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South African artists Msaki and Tubatsi have teamed up on “Come In”, a haunting ballad that deserves to be a hit on multiple continents.

Msaki just added two trophies to her collection at the South African Music Awards (including Best Female Vocalist), and Tubatsi Moloi is a member of the acclaimed Soweto band Urban Village. In this age of bedroom pop, it’s refreshing to hear two accomplished singers bring nuance and emotion to a song about a grown-up relationship, not a teenage crush.

“Come In” is the lead single from the duo’s just-released album Synthetic Hearts. The video for the song was shot in an elegant house atop Johannesburg’s Northcliff Hill. The video’s director notes that “the song is a declaration of unshakeable love that invites a loved one into a deeply personal space, asking them to rest and remove all that has been weighing them down. The house in the video is a representation of a safe space where you are able to be vulnerable with each other.”

This feels like a song that’s going to be covered countless times by pop artists around the globe.


How did the writers’ residency at Nirox Sculpture Park come about?

Tubatsi: The idea of a collaborative and improvised album was presented by Laurent Bizot from our label Nø Førmat. When he saw Msaki and I working together on the song “Umhlaba Woke” on the Urban Village album, he noticed some obvious artistic chemistry and he had this idea of a whole project with Msaki and my voices, and to pair it with Clément Petit’s cello. It was really interesting because it’s one of these instruments I’ve always wanted to work with. And we all decided to start with this writing residency in Nirox. We all brought a few melodic ideas, and developed them together.

“Hearteries” is such a special song! What was going on in your life when you wrote it?

Msaki: It just happened, no discussion at all! We were at Nirox for the week and Tubatsi was going through some stuff, I was rethinking a whole bunch of things, and the album naturally became about beginnings and ends. There was also a change in the atmosphere because the seasons were changing. We sort of tapped into that, what the seasons were doing, what the leaves were doing, what was going on in our lives. I think improvising also does that: you are more in tune with what’s going on right now. Because we had no agenda, the songs reflected us quite naturally because I guess we were subconsciously processing stuff that led us into these stories. There were no points of discussion about the themes.

Tubatsi: It also goes back to the cello. It has a very soft touch, it’s a classical instrument. To be quite honest, it was a conversation. Through sounds, vibrations… The melodic guidelines that Clément gave us inspired us to talk about that. It was not a thing where we decided to talk about love. I was also going through some stuff, personal stuff, emotional things. It was a tough time, and everyone needs something to be grounded in and light, and for me it was music. Between Msaki and I, we were having these conversations about matters of the heart. 



Story: Larry McClain  


Msaki Instagram   //   Tubatsi Instagram.

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