Based: Johannesburg 

Afropop musician Zandisile Rhayi is riding the crest of a wave in the music industry.

From the days of hustling to secure recording deals and having doors shut on his face, Rhayi has certainly come a long way. He recalls a time when he was a struggling artist on the streets of Johannesburg and desperate to make it big.

Looking back, Rhayi feels honoured to have made it in the dog-eat-dog music industry.

His single Ndithanda Wena has been on high rotation since its release late last year.

The single comes hot on the heels of his highly successful single Sana Lwam which set the music industry ablaze in 2019.

Speaking to Vukani this week, Rhayi says he was taken aback by the single’s success.

“People have received this song very well. I was quite touched by the response from people. Even when I was performing in churches people were getting down to it,” he says.

Having been in the music industry for more than a decade, Rhayi is determined to assist aspiring industry in Cape Town. He would love to work with music greats such as Ringo Madlingozi and Tshepo Tshola.

“I respect both artists, having grown up listening to their music,” he says.

Just like any other artist, Rhayi has been hit hard by the devastating effects of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic that is currently ravaging the country and the world.

“As artists we are all feeling the effects of this virus and can’t wait for life to continue as normal. Personally, I’ve had many gigs cancelled because of the lockdown. We survive through gigs, but we have to accept the situation we are in,” he says.

Some of Rhayi’s highlights include being nominated at the Eastern Cape Music Awards.

He was nominated in the categories for Best Song of the Year; Artist of the Year; Best Male Artist; Best Newcomer and Best Afro-Pop Artist.

“It was a huge honour,” Rhayi says.

But besides all these accolades, Rhayi feels honoured to have performed for political heavyweights including former Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; former President Jacob Zuma and former Western Cape premier Helen Zille.

His record label Rhayi Entertainment currently serves as a consulting agency for aspiring artists.

Rhayi believes there is a lot of undiscovered talent that stretches beyond not only the rural villages and townships but the entire Mzansi.

He would love to play his part in unearthing raw talent.

“I am busy focusing on my own brand as an artist. Hopefully I will be able to sign new artists in the near future,” he says.