AFRO Jazz crooner, Tšepo Lesaoana, better known as Sawi, says he has returned from a five-year hiatus re-energised and more focused as he continues his steady climb to the top of his craft.
Born in rural Mantšonyane in the Thaba Tseka district, Sawi began his quest to conquer the music industry with his 2011 debut album Maebana Khoroana – a 10-track offering which spawned favourites such as Kena Le Visa and Seea Mo Otla Semela.
The composer, producer and singer came back from a five-year break last month with his second 10-track offering, Leoatle with songs like Mohale Oa Masite, Ke Mofumane, Ha Soebehla and Seila Tsatsi which he believes will guarantee his breakthrough.
“I took this long break so that I could fine-tune some of the hiccups on the previous album as I compose and produce my own music,” Sawi said.
“I am not yet popular but I believe the skill and dedication I invested in Leoatle will open many doors for me so that I can eventually see myself rocking big festivals at home and beyond.
“The offering is about African love stories, telling the cultural aspects of affection in the modern way. This can be witnessed in songs such as the title track Leoatle (ocean) which states that it is every African man’s dream to take his partner to the beach so it is more of a promise to my wife who has been my pillar of strength that one day I will take her there. Ke Mofumane is about eventually finding that one special person that you want to spend the rest of your life with.
“There is also the track, Mohale Oa Masite through which I re-introduce myself by talking about the beauty of the land I come from and where I am headed.”
Sawi combines cultural and modern elements of Jazz to produce the kind of sound that is comparable to that of Bhudaza, Tšepo Tšola and Sankomota as well as South African legends Jimmy Dludlu and Hugh Masekela.
“I am more of a storyteller so I found Afro Jazz to be the perfect medium for it is a relaxed genre.”
He said music has always been in his blood from his early primary school days when other boys chose soccer and toy cars, but he found joy in school and community choirs.
“I became interested in pursuing a music career when I came to Maseru in 1995 as a member of the Roman Catholic youth movement and we released two albums which I produced,” he said, adding he would patiently continue with his quest for stardom for “Rome was not built in one day”.