Naima Kay started singing and writing songs in her school choir, and met bab’ Ngcobo in 2009. “He approached me after I’d performed at the jazz festival and asked if I was signed with any company. “I think he liked the way I performed on stage.”
It was the beginning of what’s shaping up to be a great career. She released her debut album, the 12-track Umsebenzi, early last year, which she says both young and older people can relate to. “I write about love, life and things that happen around us. There’s also a gospel song on the album.”
Her brother, DJ Sammy, also provided his fair share of musical inspiration. “He would ask me to write songs and he would produce them in a small studio in his room,” she says. “I’ve actually always wanted be a singer. I realised I could go far with music when I was still in high school. My brother would invite me to gigs where he was DJing and I would perform with him.”
When she left school she didn’t think music could generate enough income for her to financially assist her grandmother, who had raised her since the death of both her parents while she was still in primary school, so she got a job as a teller in the post office.
While there she also wrote songs, and after a few years she went for auditions for the Durban Jazz Festival – and made it. “And when my grandmother realised music could bring in money too, she supported me in my decision to leave my job.”
She ended up becoming one of the local artists to open the Durban Jazz Festival. But at the time she was certainly not bursting with confidence. “I’m a very shy person. I can express myself better through music. Even when I’m sad, if I write how I feel, I end up singing about it.”
And so far, the response from her fans has been overwhelmingly positive. “It’s so exciting to hear them tell me I’m humble and ask me not to change who I am. I just thank my grandmother, because it means she did a good job.”
“I’ve lost so many people in my life. I’ve also been in relationships where the love died and I had to try and love myself,” Naima says.
She lost both her parents after short illnesses, and her stepmother died recently from breast cancer. The Port Shepstone-born singer also admits that she’s had a series of failed relationships.
The Ngiyavuma hit singer says she has now decided to share her experiences in her third album, aptly titled ‘All about love.’
“I want this album to give people hope. I want those who have been hurt like myself to never stop loving.” She added.