Famed for his eclectic mix of electric funk, trap and R&B that has been embraced all over the world, Masego’s reputation as a super-talented musician is global.
His history is as colourful as his music. Born Micah Davis, he has a Jamaican – American upbringing and grew up playing multiple instruments. Masego’s interesting background and travels have informed his latest release, Studying Abroad. It’s the follow-up to his career-defining 2018 album, Lady Lady that catapulted him onto the world stage; headlining sold-out tours and starring in major festivals across the globe.
The six-track EP was created during lockdown when he was grounded in the United States. It opens with the song, Passport, which expresses his desire to travel again.
This is perfectly exemplified in the lyrics:
“Got my passport
I’ve been searching
I’ve been working
To get out this town
“The song represents the beginning of a journey. Honestly, when I got my passport, that’s when everything opened up for me. So, I wanted to open up the EP by taking people on this journey with me,” says Masego.
Out of all the places that he has travelled, none holds more meaning for him than South Africa. He has close family ties to the country as his great grandmother and other relatives live here. But, it also holds significance because of how Mzansi has embraced him as a musician.
“I’ve toured a lot of places and South Africa was the first time where people weren’t waiting for my hit song. They loved every single song I performed and they showed me genuine love, which was something different. So, I give love to South Africa because it gives love to me,” states Masego.
Masego’s travels to South Africa and other places have shaped the way he makes music. He likes to incorporate all the different sounds that he’s been exposed to and apply that to his way of making music. This is evident in songs like Passport which include Japanese bells and Silver Tongue Devil which contains Afropop elements. He also gives a nod to 90’s R&B by interpolating the track Anywhere by 112 in Bye Felicia, the last song on the EP.
“My approach towards my artistry is mirrored by the people in South Africa. It’s important to me to tap into that side of my culture. And wherever I go, I seek out the musicians and their styles. This has naturally affected me and has influenced my music and how I make it,” explained Masego.
Although travelling and touring might still be off the table, Masego hasn’t been resting on his laurels. He’s been holding virtual performances, for instance a spectacular rendition of Queen Tings for the 2020 BET Awards, as well as performing four songs from his catalogue online from the legendary Capitol Studios.
“[Not performing for crowds] isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. At first, I didn’t like doing things on my phone, but then we got better cameras and we had a cool set design with my band tagging along so at least we get to do some creative things and transform people with art [during this quarantine]. I think it’s necessary for fans and artists to connect,” affirms Masego.
Once the borders open and it’s again safe to travel and tour, Masego has his sights set on performing in Uganda. He says, “I saw Sho Madjozi do a show out there. I would love to go.” We can’t wait to have some Masego magic on our shores again.