Nayo Mvula is a singer-songwriter, and performing artist from Lusaka, Zambia. Nayo’s rich experience in both dance and performance, coupled with strong influences from genres that include Amapiano, Afro-Pop and Afro-Soul culminate to create an authentic music experience.
Nayo has had an astronomical start to his career with performances at both Kids Festival 2017 and Cocktail Festival 2018. During Zamfest 2018 , Nayo performed as a backup vocalist for ChemboMusic, and opened for Mafikizolo and other acts such as Caitlin DeVille, Patience Namadingo, and El Mukuka to name a few.
After a few years of honing his craft, Nayo is back on the music scene and is ready to make some serious waves. Coming in with a wealth of new experiences and growth gained during this time away, Nayo is getting vulnerable with his listeners and channeling this into his new music. Now tapping into genres such as Amapiano and house music, Nayo remains acoustically rooted in Afrocentric fusion with an aim to grow recognition both locally and internationally.
Describing his latest single, he has this to say;
Nayo: “‘Mukswesu’ is all about family and going above and beyond for people we care about. ‘Mukwesu’ is a Tonga word from Zambia’s Tonga tribe that simply means “brother or sister.” Consider the song to be a chat with your older sibling; the song is about telling the people I love, even if I am not physically present, everything I do is for their benefit. Regardless of the physical or emotional distances that may exist between me and those I love. “Ndiyookuzwisyila Malundu – I will move mountains for you, Ndiyookulwanina – I will fight the world for you”.
I’d also like to acknowledge all the collaborators on this project. ‘Mukwesu’ was produced by Focus.Beats in Lusaka, Mixing and Mastering was done in New Zealand by Alinafe Kalengamaliro, the artwork was done by Dewi Phan in New Zealand, Copywriting was done by Sapwe Musowa in New Zealand, Photography was done by Crystal Photography in Lusaka, PR and Management by Mukuk? Musowa at Creative Pwele based in New Zealand.”
LT: How has been the response to ‘Mukwesu’ ? It feels like a track that is perfect to heat up the dance floors.
Nayo: “The response to Mukwesu has been overwhelmingly good, both within and outside of Zambia. I appreciate the support, and seeing people create their own stories and dance to my song makes me happy. Yes! this is a dance floor filler! it’s chill and energetic – it’s a vibe.”
LT: Your style of music has influences from Afro-pop, Afro-soul and Amapiano. What is it about those genres that drew you to develop your style of music?
Nayo: “Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that ‘Mukwesu’ pays homage to South Africa’s Amapiano genre. Afro-pop, Afro-soul, and Amapiano led me to my style because they allowed me to convey an African story in an African way. As Africans, we love to move and groove, and genres like these always find a way to bring out the best in us, even if we don’t understand the language. Such genres represent a diverse range of cultures, and as an artist, I believe it is important to create and perform music that I love.”
LT: Hiphop is still the most popular genre of local music, but a number of artists are coming out with different sounds, like yourself. What is it about you that will separate you from the pack and make you a main stay on the Zambian music scene?
Nayo: “I’m here to stay. Every artist has their own audience. I am not scared to move outside of my comfort zone, I can be real and accomplish the things I love and stand for, being myself separates me from the pack.”
LT: Who are some of the artists that inspire you, both locally and internationally?
Nayo: “Locally, artist like Wezi, I love her storytelling and was obsessed with her music when I first discovered her, she gave us something different that we could vibe to. I also love Abel Chungu Musuka because…We all know this, this man can sing and his music is just so beautiful. I also like artist like Pompi, Mag44, Bomb$hell Grenade, Sebastien Dutch and EL MUKUKA “
Internationally it’s Beyoncé and it’s not because we are both Virgos but I feel a deep connection with this woman, I have watched and listened to her from a very young age and it’s the way she carries herself and how serious she takes her music career, I hope to connect with people on a deeper, personal and professional level just like her one day. I also love artists like Tiwa Savage, Tamy Moyo, Boohle, Daliwonga and Sampa The Great, just to name a few.
LT: What have been the best and most challenging moments in your music career so far?
Nayo: “Best moments are being on stage and performing, the atmosphere there is a whole different me, the ability to represent a story that’s not my own, and seeing people vibe to it is one of the best moments ever, I feel like doing it everyday. And for challenges I haven’t faced any serious ones really, I think it’s because I had a lot of time preparing for this and I knew the challenges that I would eventually face so as they come I always find a way to work my way through them but of course the only big challenge that many independent artists face is lack of Financial support, because most of us want to do so many things and Music is expensive, it’ll be so great to have access to artist development grant.”
LT: Zambian music has been breaking international borders recently, what do you feel needs to be done more in order to have a permanent place in the international market?
Nayo: “I think for us to have a permanent place on an international table as a country, be it supporters, Industry professionals and artists, we must think and walk like those who are in the international music market, secondly before we take ourselves out there, let’s fix our houses and what I mean is, work on our brand and image, ask yourself if a professional from Sony music looks and listen to my music would they want to sign me or work with me?
And for Industry professionals, stop overlooking young upcoming artists or any Zambian artists, play their music on radio, give them honest reviews e.t.c because if we want to grow we must all do it together, if everyone plays their part right, I believe we will stay on that international seat for a long time.”
LT: You did a number of festivals early in your career , pre-covid, now that the world is opening up again and festivals are back in full swing, should your fans be expecting any festival performances anytime soon?
Nayo: “Yes definitely I am so excited and can’t wait to showcase a whole different me and reach new audiences, I am bolder, wiser and hungry for the stage.”
LT: What does the word “Success” mean to you? What do you feel you need to achieve in order to be considered a successful artist?
Nayo: “Success to me, means going to bed every night with a peaceful mind, knowing I walked in all those rooms like God sent me there and I owned it. As an artist, success lies in the truth of my expression and the courage to continue my work and knowing that my business and artistic goals have are met.”
LT: Apart from music, what else are you involved in?
Nayo: I’m a full time art lover but trying to get myself in more creative works like photography, film, Modeling and Digital marketing, I think I’m multi-ambitious, I believe you can do literally anything that you want in this world just put in the hard work, be interested and you’re good to go, so expect more!
BY KAPA KAUMBA