The Portfolio: Ami Faku

When I started out, I had an idea of what I wanted my sound to sound like. But I didn’t know what steps to take and how to say it so I just winged it and hoped for the best.

My references were the people who I looked up to. I listened to them and took what I liked from them even though they come from different genres. Chronixxx does reggae, there’s Rihanna, Daniel Caesar and Caiphus Semenya. A song that impressed me lyrically was amaGama by uNathi. That’s the writer I want to be one day.

It was also possible because I worked with these great producers. I had, like, six. It was important to work with as many people as I could because there are so many talented people out there. I wanted to take what they had and put it into my album.

Port Elizabeth gave me the strength to continue. After being tired in Jo’burg I would go home to PE. I always came back with the strength to come back to Jo’burg and record the music that feels and sounds like me.

Now South Africans love my music. I didn’t think it was possible. I mean, you can make a song and put it out there. People will hear it and like it, but there’s so much music out there it’s easy for people to forget you. It’s hard to be impactful. My album is six month old, but it took about a year to get to this point. It was discouraging. But every day there’s a new listener and that counts for something.

The performances at Untitled [Basement] will be an opportunity to understand why I’ve written every song. My songs are just my life put out in melodies so that it sounds beautiful. I’m hoping it draws me closer to my listeners. I hope to create a sincere moment where we get to connect. I’m hoping listeners can leave saying they know me.

Ami Faku is performing her debut album at Untitled Basement, 7 Reserve Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg on March 12 and 13

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