Wandile Mbambeni and his showstopping voice waves on the local singer-songwriter scene when he debuted, and only expanded and matured from there. His new EP, Maturation, is evidence of this. We asked him a few questions about the music and the journey…
“I don’t know any other way than wearing my heart on my sleeve,” Wandile says. “Soul music man.”
“If I can’t do that I won’t write it or play it. This is how much it means to me to connect with my listener or audience; I never underestimate the ability to connect. The easiest way to do this is to wear your heart on the sleeve and be real – ‘nothing but love bruh.'”
I make comparisons between his music and that of brit-poppers Passenger or Ed Sheeran – with a serious soul-and-R&B twist on it.
“It is a collaboration of my influences,” Wandile responds. “I wouldn’t call it intentional – it’s literally just all my influences and the music I like pretty much collaborating in my head to create what I call ‘my sound’.”
“Yes, every time I write a song I almost have a clear picture of which listeners I’m writing to and know that different instruments have different messages, I love this. Different genres mean different people, perspective, culture, market.”
His new EP, titled Maturation, seems to represent an actual maturation – as musician and as person.
“It definitely does, from teaching myself guitar, singing, songwriting, now production. The lyrical content is written from experience, so it is just as important in tying this journey of maturation together. This is my most mature work, so me, my writing, production, my skillset is more mature.”
“Yes, of course moments of immaturity is what makes me notice my growth. I’ll have to grow from this EP to another project as well.”
“Immaturity is not always bad.”
The new EP sounds different to what came before. A change, but maybe not a departure.
“I can’t let go of the acoustic guitar, I love the band, I’m keeping them both.”
“The direction forward is going to be what is best for that song, show or release. And if that’s completely acoustic, then that’s what we got to do. Priority is what feels right.”
Before we get to all of that, Wandile’s planning to set up a tour (“in and out the country”), but also “releasing a couple of music videos for Maturation, and doing a lot more shows all over SA from June.”
“This is very exciting to be taking Maturation Live.”