Afro-yano artist, Aymos. Picture: Supplied
Afro-yano artist, Aymos. Picture: Supplied

Youth Day: Aymos says he owes his freedom to Soweto uprising youth

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jun 16, 2021

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Young South Africa Music Awards nominee Aymos describes his sound as afro-yano, a combination of afro-soul and amapiano.

The music maker, who decided to fuse the two to bridge the gap between afro and amapiano, says he wasn’t always a fan of the genre or of his songs being remixed, but quickly realised he had nothing to lose.

The move worked out in his favour. He went on to work with industry heavyweights like Zakes Bantwini, Mas Musiq, Prince Kaybee, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small.

Aymos kicked off his career by performing at his church. It was a big deal for him when church members demanded he sing.

“I saw it as an opportunity that I could pursue. It started in 2012 when I was first a pianist, then I realised that I could also sing when he gave me a mic. Since then, I have never looked back,” he said.

The young star, who has two Sama nominations to his name, faced several challenges on his road to success.

He said the first was convincing his parents to allow him to pursue a music career full-time. Once that was resolved, another set of challenges emerged.

“I had to work on building the perfect song, look for the perfect producer and team to work with. That alone felt impossible.

“Then, I had to worry about people believing in me, because everyone has their own agenda. There were also no gigs.

“In 2020, when the lockdown hit, it hit hard. Those were the most challenging parts of my life,”

Aymos. Picture: Supplied

Nonetheless he took disappointment in his stride and moved forward, looking up to the likes of DJ Sbu, who he feels is an inspiration to young people.

"He inspires, empowers and motivates young people. You can’t look up to him and be reluctant and ignorant.

“He is so unapologetic when he motivates and empowers us, as young people.

“Whether you are in the space of entrepreneurship or a musician or into medicine, he always motivates us to do better and build a legacy for the next generation.

“And the fact that he also comes from my hood is the cherry on top, because now I know it's possible.“

Aymos said that in a tough industry, where one needs to have a thick skin, he depended on his time, energy and emotions to pull through.

“I gave it my all and I've invested a lot of time, energy, emotions and feelings. I have to fight for this, no matter what.

“It just feels like a waste to give up, it's never an option. I've seen myself becoming a great artist, so until I get to that point, I don't think I'll ever let go, I would still be grounded in music.“

As he celebrates Youth Day on June 16, the artist believes he owes his freedom to the students who were a part of the Soweto uprising.

"Today we celebrate the students who were killed during the apartheid regime. They were protesting and fighting for freedom and equality.

“I believe today we are able to walk freely on the streets, we are able to make choices and we have rights because of them.“

Offering advice to other young and aspiring artists he said: “If you are prepared enough, whatever opportunity that comes your way, it can simply be yours because you at least know what to do.

“Always be prepared and educate yourself. It’s not anyone else’s job to do this but yours.”

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