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The Ndlovu Youth Choir Just Scored a Deal with Simon Cowell

The America's Got Talent judge and his company have offered to sign the talented choir.

Two weeks ago, South Africans were rooting for the Ndlovu Youth Choir to win America's Got Talent (AGT) and the coveted million dollar prize as well as a chance to be a headline act in Las Vegas. While the group lost to the crowd favorite, Kodi Lee, they received an incredibly warm welcome when they returned to South Africa and were even gifted R1 million (USD 66 000) by Thandi Moraka, the member of the executive council (MEC) for Limpopo's Department of Arts and Culture. Yesterday, in an interview with Radio 702, choir director Ralf Schmitt revealed that AGT judge Simon Cowell and his company had offered to officially sign the Ndlovu Youth Choir.


There's a reason why contestants on AGT and it's British spin-off want to impress Cowell. Not only is he usually the toughest judge on the panel but he's also been instrumental in promoting the music careers of artists such as Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis as well as groups including Westlife, Little Mix, Il Divo and Fifth Harmony. Most recently, the insanely talented South African choir is now on his list of stardom.

Speaking about the deal, Schmitt said that, "We are very excited that Simon Cowell and his company have exercised their option to sign the choir and together with Sony Music in South Africa are working on exciting projects." He added that, "It is a wonderful compliment to these young people because he wouldn't do that if he didn't think there is a future for them and the work they have done."

While the details of the deal itself have not been made clear as yet, we're certain that the future of the Ndlovu Youth Choir is bright.

News Brief
Photo by Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images

South Africa Shocked After DJ Sumbody's Fatal Shooting

The popular Amapiano pioneer, DJ Sumbody, was tragically killed in Johannesburg.


News recently broke that the well known South African Amapiano music producer Oupa John Sefoka, popularly known as DJ Sumbody passed awaythis past Sunday, November 20th.

The family reported that specific details of DJ Sumbody's passing could not be released because the issue was a part of a larger, ongoing investigation.

"Artist and musician DJ Sumbody has died. Details of his untimely death cannot be released but the artist allegedly ran into an unfortunate incident that led to his passing in the early hours of Sunday morning, November 20 2022," the family released in a statement, according to News24.

According to several unconfirmed reports, the renowned South African DJ was traveling on Woodmead road in Johannesburg when gunmen attacked his vehicle with a hail of bullets, which instantly killed him and one of his bodyguards.

He was en route to perform at an event in Woodmead for the All White Veuve Clicquot Picnic on Sunday. Apart from being an Amapiano pioneer, DJ Sumbody was a creative force in the South African entertainment industry. In the early hours of Sunday, Sumsounds Music, his management team, confirmed the news.

DJ Sumbody was a pioneer of the well-known viral Amapiano sound, a word that translates to "the pianos" in Zulu and is an eclectic genre that started in South Africa in 2012 and fuses house, jazz and lounge music for a unique sonic experience.

During the pandermic, OkayAfrica featured him in the pieceDJ Sumbody Is Ensuring Amapiano Stays Alive During Times of Coronavirus and Social Distancing.

Social media users went online to share their shock about the unfortunate event.

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Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Wizkid Wins the Inaugural Afrobeats Award at the AMAs

Tems and Wizkid both took home trophies at this year's American Music Awards.


Celebrated Nigerian superstar Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid recently won in the inaugural Favorite Afrobeats Artists category at the 2022 American Music Awards.

The AMAs started its flagship Afrobeats category this year. Other nominees for the award included Burna Boy, CKay, Tems, and Fireboy DML, with Wizkid ultimately taking home the price. Many of the nominated artists had enjoyed massive commercial success in the United States prior to the award show, and the increasing dominance of Afrobeats has made the genre well known in other parts of the world outside of Nigeria.

The "Bad To Me" singer also won the Favorite R&B Song award for the remix to his smash hit "Essence," which featured Tems and Justin Bieber. This was monumental for the night because the song was competing with other hit songs, including Beyonce's "Break My Soul."

Tems also made quite the impression at the award show. In addition to winning an award alongside Wizkkid for the "Essence" remix, she also won in the Favorite Hip Hop Song category for her contribution to Future's "Wait For U," a record that quickly became a fan-favorite with fans for its unique sonic output.

Both Tems and Wizkid have been soaring in their careers following the release of their celebrated song "Essence." Recently, Tems was a co-writer on the Rihanna-led song "Lift Me Up" for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sound track. Last week, Wizkid headlined a show at New York City's renowned music venue Madison Square Garden, a major feat for Afrobeats as a whole.

View the complete list of nominees and winners for the award show here.

Sports

All You Need to Know About the African Teams at the World Cup

We break down how Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, and Tunisia's national teams are looking ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022.

African football has come a long way.

Egypt was the first African team to ever participate in a FIFA World Cup. They did it in Italy in 1934, where they only played a game, which they lost 4-2 to Hungary. Back then, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) didn’t exist, so the Pharaohs played two qualifier games against British Palestine.

CAF was eventually formed in 1956, but the World Cup would only see another African team in Mexico 1970, when Morocco qualified. Years later, Pelé, the legendary Brazilian player, predicted that an African team would win a World Cup before the year 2000, he was mocked mercilessly. For many, it was not an unlikely outcome, it was an absurd proposition.

And yet, African footballers have become more and more often part of the footballing elite, playing in the best leagues, and becoming some of the most famous players. While, still, only European and South American teams have won World Cups.

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Interview

Seni Saraki On Co-Producing the Nigerian Side of the 'Black Panther' Soundtrack

We speak with NATIVE's Seni Saraki who helped put together the Lagos arm of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Music From and Inspired By.

Back in July when Marvel released its Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue EP, led by Tems’ soul-stirring cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” the consensus among young, internet-savvy Africans was that the follow-up to 2018’s record-breaking Black Panther was shaping up to be seminal moment for African culture after years of gestation and ascending visibility in the western world.

The arrival of the full soundtrack has proved that the optimism felt at that time was not unfounded. In a sharp contrast to the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack for the first film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Music From and Inspired By is a full-on deep-dive into the pulse of African and Mexican popular music as we know it. Taking influences from these sources makes sense as the movie is primarily inspired by both Nigerian and Meso-american cultures and we get to see acts like Burna Boy, Fireboy DML, DBN Gogo, and CKay line-up on the musical accompaniment to one of the eagerly-anticipated releases of the year.

To get some perspective on how the African arm of the soundtrack came together, we spoke to The NATIVE’s editor-in-chief, Seni Saraki, who served as the soundtrack album co-producer for the Lagos arm of production, touching on his involvement with the project, its reception, and what he hopes its legacy might be.

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