Khayelitsha musician S-Kay Mafu independently released his latest single, Undenza Ntoni. And while the upbeat love song, released last month, may seem like it was strategically released to align with the month of love, the truth is that S-Kay finished recording the song many months ago but had to park it due to financial constraints.
As with his other projects preceding this one, he had to take intervals in between the music-making process to save enough money to see the project to finish. The costs involved renting a recording studio, production, mixing and mastering, art cover, distribution, and promotion amongst others.
“People always say hard work pays off, but no one ever mentions that you also must pay real money for hard work to yield results,” says S-Kay. “I have been working hard to realise my musical dreams for a while now. But I can’t solely credit hard work for the few milestones I’ve achieved so far. I have had to cough up some bucks to get the music recorded, produced and distributed,” he adds..
S-Kay’s musical journey dates back to high school where he was an eager participant in all music-related activities. This is where he also discovered his love and skill for drumming. However, it would not be until 2019 that he could record and release music professionally for mass consumption. His first collaboration Ubuhle Bakho with Mbuso Ka Zulu and Lyrix was self-produced and released that year.
He followed that up with his well-received celebration of love and romance, Ndihoye in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, when everyone was in need of inspiration and positivity. In 2021, after losing his mother, he released his third single, A Cry (for help), which was a sombre track detailing his battle with depression and grief.
His latest work, Undenza Ntoni is a step back to what he loves – creating upbeat music that celebrates and appreciates love.
Ultimately, S-Kay wants to make a living as a full-time musician. However, making it in the music industry requires persistence and, as it has proven time and again, a whole lot of money. So, to fund the pursuit of his musical dreams, he must work a full-time job while making music on a part-time basis.
“At times, getting up every morning to do what you’re not necessarily passionate about can be exhausting and disheartening. But I have grown to understand that pursuing dreams is not an easy task – I need to make a lot of sacrifices with hopes that one day I will finally get my big break,” he says.
S-Kay believes that support from the public goes a long way toward helping emerging artists such as himself to gain momentum.
“We love what we do. It makes us happy, but most importantly we do it for the people. Now more than ever, the world needs art as much as artists needs the support of the world. I am appealing to everyone to please support young local artists.”