One night in 2019, DJ Kgaogelo Moagi, better known as Master KG, called up singer Nomcebo to come to his Johannesburg studio to record a song.
“‘But it’s very late,’” Nomcebo recalled telling him. “’You want me to come now?’”
When she got there, the beat Master KG played gave her goosebumps; she loved it. It would later come together as the global hit, “Jerusalema.”
But Nomcebo didn’t think she could come up with lyrics right away and asked if she could work on it at home. Master KG gave her the confidence she needed to do it that night, but she still shooed him out of the recording room so she could have some space to think.
After a few more listens, Nomcebo had an epiphany.
“Something came out from my mouth. And I was like ‘Master KG, come back, come back. Where’s the earphones?’ And then we recorded around midnight,” she said.
Though the lyrics are sung in Zulu, “Jerusalema” quickly rose to global fame. At the time of publication, the track is the second-most Shazamed song in the world – behind only BTS’s “Dynamite” – and the music video has over 185 million views on YouTube and counting.
The song has already landed Master KG five African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) nominations and countless celebrity shout-outs – in part thanks to the global dance challenge inspired by the song.
Watch the video at the top of this page to learn more about the mastermind behind the hit and see how he’s been uplifting his country, and beyond, during the pandemic.
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