South Africa was under the spotlight last year for its hosting duties when it came to the 2010 World Cup. Now it is preparing to be center-stage again, this time for the music put forward by one of its aspiring stars. Bonani Phaweni AKA Zin, started out rapping,   then converted to film and having mastered that by spending time in L.A, upon his return to Johannesburg reverted to making it as an MC. Now having found himself a competent musical accomplice in the form of in-house producer, Chico, this entertainer has a lot to give.His debut album 7Sinz is due for release later this year and like any artist who is ready to offer up their initial album, the pressure is on for Zin to wave the flag for his homeland. With a college radio campaign promoting his debut single We Love Hip-Hop already underway, thie moves this wordsmith is making are definitely the right ones, here’s hoping he falls on the right ears.

How important do you feel a debut album is to any artist?
As most people will say the first always sets the bar, it introduces the public to what you have to offer, be it unique or typical, but more importantly it introduces your sound, the flavour, topics which you’ll probably touch on from now till the last album and it says to people this is why you should listen to me

What do you think will make a lasting impression when it comes to yours?
As for mine, its but a taste of what im really bringing, by the time people are done listening they’ll get the feeling that theres more coming and soon they’ll see the whole picture that no song is a story by itself, its all of the bigger picture, allowing people to mix match my songs to make up albums based on mood. Nothing in my album is the same, topics stretch across boundries and if I can achieve the word “classic” for my album, I’m happy.

You are very conceptual with yours, can you explain why and what the concept is for the readers of Skope Magazine?
Well, I’m setting up a story that will span over thre albums at a time, a trilogy of sorts, people have forgotten what it means to be a star, to sell the dream… I dont just think of writing a song, I’ll see or hear something, breakdown its deep human emotional connection and why it affects us and try to formulate a story around it, then write the song, usually that takes 5min. Every track on my album is a story of its own, but some intersect with eachother, ive been told by many people who’ve listened to it that they can already see the video’s in their minds, the story that it tells. Even the biggest critics I’ve had in my circles have come around… so in the end I believe I will get what I want, everybody begging for the second album… the next chapter in the story.

Has this album been long in the making?
Long isn’t the word to use, progress is a slow process, but more over I had to learn how to cater to a new generation but still keeping true to why we love real music,   still loved the 30’s-90’s. So most of the tracks in the album I already had, some used to be with different beats which we either lost due to issues with producers or I felt we needed a different feel with a song, so some tracks have been pulled out to try and make this album more whole and more of a better listening for the audience, as this was made for them.

What has been the hardest part of creating this project?
Reducing the crew, we used to be an army, then having to reduce that army to an army of two, it gave us better focus, less ego’s and politics to deal with.
Another would be trying to find my sound, something that I could maintain without any pretense, I’m not a gangster MC, or these new school kids with lets make a song for a dance, I’m what you get when you mix, Kanye, Eminem with Bruno Mars.

What has been the easiest?
Writing, I hear a beat or just something and I can write a song, the way you hear the songs in the album is the way they came out the first time, no rewrites, especially the hooks. Verses are always tricky as they are the meat filling, the story of the song.

Do you have a favourite song on there, if so what is it and why?
“Life goes on”, well basically its like saying F-U with a smile on your face, if you listen carefully to the song, I utilize song lyrics from many major artists and I tell you the story of what happened or generally happened with some of my ex’s, so I gotta thank them as they inspired some of my best tracks in my armada but in the end its something we’ve all gone through. Its funny as a song, iIgot to be really me, smart yet stupid, fun and a bit serious. And different from lyrics, to song construction and the beat!

What would you say your favourite album is and why?
Marshall Mathers LP, I love albums that bare it all, there’s not a song in there that doesn’t represent him, when you feel like you’ve entered somebody’s mind and soul and it relates to you but its like touching raw nerve. And thats what EM, has always been, somebody that in his own way brought alot of people together and even with his lyrics towards females, they love him, he probably has more female fans than guys. And when I want to write a angry track but with a bit of humour in it, i think of EM.

When will your album be released and through who?
Well we planning for mid-late october, alot of big artists are releasing now and i dont want to compete to hard to be heard, and as for whom im releasing through, basically myself, I’ve funded this project from the ground, (equipment, studio time, the works)… if i can get a major studio label to elevate me great, if not, I’m still releasing!

How do you plan on promoting this album?
Various ways, we live in the information tech age, and things are some much easier, as one of my sensei’s said, a good producer hires someone better than him to do the job, and after many months of looking I’ve gotten an amazing team, from radio to the music video, internet sites, the normal digital distribution teams (iTunes, etc.) and as for hard copies, I wanna give away the first 1000 disc’s, and if this other deal comes through, I will have secrued distributors for hard copies, in SA and the US.

Any final words for our readers?
Like my last song, “I Bilieve” I believe that, I’m a superstar, im flying high to the sky and you will make it no matter who you are, dont let them stand in your way.
So basically dont let nobody tell you, you cant, its all just a state of mind, and if you find my album something worth your time, show some love, buy the album or download it, as that money will be paid right back to you in ways your gonna see by the end of this year.
To follow Zin on Twitter – !/zin7sinz
To like on Facebook

By: Lara Croft — The Crate Raider

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