Bulawayo Afro pop artiste, songwriter and composer, Xolani Ndlovu, popularly known as X-Mile, an energetic artiste, recently set the stage ablaze during the Bulawayo Music Awards with his melodic voice.

The young artiste has rubbed shoulders with some of the country’s most popular musicians like Oliver Mtukudzi and has worked with Willis Wattafi, Family Voices, Zimpraise, Thandy Dhlana and many more. He has represented Zimbabwe in the East African Idols competition in Kenya and has been voted one of CBZ A-Academy’s top-five musicians.

The artiste moved to South Africa for greener pastures. Despite his noteworthy exploits, he has maintained a low profile uncharacteristic of most upcoming and ambitious upstarts in the arts industry.

NewsDay Life & Style Reporter, Sharon Sibindi (ND) caught up with Ndlovu (XN), who spoke about his adventures and experiences in the arts industry. Below are excerpts of the interview.

ND: Can you tell us more about yourself?

XN: X-Mile was born and raised in the city of Kings. I started doing music in high school, but the love of music has always been there since I was in my mother’s womb. I recorded my first song in 2004 titled Iluba lami, produced by Joe Maseko at House of the Rising Sound Studio.

ND: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

XN: Growing up watching Michael Jackson really made me want to be like him. The way people would scream at him, faint for him, it made me want to be like him.

ND: What have been your greatest adventures in music?

XN: Travelling to different African countries and meeting other artistes and learning new cultures has been adventurous for me as well as performing with a lot of famous artistes from around the world.

ND: What are some of the challenges which you encountered?

XN: My biggest challenge has always been putting together a solid album or an EP which is professionally done. The resources were not there so to find financial support has also been a hustle. People are not easily convinced. They will recognise your talent and say all sorts of good things that you want hear, but for them to folk out cash from their pockets is almost next to impossible. Running your own band is also expensive, your band members expect to be paid for coming to rehearsals and for performances as well, so the demands can really strain you.

ND: What projects are you currently involved in this year?

XN: I am currently working on my new album. I haven’t set a release date yet. In the album, I will be featuring some known SA musicians but at the moment I cannot say much because I haven’t finalised the deal.

I will also be performing in many events and festivals in and around the region, like The Old school Festival in October Bulawayo and the Zambia Men Fashion Week in August in Livingstone.

ND: You once mentioned relocating to SA for greener pastures. Did it work out for you?

XN: When I moved to South Africa, I wanted to study the South African music industry first, so for the past two years, I was settling into the South African music industry and now that I have partly settled, I’m working on my upcoming album. It wasn’t easy. It took quite some time as the SA music industry is so big.

ND: How is the music industry there compared to Zimbabwe?

XN: The industry is very tough, it is more professional and you cannot just make it if the quality of your work is mediocre. There’s also too much competition, so one really has to sweat their way to the top. At home we have top class talent. We just don’t have to compromise on quality of what we produce as artistes. Let’s compete with the world not just with ourselves.

ND: Your parting shot?

XN: Be yourself, your art is unique, have fun, no one is like you, never
be intimidated by anyone, be confident, remember you live once so don’t be apologetic and above all pray always. God answers.

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