‘Pump It On’ Toya again ... And now I’m fi­nally back to what started in Dur­ban. Jazz, elec­tro, rap, crunk.”

Af­ter a busi­ness part­ner dropped out, the 26-year-old De­lazy funded, pro­duced and pro­moted the tour her­self. She and her band The War­riors per­formed “the old reper­toire, but rein­ter­preted the way it was al­ways in­tended”.

She loved Zanz­ibar, meet­ing the Maa­sai and quad bik­ing in the dunes in Namibia. “In Zam­bia, I was so shocked at how many peo­ple are into African al­ter­na­tive [mu­sic]. In Nairobi, the mu­si­cal move­ment is so rich and di­verse. I was col­lab­o­rat­ing with dif­fer­ent artists who opened for us in ev­ery coun­try, and we ended up jam­ming with them.”

Her stage sur­name may be a nod to her fa­mous fam­ily (Buthelezi), but De­lazy has been any­thing but lazy since she de­cided to re­lo­cate to Lon­don from Camps Bay in Cape Town last year.

She’s been steadily win­ning the re­spect of Lon­don’s al­ter­na­tive and hip-hop scenes, and you can ex­pect to hear col­lab­o­ra­tions with the likes of Bri­tish stars such as Lil Simz, the rap­per, singer and ac­tress.

“Now I’m in a big pond, even though I’m in­die,” she says.

When For­bid­den Fruit off her sec­ond al­bum, As­cen­sion, won Best In­ter­na­tional Song at the Out Mu­sic Awards, De­lazy and her band were in­vited to per­form at Pride Lon­don.

“I did my whole punk­ish elec­tro vibe and some­thing clicked. I’m like, ‘I need to take this home be­fore I fo­cus on Europe’.”

Speak­ing of the Out Awards, she isn’t keen to say too much about her sex­ual iden­tity – “I feel it’s so per­sonal” – but ac­knowl­edges her re­spon­si­bil­ity as a role model. “I stand for peo­ple be­ing open to pan­sex­u­al­ity. It was my chance to speak out about how we are all dif­fer­ent, and that what was for­bid­den back in the day is no longer for­bid­den.”

What she wants is to spend a week with her grand­par­ents, whom she misses des­per­ately, be­fore head­ing back to her small apart­ment – “it’s ba­si­cally a room” – near Soho in Lon­don.

“I have a sin­gle to fin­ish, which will be re­leased around Fe­bru­ary, March. It’s about be­ing awak­ened in the mind.”

And De­lazy En­ter­tain­ment has signed three fe­male rap­pers, the fierce and gen­der-bend­ing Klutch Kol­lec­tive, who will soon be re­leas­ing their sec­ond sin­gle and then, next year, their de­but al­bum.

De­lazy has taken charge of her des­tiny, which is no mean feat for a young woman in the in­dus­try. “I’m pure about what I want ... I’m liv­ing now.”

De­lazy and her band have per­formed in six African coun­tries in the past few weeks

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