Toya Delazy

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Toya Delazy
Toya Delazy - SA pop star.jpg
Delazy in 2012
Background information
Birth nameLatoya Nontokozo Buthelezi
Born (1990-02-05) 5 February 1990 (age 29)[1]
eMahlabathini, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
OriginDurban, South Africa
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, dancer, performer
Years active2011–present
Associated acts

Latoya Nontokozo Buthelezi (born 5 February 1990), professionally known as Toya Delazy, is a South African singer, pianist, dancer and performer from KwaZulu-Natal.[3][4][5] Delazy was nominated in the Best International Act (Africa) category at the 2013 BET Awards.[6] Her debut studio album Due Drop was supported by five singles: "Pump It On", "Love Is in the Air", "Are You Gonna Stay?", "Heart" and "Memoriam". Following the release of her debut studio album, Delazy took home two awards, including Newcomer of the Year at the 2013 SAMAs.[7] She made a major impact on South African top 40 radio.[8]

Biography and music career[edit]

Delazy was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She is the granddaughter of Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the great-granddaughter of Princess Magogo, a Zulu Princess and traditional Zulu composer.[9] She attended a convent hostel at age 6 and learned to recite the Hail Mary. When she was nine years old, she started playing classical piano and composing music. Delazy grew up in a religious setting. She was raised by her single mother, who died in a car accident in 2008.[10] In 2009, she matriculated from Domino Servite School.[11] She played hockey for KwaZulu-Natal and won provincial awards for discus. She lost interest in the game after the death of her mother.[2] Delazy is a supporter of the Princess Mandisi Health Care Unit in Ulundi, a centre that takes care of people with HIV/AIDS.[12]

Delazy got her first major break while performing at a live show. Producer Markus Els approached her and invited her to record few songs at a studio. A demo of the songs she recorded was given to Vusi Leeuw. Leeuw later presented the demo to Sony Music Africa. Delazy signed a two-album record deal with Sony Music Africa on 19 April 2011.[13][14] She made her first solo appearance at the 2011 Africa Day concert in Newtown, Johannesburg. She performed alongside Baaba Maal, Habib Koite and Tumi and the Volume, among others.[15]

2011–12: Due Drop[edit]

Delazy started working on her debut studio album Due Drop in 2011. The music of Due Drop is a mixture of several genres, including electro hop, soul, jazz and a cappella. The album was acclaimed by both critics and fans. "Pump It On" was released as the album's lead single on 28 October 2011.[16] It was produced by Jax Van Heerden and Johnny De Ridder. The song received substantial airplay on 5FM and Metro FM.[17] The music video for "Pump It On" was released on 15 November 2011.[7][18] It was conceptualised and shot by Tristan Holmes of Star Productions. Delazy assisted the director with the creative aspects of the video.[19] The music video for "Memoriam" was released in September 2013. It was directed by Fausto Becatti and shows an intimate side of Delazy.[20] "Memoriam" was written in honour of one of her teachers who died in 2009. The song is also reminiscent of her mother, Princess Lethuxolo. In an interview posted on Between 10 and 5 in October 2013, Becatti said he fell in love with the song and was inspired to tell stories that would reverberate with people on a passionate level.[21] On 25 February 2013, Sony Music Africa released the deluxe edition of the album.[22] The label also released the behind-the-scenes documentary film, Takes A Lot To Make A Classic.[18]

2014–2015: Ascension[edit]

Delazy announced via Twitter that her second studio album, entitled Ascension, would be released on 28 October 2014. "Forbidden Fruit" was released as the album's lead single on 22 September 2014. The song features a production collaboration with Craig Massiv of Flash Republic. OkayAfrica describes the song as a "gospel-tipped cauldron of throbbing drums and jittery electronic spurts, is unquestionably one of Delazy’s most thrilling songs yet."[23]

2017–present: Jetlag and Uncommodified[edit]

Delazy relocated to London and started her own record label, Delazy Entertainment. On 28 March 2017, she released a 10-track mixtape titled Jetlag. It features collaborations with producers and guest artists such as WTF, Moonchild, Dopeboy LDN, EW, Amin and Synesthetic.[24] On Cartoon Network Africa's "Power of Four" one-hour special, Delazy voices the character Bliss.[25] She previously performed an Africanized cover of the Powerpuff Girls extended theme song, which was uploaded by Cartoon Network Africa to its official YouTube channel.[25]

In December 2017, Delazy released her third studio album Uncommodified. The album comprises 16 tracks and features guest appearances from Killason and Aaron Beezee.[26] She describes the album as the third and final chapter of her musical trilogy, adding that it embodies her freedom as an artist and devotion to living her purpose and remaining true to herself. Inspired by sounds from Solomun, Black Coffee, Stormzy and Benjamin Clementine, the album is a fusion of jazz, electro and hip-hop.[26] Delazy produced and co-produced four of the album's tracks, while enlisting help from Wes My Meds, Silas Beats, Khwezi Sifunda, Kofski, Rob Smyls, Lawless Prod, Mantra and Rymez. The album's lead single "Greatest" was produced by Ugandan producer Silas Beats. In addition to the lead single, the album features "Khula Khula", a song that raises awareness about gender inequality in Africa.[26]

Endorsements and fashion style[edit]

