Prolific singer songwriter Zaki Ibrahim recently collaborated with local artists on a new compilation EP that was released on 12 May.
Her sweet and sultry vocals were added to the track ‘Live Better’ which was originally composed by Mike Kelly, and then remixed by two upcoming artists, local deep house talent Bruce Loko and techno duo STAB virus.
Zaki is an intriguing person who always has ‘ideas, melodies and beats going through my mind’. Her captivating sound is very easy to fall in love with – and produces vibrant, eclectic hits time and time again. Her work is personal, deliberate and poignant, she is equally at home on a festival stage as she is in an acoustic lounge.
Born in Canada to a British mother and an exiled South African father Zane Ibrahim (one of the pioneers of radio broadcasting in South Africa and a founder of the influential Bush Radio), Zaki is a citizen of the world, having lived in Canada, the UK, France and Lebanon.
After moving to South Africa at the age of three to live with her grandparents, her heart belongs to Cape Town.
“The Cape Town that resonates with me is the Cape Flats. It’s Bo-Kaap. It’s the wave of energy you feel when you come over the N2 on to De Waal, with the sea being right there. This energy speaks to me. It always lets me know where my heart is.”
Zaki has released three full-length albums, Shö (Iqra in Orange) (2006), Eclectica (Episodes in Purple) (2008), Every Opposite (2012) as well as numerous EPs. She was shortlisted for a Polaris Music Prize in 2013. Even so, she gets nervous when she steps on stage.
“It’s a really exhilarating moment. And a vulnerable moment. You’re basically there saying, ‘Here it is. Hope you like it.’”
To Zaki, creativity and talent aren’t enough.
“Organising your finances and the business side is also important.”
She made the news earlier this year by launching a crowdfunding initiative. She told the Sunday Times, “My integrity as an artist is important. If I am going to put something out, I want to do it right, and that costs money. I’m a completely independent artist, and the cost of recording, the artwork, mastering, publicity … these are costs a recording label would usually absorb.”
Asked what her definition of ‘living better’ is, Zaki says it is trying to go beyond your limits. “But at the same time, spending time with the people that you love, that mean a lot to you and that are good for you.”
The track, which was featured in Capitec’s new television commercial, can be downloaded for free from the bank’s website at www.capitec.co.za.
A short documentary about Zaki can be viewed here.