RED BULL STUDIOS: LANGA MAVUSO

With a soulful, jazzy sound, singer, songwriter and musician Langa Mavuso’s 2016 debut release, Liminal Sketches, exposed a greater audience to a performer that has been honing his craft ever since studying classical music at the National School of Fine Arts. With an honest approach to his music and writing, he is inspired as much by jazz greats as contemporary artists such as Frank Ocean. Themba spoke to him to discover what his childhood sounded like, inspirations for his music, the concept behind his debut EP and his future plans.

How did you get your start in music, did you have a musical childhood?
My parents used to sing in the choir a lot. I used spend time with them at choir practice, sitting at the back of the hall, listening to them, going to choral competitions. Eventually I discovered my own voice around the age of 8 or 9 and I decided I wanted to be a musician. I discovered the National School of the Arts and studied classical music there. I left NSA and decided to go the academic route and went to Rhodes. I quickly realised that wasn’t the place for me and enrolled at UCT for jazz performance. I left UCT in my 3rd year, came back to Joburg and started doing my own thing.

Who and what inspires your music?
The people in my life and the places I’ve been. The different experiences that I’ve had; Grahamstown, Cape Town and Joburg. Also what I studied. A lot of the jazz ideas that I got from UCT from Miles Davis & Sun  Ra. All of those things have some kind of influence regardless of how small it is. Modern guys would be Daniel Caesar, Frank Ocean and Dvsn.

You released your debut EP Liminal Sketches last year. What is the concept of the EP?
The whole EP is about a past love and this person died 5 years ago. This was me speaking to them and also having a revival for myself and realising that the sun will always rise again, even after the darkest day. These are the scribblings of now. They’re very transitional, that’s why it’s liminal. This is what I’ve scribble in my heart, mind and journals. Let me share it with you and let me also find the lesson in it for myself.

What does the coming year hold, you mentioned you’re working on an album?
The album is definitely not coming out this year. I’m still very much in the writing process of the entire thing. I don’t like to rush it. I’ll be working on the album. I’m working with Black Coffee on his new project. I’m also hoping to shoot video if everything comes together. Hopefully I’ll be playing festivals. I’d like to go sing and also just be a wild one in the middle of nowhere. 

Words: Themba Kriger