Delazy was the brand ambassador for the Reebok Classics Drop R range between 2011 and 2012. In an interview with Youth Village, she said Reebok approached her and told her they admired her fashion flair, music and style. She represented the brand throughout Africa and had the creative power to certify her own classics.[13][14] In addition to music, Delazy's love also extends to the fashion world. She believes that fashion expresses one's freedom and showcases their individualism. She has described her fashion style as classy and funky. Her fashion style includes street and vintage pieces.[27] In April 2013, Legit Clothing stores in South Africa and Namibia launched a clothing line inspired by Delazy. The official launch was held at the Town Square Legit store in Windhoek.[28] Delazy was also dressed by Suzaan Heyns, a well known South African designer.[29]


Delazy has described her sound as JEHP, an acronym for the fusion of jazz, electro hop, and punk (she swapped pop for punk in 2016). Her music draws from her daily life experiences. Delazy has been influenced by artists such as Kate Nash, John Legend, Radiohead, Tracy Chapman, Aṣa, Goldfish, Imogen Heap, Adele, Kings of Leon, Regina Spektor, John Lennon, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Black Eyed Peas, Sara Bareilles, Nirvana, Deadmau5 and Skrillex. Delazy's love for music was inspired by classical and orchestral songs like "Clair de Lune" and "Psalms of David". She was also inspired by Lauryn Hill after watching Sister Act.[13]


Studio albums[edit]

  • Due Drop (2012)
  • Ascension (2014)
  • Uncommodified (2017)


  • Jetlag (2017)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
2014 African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Female Southern Africa Herself Nominated [30]
South African Music Awards Music Video of the Year "Memoriam" Nominated [31]
2013 Metro FM Music Awards Best Top 5 Produced Album Due Drop Deluxe Nominated [32]
Best Top 5 Female Album Nominated
Best Top 5 Newcomer Nominated
Top 5 Styled Artist/Group Nominated
South African Music Awards Newcomer of the Year Won [33]
Best Pop Album Won
Best Producer Won
Record of the Year "Love is in the Air" N/A [34]
Remix of the Year "Heart (Pascal & Pearce Remix)" Nominated
BET Awards 2013 Best International Act: Africa Herself Nominated [35]


  1. ^ "Up Close And Personal With… Toya Delazy Club X". 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Toya Delazy is setting the US on fire". City Press. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Toya Delazy: Moving up, up and up". Sowetan LIVE. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  4. ^ Joseph, Gordon (24 April 2013). "SA's Toya and Zizo have the edge". Namibian Sun. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  5. ^ Garner, Kim (11 April 2014). "I don't see a racial divide – Toya Delazy". The Africa Report. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  6. ^ "BET Awards 2013 Nominations: The Complete List". 14 May 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b Arts. "Toya Delazy | 200 young South Africans". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  8. ^ Culture. "Pop Princess Toya Delazy on Music and Style". Zen Magazine Africa. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Africa Beats: Zulu pop princess Toya Delazy". BBC News. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Upclose with Toya Delazy". SundayWorld. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Cover Story : More on Toya Delazy". Live Mag. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Q&A with Toya DeLazy". YOU. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "Toya Delazy Interview". Youth Village. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  14. ^ a b Hoohlo, Nomsa (15 August 2012). "Toya Delazy Continues To Pump It On". Music Industry Online. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  15. ^ "A project of Brand South Africa – Toya Delazy". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Pump It On – Single by Toya Delazy". iTunes. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  17. ^ "Toya Delazy, South Africa's Most Exciting New Artist, Set For Pan-African Breakthrough With Debut Single 'Pump It On'". ROCKSTAR4000. 24 March 2012. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Toya Delazy Releases New Single". 25 June 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Toya DeLazy releases fresh video". Channel24. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Toya Delazy – "Memoriam" – Rolling Stone South Africa". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Toya Delazy: Memoriam Music Video – Between 10 and 5". 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Due Drop – Deluxe by Toya Delazy". Itunes. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  23. ^ Weg, Z (24 September 2014). "Listen to Toya Delazy's 'Forbidden Fruit,' The First Single Off Her Forthcoming 'Ascension'. In 2016, Delazy had confirmed her split from Sony Music Africa due to creative differences. She then embarked on setting up her own record label title "Delazy Entertainment " which she serves as CEO/Director. In May 2016, she released a new single titled "Nu Highs" which serves as the lead single from her upcoming third album.LP". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Toya Delazy releases new mixtape". Zkhipani. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  25. ^ a b Crystal Bell (16 November 2017). "THERE'S A FOURTH POWERPUFF GIRL NOW AND WE KINDA SORTA HAVE A FIRST LOOK". MTV. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  26. ^ a b c "ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Toya Delazy's final chapter 'Uncommodified'". Yomzansi. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  27. ^ Mbhele, Londiwe (28 November 2012). "Talking Style with Toya Delazy". iFashion. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  28. ^ Kaulinge, Selma (25 April 2013). "Namibia: Toya Delazy Launches Her Line in Windhoek". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  29. ^ "SAMA photo diary: Suzaan Heyns dresses Toya Delazy and Reason | Glamour South Africa". Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  30. ^ "See Nominees for the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) 2014". Bellanaija. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  31. ^ "2014 SAMA Nominees Announced". 13 March 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  32. ^ Bucibo, Bonga (17 January 2013). "Metro FM Music Awards Finalists Announcement 2013". Metro FM. Archived from the original on 2 August 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  33. ^ Sanelisiwe (13 May 2013). "South African Music Awards winners". DRUM. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  34. ^ "SAMA 2013 nominees announced". Channel 24. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  35. ^ Bang Showbiz, Times LIVE (15 May 2013). "Toya Delazy nominated for BET Award, Drake leads with 12 nods". Times LIVE. Retrieved 1 April 2014.

External links[edit]