The Biography of UMLILO

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Magic Man by Jasyn Howes

With over 18 000 listens on soundcloud, and even higher total views for his music videos on Youtube, Cape Town “Kwaai Diva”, Umlilo ha proven to be one of the most exciting acts to come out of South Africa in recent years.


The gender-bending performer and producer has grabbed the attention of the international online music media with his unique take on electronic music. His signature sound dubbed ‘future kwaai’ explores and pushes the boundaries of electronic alt-pop music in contemporary South Africa and has been a regular fixture in the international online music community.


Together with his avant-garde aesthetic, Umlilo’s music is an eclectic mix of booty popping post kwaito sounds with lush dark compositions that have been heard around a number of Cape Town venues making people gag at the extravaganza of it all.


The debut single Living Dangerously off of Umlilo’s debut EP ‘Shades of Kwaai’ was named one of Rolling Stone SA Magazine’s hottest singles of the month for May 2013 and has enjoyed over 7 000 listens on soundcloud, He has been playlisted on radio stations all over the world from New York to France and music blog Don’t Party named him as one of the Artist to Watch for 2014.


In a space of one year, Umlilo ‘Shade of Kwaai’ has been featured on blogs and publications all over the world including Africa is A Country, Okayafrica, UK Fame Magazine, NoOrient, Mahala, and locally graced the pages of The Sunday Times, The Cape Times, The Cape Argus amongst others. He has given a TED x Talk titled ‘The Art of Standing Out’ and continues to unleash his unique take on contemporary South African pop culture.


The Shades of Kwaai performance artist has also performed at some of Cape Town’s biggest musical events and venues including Cape Town stadium for MCQP, The Assembly, The Cape Town City Hall, Mount Nelson, Gipca Live Art Festival, National Arts Festival BASA winning Alexander Bar and will be performing at Rocking The Daisies 2014.


Umlilo is a multi-disciplinary artist whose areas of interest and expertise include dance, film, radio, TV, theatre and media.

View his videos and interviews below!

Check Out Umlilo’s videos:


Links and more to Umlilo interviews: