Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

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

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

US fashion contaminates Africa’s water

Untreated effluent from textile factories in in Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar pours into rivers, contaminating the water

Deep seabed mining a threat to Africa’s coral reefs

The deep oceans are a fragile final frontier, largely unknown and untouched but mining companies and governments — other than those in Africa — are eying its mineral riches

Komodo dragon faces extinction

The world’s largest monitor lizard has moved up the red list for threatened species, with fewer than 4 000 of the species left

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…