The Muffinz / Have You Heard?
Soon, the question on everybody’s lips will be: “Have You Heard? Have you heard how The Muffinz rule the world?”. The Muffinz have unleashed their mysteriously beautiful world of eclectic soul to the South African public and they are set for world domination.
The music of The Muffinz is so new, yet so soulful, so accessible, so honest and so innocent, that it appeals to all age groups, races, classes and sexes.
The five young musicians make a refreshing change from the usual run of the mill rappers and house DJs, who are currently dominating the popular music scene, in that they play real instruments, and they play them well. Added to that is all five musicians are great singers in their different genres of expertise.
Take for instance electric guitarist and vocalist, Atomza. His voice is best described as a young Michael Jackson meets Usher with a twist of rock. Drummer Keke then enters with his Senegalese meets rumba vocals. The band switch from a groovy R&B rhythm led by acoustic guitarist Mthae and bassist Skabz, to a classy jazz guitar sound introduced by electric guitarist and acapella singer, Simz. And that by the way is just on one song!
That is why, to explain the band, they decided to call themselves The Muffinz. Explains Mthae: “We wanted a name that would be remembered, something catchy but a name that people would want to find out more about. Plus, we all come from different backgrounds musically and so we all bring different ingredients - as in the ingredients in a muffin.”
The group began in 2010 when Mthae, Simz and Atomza met while singing in the UJ (University Of Johannesburg) Choir. Now, while it may seem rather “unrock n roll” to many, the three of them decided to gather their guitars and form a band. They entered a competition at Cool Runnings in Melville and their performance was so good, recalled Atomza, that they caused one of the judges to cry. “His name was Philip Howard and he was a journalist from Benoni. “He wrote such an amazing story about us that it was the big turning point for us. We realised that we could do this.” They went onto win the competition.
By April 2011 Skabz and Keke had joined the band and they found a residency in the same suburb of Melville. By their third Sunday night gig they already had a loyal following and four months later, they were the talk of the town, with people and celebs coming from all over Jozi just to catch a glimpse of this brilliant band of young, gifted, black musicians.
In August 2011, the independent label, Just Music, were invited to see the band perform an impromptu private performance in a tiny rehearsal room at the University of Johannesburg. They were so blown away with The Muffinz that they immediately offered them a recording deal.
This led to the boys recording ther debut album at the famous Jazzworx Studios where artists like HHP and Lira call their recording home. The album was produced by the band themselves as well as the Jazzworx team of Robin Kohl, Tebogo Moloto and LeRoy Croft.
The result of this intensive recording experience is an eleven track aural adventure called ‘Have You Heard?’ released in late May 2012.
The title track is already on high rotation on many regional commercial radio stations with Khumbul’Ekhaya enjoying success on Public Broadcast Stations.
With that amount of lyrical thought put into each song, and with such talent and diversity in this unique group, there is no doubt that The Muffinz will rule the world.
GETTING TO KNOW THE BAND!
Not only are they talented musicians, not only are they standing on the brink of household fame, but these five band members are hot, hot, hot babes too.
Simphiwe ‘Simz’ Kulla – lead electric guitar/vocalist:
“I come from an acapella jazz background and I am a self taught musician. I grew up listening to acapella and singing in the church. I was introduced to jazz at age 13 and picked up my first guitar at age 14. I then taught myself how to play my first guitar at age 19.”
Mthabisi ‘Mthae’ Sibanda – acoustic guitar and vocals:
“I grew up listening to boy bands although a lot of my influences come from my dad who liked Sting and Bryan Adams and old school pop like George Michael and Jim Reeves. In 2005 I entered SABC3’s ‘Walk The Plank’ show for a whole lot of money. I took the money and bought my first guitar and taught myself. Only when I joined the UJ Choir did I receive any formal training.”
Gregory ‘Keke’ Mabusela – drumz and vocals:
“I am influenced by Kadjanin music from Senegal as well as Salif Keita and Bobby McFerrin. I have been singing all my life. I once made an instrument called the Keke Horn with which I entered ‘South Africa Has Got Talent’. I started playing the drums in 2005 because I fell in love with them.”
Karabo ‘Skabz’ Moeketsi – bass and vocals:
“I love acapella, jazz and gospel. I started out singing acapella in church. I bought my first bass at age 20 and have gone through five basses. Four were stolen and I gave one away. This is my sixth bass.”
Sifiso ‘Atomza’ Buthelezi – lead electric and vocals:
“I first remember singing at age four. It was a Boys II Men song but as I grew up I turned to rapping. The first time I saw someone playing the guitar in real life was when I saw Mthae playing. Later that year I received my bursary from the UJ library and ran down to a second hand shop and bought my first guitar.”
Biography by Therese Owen