There's soul in White City
Lead singer, Muzi, started White City ten years ago. When recording companies proved uninterested the band took matters into their own hands and recently wrapped up recording on three original songs that will launch on the internet this month. Pooe Brothers, a production company co-founded by Muzi, will at the same time launch the Zito range oft-shirts, hoodies, caps, rugby shirts, football jerseys, golf shirts, shoes and denim jeans. Zito is Muzi’s nickname, given to him by his mom when he was still a child.
Music has always been Muzi’s passion. He sang before he could talk! The 26 year-old was born without arms and only one, disfigured, leg in Soweto where he lived until his family moved to Graceland in Germiston 11 years ago. At “I them belihle School” a physiotherapist friend of his mother trained him to get the maximum use of his leg. “After that I could help myself on my own. My leg is amazing as it can do so many things. It can type on a computer, dial a number on a cell phone, climb a sofa and drive my wheelchair. The list is endless and it surprises people all the time.”
Muzi has only ever wanted to make music. “My mother always told me when I was small that I would be a musician one day. I love music and I take it very seriously.”
After three years with Debonairs, Elspark Muzi resigned to work full time on his music. “I enjoyed working at Debonairs. I was a cashier and got to know all the customers. They would have their picture taken with me and I would make them laugh when they had had a bad day. I like motivating people and that will form part of my musical career,” he says. A great voice and famous amongst fans for his rendition of R Kelly’s “I believe I can fly”, Muzi loves all music from gospel to Rock ’n Rolland R&B. He was a popular DJ in Graceland as house music is one of his favourites sounds.
White City has performed at major events including the farewell gala dinner for the Beijing Paralympic athletes in 2008 and Muzi hopes that their latest offerings will be popular with fans. “These are our own songs. Previously we did cover versions, but these tracks were written by White City.” As Muzi has never studied music, and cannot read sheet music, all singing and writing is by ear.
Muzi has no girlfriend at the moment. “I get lonely sometimes. I had a close friend, but he has moved on and is living his own life. That is hard for me, but I think of my music and I carry on. I want to build my music career and be successful – not only locally but internationally.”
His brother’s wife, whom he calls his sister, has a special place in his heart. “If I am down or hurt I go to her. She just says tome: forget about the girls and concentrate on your music.” He and his brother, Thando, who is also his producer/manager, want to set up a foundation to help children with disabilities. “We are ironing out how to accomplish this as we want to be able to use funds from our recording success, for example, to buy wheelchairs for children who cannot afford them.”
Muzi left school before completing his studies and feels very strongly about education. It is even one of his three rules to live by: “Don’t let yourself down. Believe in yourself and go to school.” He is hopes to complete his Matric one day and wants to use the foundation to encourage children with disabilities to finish school. “Too many times these children miss out on an education as they believe that there is nowhere for them to go get an education. We want to show them that they do have options.”
Giving is indelibly etched into his soul. “I want to motivate people, but I also want to help, hence the foundation we want to setup. My mom taught me to respect myself and to be free and happy. I would like to see others be free and happy too.”
Muzi hopes the Department of Education will help. “We want to do road shows, not only to children with disabilities, but all children. We want to show the youth of today that they can fulfil their dreams but they need to work to accomplish these. By seeing other people’s hardships we hope they will understand this, and of course by presenting the message through music. Music overcomes all barriers, doesn’t it?”