By Edward Tsumele
Crowned “a new kind of global pop star” by The New York Times, award-winning South African rap disruptor Sho Madjozi has clinched a major international recording deal. The xiTsonga musician who is also well respected for rapping in multiple languages including her home language xiTsonga and Swahili signed a recording deal with Epic Records. She joins the label’s esteemed roster as the only South African act in North America, cementing a foot hold on the competitive international music market.
By promoting in Xitsonga music through vocal and writing gifts, she follows in the path of several musicians such as the late Peta Teanet, Paul Ndlovu, Ben Mayengani and Penny Penny to name but a few. These musicians took this mainly minority South African language into the mainstream cultural realm, and many a musician in the country today try musical glory through stitching together xiTsonga lyrics no matter how flimsy their grip on the language is.
About her signing, Chairman and C.E.O. Sylvia Rhone commented, “African artists are enjoying an unprecedented level of visibility in music and Sho Madjozi is beautifully waving the flag for South Africa. She’s bold, brilliant and remarkably talented and her music embodies all that is special about her homeland. We’re honored to have her as the newest member of the Epic family.”
Next up, Sho Madjoziwill drop her debut single for Epic Records. Known for nimble bars, multi-lingual lyrical fireworks, and downright revolutionary hooks, she has all the makings of an international force.
Back at home, work will commence with Sony Music Entertainment Africa, who are thrilled to be supporting legendary sister label Epic Records on such an important South African artist. “We’re working at a special company at a special time and we couldn’t be prouder than we are of our local star Sho and our big sister Sylvia for partnering to make this happen,” says Sean Watson, Managing Director of Sony Music Entertainment Africa.
Get ready for her to change the game in 2020.
Sho Madjozi has come a long way from the two-room rondavel she called home as a child in South Africa. Since making her debut in 2017, she quietly emerged as a global force renowned for head-spinning wordplay, ear-perking Xitsonga lyrics, and eye-popping colorful fashion. Powered by bangers like John Cena [1.8 million Spotify streams] and Huku[1.2 million Spotify streams], she took home “Favorite African Star” at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, “Best New International Artist” at the BET Awards, “Entertainer of the Year” from Forbes, and more. This year, she’s been nominated once again for a BET Award in the category of “Best International Artist.”
She graced the global covers of magazines such as Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Bona. Not to mention, she shared the stage with Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival and joined forces with Diplo for a much talked-about Super Bowl party performance in the same year. Plus, she met actor and WWE legend John Cena during a viral moment on The Kelly Clarkson Show. In addition to widespread acclaim from Vogue, BBC, OkayAfrica, and more, The New York Times praised how “She pays homage to her heritage while updating it for the moment, cutting across continents and genres.”