Nomcebo Zikode is one South African musician who has held the world spellbound with her strong musical sense, especially in the viral song Jerusalama, in which Master KG featured her. The talented musical artist has been around since 2003, but she caught worldwide attention in 2020, thanks to the aforementioned song. This has got fans both in South Africa and worldwide eagerly waiting for the next new songs she would drop.
For 15 years, she had watched her musical career languishing between taking off and dying out completely before the door opened for her through Master KG. Now, each time she looks back at how far she has come, she finds herself shedding tears because being in the limelight has always been her dream, just like any musical artist.
Quick Profile Of Nomcebo Zikode
- Full name: Nomcebo Nothule Nkwanyana
- Date of Birth: 28 October 1985
- Place of Birth: Mpumalanga, South Africa
- Age: 36 Years old
- Albums: Xola Moya Wam’
Nomcebo Zikode Has Released Many New Songs Since Jerusalema
With a career fully revived thanks to her hit track with Master KG, which has got the whole world dancing, Kikode has taken advantage of the buzz she is still enjoying to release some new songs and an album. Although it was in 2020 that Jerusalema really got people talking, it was first released in December 2019.
Nomcebo and Master joined forces with Nigerian Grammy-winning music star Burna Boy to release a remix of the much-loved song. While the remix did not go as viral as the original, it still enjoyed massive airplay, recording close to 20 million views on YouTube since its release in October 2020.
She was also able to release her first album on the heels of Jerusalema, titled Xola Moya. The hit track of the album, Xola Moya Wam’ was also recorded together with Master KG, and it became a successful piece with more than 7 million views on YouTube. Within a month of the song’s release as a single, it recorded more than 5 million views on the video-sharing platform. She also announced on her Instagram account that the hit single, which was her first-ever track where she was not featured, was certified Gold.
According to her, she wrote the song a week into the coronavirus pandemic when she was in a state of fear and confusion, believing that God was punishing her for her past sins. In the song, she is asking for forgiveness from God. She said that rather than being indoors because of the pandemic, she felt she was supposed to be out there making money thanks to their hit song’s success. She felt the punishment was for choosing money over God.
The album comes with 9 tracks, and she featured some big names, including Master KG, Makhadzi, and Bongo Beats. Some of the album’s songs were not surprisingly produced by Master KG, while Bongo Beats also contributed to the production. They include the following:
- Xola Moya Wam (featuring Master KG)
- Xola Moya Wam (Radio Edit) [feat. Master KG]
- Bayabuza (featuring Bongo Beats)
- Ngiyesaba (feat. Makhadzi)
- Imizamo Yami
- Indlela (Radio edit)
In general, the album was quite successful even though it has not yielded the success achieved with Jerusalema. This is understandable since not many songs can achieve anything close.
Nomcebo Zikode Started Her Career In 2003
Although some ascribe the starting of her career to 2005, the singer actually started two years earlier, in 2003 when she was 18 years old. When she started, there was so much promise that she would become a big star because she took part in a talent hunt competition organized by Ukhozi FM, which she won.
With a strong will and talent to back it up, she decided to leave home and school to pursue her career professionally, marking her move to Johannesburg. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as easy as she hoped it would be; she remained without any deal or opportunity that would launch her career, and so she continued working as a backup singer.
She did not abandon her education permanently in pursuit of her musical career. After her matriculation from Ukusa High School, she later returned to school in 2005 when she moved on to get a degree in information and communication technology from Havatech College. What is arguably the first light at the end of the tunnel was a deal she got with Ganyani Entertainment which later signed her.
By 2018, there was a report that all was possibly not well between the singer and her record label as she had breached her contract agreements. According to the allegations leveled against her, she was going behind Ganyani Entertainment to collect music gigs against the agreement that it was the label that was authorized to handle all bookings for songs recorded with the label and all songs musicians under the label.
The label dragged her before the South Gauteng High Court, seeking an order to ban her from performing songs recorded under the stable, including Emazulwini and Jabulile, because she had already left the label and was still receiving bookings secretly. Consequently, the label demanded that she pay them R75,000 in the losses she has caused them to incur.
Following her departure from Ganyani Entertainment, the strong vocalist was offered another deal with Open Mic Productions. She finally got to make the big break that would put her on a global map. While still waiting for the good days in her career, Nomcebo Zikode met and married Selwyn Fraser. The couple is blessed with two kids, a teenage daughter, Ziyanda, and a much younger daughter, Mnotho.
Her Music Career Remained In The Shadows Of Many For A Long Time
Even though, as stated, she started her career in 2003, Nomcebo Zikode was unable to make a break into the main scene as she remained in the shadows performing as a backup singer for many other stars in the country. She was a backup singer for South African singer and songwriter Zahara for several years and has featured in her debut studio album, Loliwe, which was released in September 2011.
