Zahara (South African musician)
Zahara performing in Nairobi, Kenya
|Birth name||Bulelwa Mkutukana|
|Born||9 November 1988|
East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, poet, recording artist, performer|
|Instruments||Vocals, Acoustic guitar|
|Labels||TS Records, EMI South Africa, Music Lives Here Records, Warner Music Group|
|Associated acts||DJ Sbu, TK Nciza, Soweto Gospel Choir, Riot Zungu, Georgyn Kanana, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Anele & Neliswa, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Mukengerwa Tresor Riziki, LeRoy Bell, 2face Idibia|
Bulelwa Mkutukana (born 9 November 1988), best known by her stage name Zahara, is a South African singer-songwriter. She started singing in her school’s choir when she was six years old, and at the age of nine she was told to join the senior choir because of her strong voice.
In 2011 Zahara released her debut album Loliwe, which went platinum in 13 days and double platinum after 17 days, selling over 100,000 copies in South Africa. The music video for her debut single, Loliwe, has surpassed the 5 million views mark on YouTube. On 1 May 2012, at the annual South African Music Awards, Zahara won eight awards, including "Best Female Artist" and "Album of the Year".
Zahara was born as Bulelwa Mkutukana in the Phumlani Informal Settlement outside of East London in Eastern Cape, South Africa, where she lived with her parents Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana. She is the sixth of seven children. She displayed her love for singing at age 6. She first came to wider attention when she was appointed the lead singer of a local Sunday school choir in Phumlani. Her stage name means "blooming flower"; as a child she was known by the nickname "Spinach".
Her music is classified loosely as "Afrosoul" and she sings in her native language, Xhosa, as well as in English. Her music has been described as a mixture of styles that have been popularized by Tracy Chapman and India.Arie.
Zahara's debut album Loliwe was released in 2011. The first issue sold out within 72 hours, and 19 days later, the album reached double platinum status in South Africa by surpassing the 100,000 sales mark. This made her the second musician after Brenda Fassie, who was also a Xhosa native, to reach this figure in such record time. Zahara released her first live DVD which featured X-Factor USA contestant LeRoy Bell. The DVD reached platinum (according to the standards set by the Recording Industry of South Africa) in one day.
On 1 May 2012, at the annual South African Music Awards, Zahara won eight awards, including "Best Female Artist" and "Album of the Year".
In 2013, Zahara released her second studio album, Phendula. Phendula won three South African Music Awards for Best Selling Album, Best R&B, Soul and Reggae Album and Best Female Artist of the Year. The same year, Nelson Mandela invited her to his home to perform a private bedside concert. She then composed "Nelson Mandela" in his honor and released it as an EP.
In July 2014, Zahara's younger brother was murdered in East London. According to Zahara, she went through a period of depression after his death, but recovered enough for the 2015 release of Country Girl.
Zahara is the brand ambassador for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.
- Loliwe (2011)
- The Beginning Live (2012)
- Nelson Mandela (2013)
- Phendula (2013)
- Country Girl (2015)
- Mgodi (2017)
Awards and nominations
|2014||African Muzik Magazine Awards||Best Female Southern Africa||Won|||
|20th Annual South African Music Awards||Best Selling Album||Phendula||Won|||
|Female Artist of the Year||Won|
|Best RnB, Soul and Reggae||Nominated|||
|Metro FM Music Awards||Best African Pop Album||Nominated|||
|Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||"Phendula"||Nominated|
|2013||Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Southern African Artiste of the Year||Won|||
|19th Annual South African Music Awards||Best Collaboration||"Thetha Nami"
(Riot featuring Zahara)
|"Hold On (Bambelela)"
(Zahara featuring LeRoy Bell and the Soweto Gospel Choir)
|Best Live DVD||The Beginning Live||Nominated|
|MTN SAMA Record Of The Year||"Umthwalo"||Nominated|
|Best Selling Ring-Back-Tone||"Loliwe"||Won|||
|2012||Kora Awards||Best Female Artist from Southern Africa||Won|||
|Channel O Music Video Awards||Best Female Video||Won|||
|18th Annual South African Music Awards||Best Smooth Urban Music Album||Loliwe||Won|||
|Best Collaboration||"Incwad' Encane"
(Zahara featuring Georgie Munetsi)
|Best Selling Album||Loliwe||Won|
|Newcomer of the Year||"Loliwe"||Won|
|Female Artist of the Year||Won|
|Album of the Year||Loliwe||Won|
|Best Selling Full-Track Download of the Year||"Loliwe"||Won|||
|Remix of the Year||"Lengoma"
(DJ Sbu featuring Zahara)
|The Headies||African Artist of the Year||"Loliwe"||Nominated|||
|2011||Metro FM Music Awards [A]||Best Produced Album||Loliwe||Nominated|||
|Best Female Album||Won|
|Song of the Year||"Loliwe"||Won|
|Hit Single of the Year||"Lengoma"
(DJ Sbu featuring Zahara)
(Zakes Bantwini and Zahara)
- A ^ The Metro FM Music Awards did not hold in 2012 due to re-positioning. The award ceremony was held in 2013.
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- "Zahara releases touching tribute to Mandela". News24. 7 April 2013.
- Thakurdin, Karishma (25 May 2015). "Zahara again denies 'alcoholism' and 'broke' reports". News24.
- Herimbi, Helen (1 November 2017). "Zahara - 'Mgodi' is all about my journey". Independent Online.
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