Apple Music’s latest New Artist Spotlight is Manana (real name Ndumiso Manana), a multifaceted musical talent whose new age R&B exudes emotional maturity and honesty way beyond his years.
“I’m both excited and humbled by this opportunity. To be chosen for The Apple Music New Artist Spotlight campaign is a huge honour and I can’t thank Apple enough. I’ve been inspired by artists who have featured in this campaign and to become a part of this family is inspiring,” said Manana.
Growing up in Mbabane in Eswatini, Manana developed an affinity for all things music related which resulted in his ability to compose, produce and perform.
Establishing himself as a powerful lyricist, penning African anthems for lauded artists Ami Faku (“eBhayi”), Amanda Black (“Africa”) and Sauti Sol (“Feel My Love” and “Fire”), Manana also shines as a member of the multinational Neo-soul group, Seba Kaapstad, alongside songbird Zoë Modiga, with three albums released to date.
After dropping a series of singles between 2017 and 2019, 2020 saw the release of Manana’s debut EP In the beginning was the end, a nostalgic ode to R&B told in reverse, with acute attention to lyrical and emotional detail.
Using his own marriage as his compass, Manana’s 7-track EP captures the light and shade of growing and fading relationships, touching on modern masculinity and shame culture, with “Sunday Morning” featuring Rowlene, which featured on Apple Music’s Top 100 tracks of 2020.
Whether it’s behind a piano or mic, Manana’s ability to effortlessly integrate his jazz training and choral background with elements of contemporary R&B and soul is what places him ahead of the pack.
Listen to In the beginning was the end below.