Who is Toya Delazy?
Well, I come from eMahlabathini near uLundi, KwaZulu-Natal, but I grew up everywhere.
I’m a young artist that is forward thinking and encourages people to be themselves and live their lives. I use my music to spread a positive message that hopefully encourages people to follow their hearts, be true to themselves and never give up on something they love.
Tell us about your childhood background i.e how were you like growing up?
I would say I was very spirited, adventurous and a little mischievous. I loved the outdoors and sports, so I was always active. I loved my culture and singing, watching cultural shows and just having a good time. I come from a very religious family and I went to a convent from a young age, so I’ve always been surrounded by religion and structure. I think it gave me the discipline I need today.
How you ended up in the music industry?
Music has always been a part of my life. From the age of nine I started playing classical piano and I would say that was when I started composing music.
Learning classical piano at that age helped structure my musical understanding of how heartfelt chords are formed, how to read music and have agility discipline on the keys.
I knew I wanted a career in music and I began performing at various places. One day a very talented producer, Markus Els, heard me at a live show and he invited me to record a few songs in studio. Vusi Leeuw was given the demo and he presented it to Sony Music. They liked what they heard and soon I was part of the Sony Music team.
How has the journey being like so far?
It’s been extremely educational. I had to grow up really quickly; I had to learn the business of music and I had to understand that my life was changing. It’s been an amazing experience so far, and I look forward to what the future holds.
How has South Africa received your debut album Due Drop?
The response has been amazing. I’ve been getting tweets and messages from fans and they really seem to be digging it, thus far.
What is the inspiration behind your music?
My daily life experiences. My music is all about my journey, it simply my story. I take what I go through, the emotions I feel and I translate that into music.
Describe your sound?
I think I have a very unique sound. It’s a fusion of Jazz, Electro Hop and Pop, so I call it JEHP and it’s definitely something that is different and appeals to many listeners. You’ll see my album has an electro hop element but it is not going to be the main element. My music is a fusion of various genres so people can expect some soul, some Jazziness and acapella pulling through. I describe it as a lucky packet, everyone walks away with something great.
Who would you say are some of the musicians that have had the strongest influence on you and how?
My influences come from variety of genres. My love for music grew from classical, songs such as Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’ for example basically unlocked my creativity and influenced the way I construct my chords. So did Orchestral works like the ‘Psalms of David’ sang by choirs in cathedrals, the voices in harmonic beauty made me happy & soothed my spirit. Thanks to watching the movie ‘Sister-Act’ at a Convent Primary School in Eshowe, I got my first taste of Lauryn Hill and I loved her singing and her soul (she influenced me too).
I’ve also been influences by artists such as Kate Nash, John Legend, Radiohead, Tracy Chapman, Asa, Goldfish, Imogen Heap, Adele, Kings Of Leon, Regina Spektor, John Lennon, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Black Eyed Peas, Sara Bareilles, Nirvana, Deadmau5 and Skrillex.
How would you describe your style?
Style is a way for me to express myself. My mom was very stylish. I come from a very conservative background but I like my street wear and I mix it up with vintage items. I like to arrange my outfits so it’s still funky with a classical touch.
Tell us a bit more about your connection with Reebok?
Reebok approached me last year and chose me as brand ambassador for the Reebok Classics Drop R range. Basically they liked my style, music and what I do and I will be representing the brand throughout Africa. I can also “certify” my own “Classics”. This can be anything from musicians, designers, cars or even movies that I think are cool and deserve “Classic” status. This is a very fun campaign and I’m excited to be a part of it.
What does the future hold for you? Any plans to go international?
Things have been happening so quickly these last two years. I’m using the time I have now to grow personally and also to get to know my country. I’d love to go international and it’s definitely one of my goals. Hopefully I’ll be performing overseas in the next few years.
Any sites for fans to visit if they want to read more about you?