The album earned Zahara awards, including Metro FM Music Awards and the South African Music Awards. Before then, she worked as a backup singer with Mafikizolo’s Nhlanhla Nciza sometime around 2010. Her career would not balloon to a place where she never dreamed of until 2019. It all began with a call from Master KG, who wanted her to come over to the studio and listen to a beat he created. She wanted to delay the visit, but he insisted he wanted her to come immediately.
The ace producer played the beats for her several times, and she asked if she could go home and work on the lyrics. Master did not want any delay, and so he insisted that they worked on it right there. She pushed him out of the studio while she thought and worked on the lyrics all alone in the studio. The first word that came out for her was in isiZulu, and seamlessly, she had what she wanted. The music star revealed that when she asked Master KG to come back, she had found what she wanted.
That same night, the two worked on the song, and they finished recording it after midnight. That became how the most Shazammed song in history was born. The next morning she listened to it in her car while on her way to the gym, and she knew immediately that they had created gold. She prayed that Master KG would love it. He liked it and called her a few days afterward to finish work on what became arguably the biggest song out of South Africa.
She Was On The Verge of Taking Her Life Before Jerusalema
I have a "Jerusalema" earworm & this is my current favourite dance video for it. 😆 pic.twitter.com/etAEKa3CwQ
— Ottilia Anna MaSibanda (@MaS1banda) July 23, 2020
The highly talented musician revealed that having spent more than a decade and a half in the limbo of a music career that seemed to be going nowhere, she got tired and was set to give up on music and, ultimately, her life. She fell into a terrible depression.
At this point, Master KG came to her with the beats for Jerusalema, wanting her to be a part of the project. She revealed that as soon as he played the beats three or four times for her, the words just came easily; ‘Jerusalema, ikhaya lami’ (Jerusalem is my home).” The idea behind this was that she had come to a place where she felt her purpose is not in this life but elsewhere.
By the time she hit the studio for the song, the entire passion she had held for a long time had poured out, leaving her with a track that would amass more than a million views on YouTube in the first week and then going on to amass more than quarter a billion views in no time. Currently, it has more than 377 million views. This did not come to her as a surprise because she knew the first time she heard the song that it would be big; it left her with goosebumps.
The song became an inspiration for the Jerusalema challenge, which has seen many individuals and groups dancing to the song, including a group of Swiss police officers, nuns, priests, firefighters, and even South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa. He even encouraged citizens to take up the challenge Jerusalema Challenge when the country was grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic to celebrate its stride against the pandemic and commemorate heritage day.
One of the most significant songs of 2020, the track won many national and international awards for Master KG, including France’s prestigious NRJ Music Award, which made him the first African to clinch the award since its 20-year history.
Jerusalema Made Her A Household Name And Millionaire
Even though she was only featured in the song, Nomcebo has earned her place as a great musician because apart from vocalizing the song, she is reported to have also written it. This is why many have been calling on Master KG to share equal rights of the song with her, most especially regarding the earnings from the music.
Looking at the numbers, the song has made millions across major streaming platforms of YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora, among others. The song major earning comes from YouTube, where it has garnered more than 377 million views thus far. Having garnered over 377 views million already on YouTube, the song has made a minimum of USD 565,500 (R8.1 million). This is judging by its Revenue Per Thousand Impressions of $1.5 for every 1000 views in the least earnings.
While recording estimated average streams of more than 41.4 million each month, there is a possibility that Master KG has been making as much as $26,111 each month since the song was released, translating to an incredible R443,000 each month.
On Spotify where it is reported that the song is raking in 7.5 million views each month, he is believed to be smiling home with $36,052, which translates to R612,892 each month. To celebrate the 150 million views of the song on YouTube, Master KG got himself a Ferrari.
Here is a break down of how the song has performed since it was released:
- YouTube- 377.8 million views
- TikTok- 884.5 million views
- Spotify- 183.09 million views
Apart from all these, she has performed in South Africa and different parts of the world, including in African countries and otherwise.
She Has Silenced Critics With Her New Songs
Following the success of Jerusalema, some insisted that she was only going to be a one-hit-wonder. In response to this, she stated that while Jerusalema might be her biggest hit yet, it was not the first big song she has worked on, neither was it the first big song of Master KG. She made it known that her work with Dj Ganyani, Emazulwini, was a success. She said after the track, many had opined that she would be a one-hit-wonder, but she proved them wrong with Jerusalema, and she was going to continue to prove them wrong.
That was what she did with her new songs, many of which enjoyed generous airplay and incredible streams on the internet. She has amassed more than a million views with most of her songs on YouTube and has was named best female artist at the KZN Entertainment Awards Awards in 2020.
More so, tagged as the most sought-after vocalist in the South African music industry, Nomcebo Zikode has been named alongside Master KG as its arts and culture’s official ambassadors to the world by the former arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa.