Based: Cape Town
Vuyo (Vuyolwethu) Sotashe was born in Mthata in the Eastern Cape and grew up in the small town of Butterworth (Gcuwa). He was exposed to music from a young age with his mother singing in her church choir. He also joined the choir and was exposed to gospel, soul and blues music from a young age. Thereafter he started participating in his church choir & his school choir Eisteddfods which were mainly focused on western classical and opera music. His interest in Jazz music was sparked by his elder brother’s love of jazz piano. He then discovered great jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Mel Tormé, Kurt Elling, Mark Murphy and many others that influenced his decision to pursue jazz singing.
He moved to Cape Town in 2005 to finish his high school career and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Performance degree in Jazz Studies at UCT’s South African College of Music under the tutelage of Amanda Tiffin, Andrew Lilley and many great teachers. He has had the great privilege of performing with the UCT Big Band conducted by Mike Campbell from his first year at the college. In 2010 he had the honour of performing with George Benson at the annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival. In the same year, he was given the honour of accepting a SAMA (South African Music Award) for Best Alternative Christian Album on behalf of his church’s worship band, Proxy (music ministry at View Church in Cape Town) which he is actively involved in. He has traveled through Europe with this band (mainly in Southern Ireland and England) and to other countries in Africa (Namibia, Zambia). In 2011, Sotashe took first prize in the FMR Music Bursary competition where he competed against two established instrumentalists.
He also is the current winner of the SAMRO International Scholarship Competition for Singers 2011; the biggest music scholarship award in South Africa. He is a motivated, inspired and a constantly growing musician whose hopes are to conquer South Africa.