Feature

Costa Titch is not exactly who you think he is

The thing that struck me most about Costa Titch is his sincerity. From fondly relaying stories about his upbringing in Nelspruit to excitedly talking about two new singles he’s preparing to drop on the 13th of March, I find myself hanging on to every word.

Perhaps my opinion is influenced by the fact that he is a fellow Aquarius, or that he completely obliterated any opinions I held of what he would be like before doing this interview.

At this very moment, Titch finds himself in the eye of a social media storm as his single, Nkalakatha reaches viral status. Having dropped the remix featuring industry heavyweights AKA and Riky Rick a little over a week ago, he says: “it feels like a rollercoaster ride that I’m not trying to jump off of any time soon”. The video for the remixed version of the song racked up 100 000 views in just one day, which he says is a testament to his supporters.

Although Nkalakatha has been around since August 2019, many people are getting a first look at Costa Titch through the memorable visuals in the latest video. He lets me in on the fact that he was behind the editing for the music video too.

More surprisingly, the choreography throughout the music video is a trip down memory lane for the 25-year-old artist.“I started out as a backup dancer for Casper Nyovest, and it was a good introduction to the industry” he shares.

On whether he wishes he could go back to pursue making music from the get-go, he disagrees: “That was a very necessary learning experience for me. I got to see how everything works, how everything moves. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

He recalls that music has always been a part of his life in some shape or form, back to his grandfather, who he says played the piano and sang – a memory that just comes to him as we’re doing this interview.

Naturally, I ask him about the use of Zulu in his music and if he feels this plays into cultural appropriation. He maps out the transition from initially recording in English to later incorporating Zulu into the single that catapulted him into the position he finds himself in right now, “Rapping in Zulu isn’t about exploiting the cultures around me, but rather about making music that is relatable to one of the largest communities in South Africa. Once I realized that, my brand as you know it was solidified.”

He goes on to say that he has boundaries about the language, separating it from his music and day to day life, “I don’t go around trying to speak Zulu to people, that’s not what it’s about. I collaborate with my writers (one who is Zulu speaking) to create projects we feel accurately represent the fusion and co-existence of different cultures in SA. And I’m proud of that.”

The 25-year-old artist says he’s using this momentum as cleverly as he can, putting in the studio time to put out two new singles in the next week. It’s not all fun though, as Costa Titch highlights some of the challenges he faces as he works his way up without the backing of a major label, “I’m doing it by choice, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tough. I see all this money coming in and I have to invest it right back into my craft. That hurts!” he laughs. He goes on to say that financial literacy is imperative at this stage of the game and that he’s lucky to have learned how to navigate his way around it.

For Titch, he places importance on collaborating with newer artists, although he shares that his dream collaborations would include the likes of Nasty C and Sho Madjozi. His word of advice for his fellow newbies in the industry is to, “Commit fully, put out as much as you can as quickly as you can and to take yourself very, very seriously”.