It is no secret that the mystifying sound and style of Toya Delazy is hot on everyone’s lips. But how did the young bird come to occupy some of the most admired spots of SA radio charts?
Born and bred in the small village of eMahlabathini in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the talented singer songwriter was originally trained as a jazz-pianist. Today her influences lie somewhere between Hip Hop, Electro, Alternative & Pop. Her first single ‘Pump it On’ was an immediate hit and broke genre barriers when the track was simultaneously picked up by 5FM and Metro FM. Similarly, her second single ‘Love is In the Air’ is sporadically climbing radio charts and her wide appeal is swopping the country like wild fire.
Indiedoesit chats to Toya about her influences, the rise to stardom and her more soulful side.
Indiedoesit: How did you first get involved in music?
Toya: Music has always been a part of my life. From the age of nine I started playing classical piano and I would say that was when I started composing music. Learning classical piano at that age helped structure my musical understanding of how heartfelt chords are formed, how to read music and have agility discipline on the keys. I knew I wanted a career in music and I began performing at various places. One day a very talented producer, Markus Els heard me at a live show and invited me to record a few songs in studio. That then became my demo and I soon joined Sony Music. The rest, as they say, is history.
Indiedoesit: How does it feel to be one of the hottest artists in the country right now?
Toya: It’s a lot to get used to but it’s definitely exciting. I feel like I have a bright future and I’m ready to explore the industry and what it means to be a “hot artist”, but I definitely understand the responsibility that comes with that title.
Indiedoesit: What do you think distinguishes you apart from other Hip Hop artists in SA?
Toya: Well I’m a classical trained jazz pianist. I also write and compose all my music. I don’t just rap, I also sing so there’s quite a bit that distinguishes me from your average Hip Hop artists. I also play a variety of music – some is Hip Hop, some songs are more soulful, some of them are pop so I wouldn’t categorise myself as a Hip Hop artist only, but it definitely is a part of my music.
Indiedoesit: I remember seeing you on stage about a year ago and your vibe was a lot more soulful, what’s changed since then?
Toya: I think my vibe depends a lot on the audience and the specific show. I’m still very soulful, but I like to mix it up a bit and throw in some Jazz, Electro-Hop and Pop.
Indiedoesit: Growing up in a convent, how has that influenced the person you are today?
Toya: It’s definitely given me structure and it introduced me to my first love, music. I played piano from the age of nine and that’s where I learned to read music, compose songs and express myself. It made a massive impact on my life.
Indiedoesit: Do you still have a lot of involvement in the church community?
Toya: Not really, I travel a lot so I don’t always go to church but I’m still incredibly spiritual.
Indiedoesit: What’s next for Toya?
Toya: I want to definitely travel abroad and share my music internationally, but more importantly I want to grow my following in South Africa. A lot of people know my songs from the radio but I want to perform more gigs so they can come and see me and get to know me.