Fresh from winning Song of the Year at the inaugural DSTV Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards, the Tembisa-born songbird is ready to take on the summer party scene with her piercing voice.
Zamar, real name Yamikani Janet Banda, got her moment in the spotlight this past weekend when she opened the awards with a stellar performance, alongside special guest Zodwa Wabantu.
“I was so surprised when they called me. I rehearsed on Wednesday, and then missed the Thursday rehearsals because I wasn’t feeling well. It was just a frenzy from then onwards, but at the end everything worked out and everyone went crazy,” she recounts.
“I love Zodwa so much. Every time I see her I’m always fascinated, because she stands for a lot. People think she just dances, but in our generation she stands for women’s empowerment.”
By now, you have probably lost your mind on the dance floor to Zamar’s hit single My Baby, as you “vosho” your way into the wee hours of the morning. Possibly, by the end of the summer there will be a host of newborn girls called Charlotte – sparked by her throbbing track of the same name with Prince Kaybee.
Her club-banger Criminal, with DJ Mshega, is on every DJ’s playlist across the country.
But Zamar maintains that the 2015 dance anthem, Mamelodi, by Junior Taurus is the song that made her a household name.
“We did a lot of music together and we were always in studio – at least once a week.
“One day we came from a gig and Junior came with the idea that people in Mamelodi always book us, so let’s tribute a song to them,” she recalls.
“Someone pointed out to me that the song is an anthem for every person who lives in a township. It does not just speak of Mamelodi, it speaks of the spirit of togetherness in the location.
“It’s very rare for hype to be created about urban life, because people are always talking about money and cars.”
2017 has been big for Zamar. In March, she released her debut album King Zamar, which took her two years to make. Love is a big theme throughout the 14-track offering.
On cut number five, Collide, the hopeless romantic will melt your heart as she seethes atop a banging beat: “It’s crazy it must be love. You are a citizen, resident in my heart,” it goes.
“In the two years that I worked on the album, I experienced a lot of disappointment, but also the amazing emotion of love.
“You know [how it feels] when you fall in love for the first time?
“You dedicate your entire life to that person. Then they disappoint you, and it hurts,” she explains.
“We like to take these things for granted, but I like to cherish those moments. I like to capture those things. I’m in love with love.
“I’m an idealist. I live in my fantasy. I read a lot and in books – no matter what happens – the hero always gets rewards. It’s like that in life too.”
So has she found love?
“Sort of. I promise when the time comes, I will say what needs to be said.
“My mom likes to ask me: ‘who are you dating now?’ and I say ‘when I tell you, it’s going to be genuine and 100%’,” Zamar replies.
She just released the music video for her latest single My Baby and she plans on going on a nationwide tour later this year.