The man be­hind Akana­mali

For­mer The Soil band mem­ber says mu­sic saved him from a life of crime

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Bonolo Sekudu

JUST min­utes into a con­ver­sa­tion with Samthing Soweto, real name Samkelo Mdolomba, it be­comes clear that his love for mu­sic comes from a deep place. The 29-year-old mu­si­cian from Soweto is the man be­hind the hit sin­gle, Akana­mali, which is dom­i­nat­ing air­waves and dance­floors. He says he isn’t sur­prised that the song is as big as it is be­cause he puts his heart into ev­ery song he records.


Many peo­ple might think Samthing Soweto is new to the in­dus­try, but he has been around for over 10 years, hav­ing started out with the acapella group, The Soil.

The group’s de­but al­bum was an in­stant suc­cess, with Samthing Soweto hav­ing writ­ten eight out of the 11 songs on the al­bum.

He says his de­ci­sion to leave the group might have been too ‘ag­gres­sive’, leav­ing at a time when they were at their peak.

“Mu­sic is all I know. When a record la­bel signed us, I could not quite un­der­stand why I had to com­ply with the re­stric­tions. Look­ing back, I re­alise that it was a bad busi­ness de­ci­sion.”

When asked about how he feels about the group’s suc­cess, he says, “For me, it was never about the money or fame, so I don’t have a prob­lem with their suc­cess. It just hurts to see that I was not part of the songs that I had writ­ten.”

Samthing Soweto main­tains that there is no bad blood be­tween him and his for­mer band mem­bers.


The man be­hind the sul­try har­monies has not al­ways been as soft and put to­gether as he sounds as there was a time when he was in trou­ble with the law.

“I was once ar­rested for some­thing se­ri­ous and I was in jail for two and a half months. But I don’t like talk­ing about that part of my life. When I came out, mu­sic saved my life,” he says.

On the out­side he seemed re­bel­lious, but lit­tle did peo­ple know that go­ing into a life of crime was an es­cape for him.

“My mom got men­tally-ill. It was so sad to see a woman who was a teacher, self-ac­tu­alised and strong lose her mind. It broke me and that part of my life was the rea­son I got into trou­ble with the po­lice.”


Samthing Soweto says he has been hav­ing some in­ter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple keen on sign­ing him.

“I have had the taste of in­de­pen­dence, but I think right now I am ready to work with peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in my mu­sic,” he says.

There is no telling what sound he will ex­plore next be­cause all his songs show-off his mu­si­cal and cre­ative abil­i­ties that are not one di­men­sional.


ABOVE: Samthing Soweto says there is no bad blood be­tween him and The Soil

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