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MBABANE – Apple Music’s latest ‘New Artist Spotlight’ is graced by a local musician. 

The artist, real name Ndumiso Manana, is simply known as Manana and is a multifaceted musician, whose new age RnB exudes emotional maturity and honesty way beyond his years.

According to the applemusic.com website, Apple Music’s ‘New Artist Spotlight’ is a monthly artist development feature focussed on identifying, showcasing and elevating rising star talent across Africa. 

Each month, Apple Music’s editorial team selects an artist to promote, utilising the full extent of the platform to raise awareness of the artist.

The programme has been running for the past four years and the support given to artists includes main page and genre page featuring, inclusion on the global African Editor page, Beats 1 support, inclusion in top playlists including Mzansi Hits, A-List South Africa, Mzansi House, Future Hits, Mzansi Hip-Hop, New Music Daily, Rising, the brand new playlist Africa Now and more.


Past New Artist Spotlight talent includes award-winning and critically acclaimed artists such as Sho Madjozi, Amanda Black, Shekhinah, Shane Eagle, Sun El Musician, The Big Hash, Simmy, Ami Faku and Elaine.

Through an email shared with the Entertainment Desk, the artist could not contain his excitement. 

“I’m both excited and humbled by this opportunity. To be chosen for the Apple Music New Artist Spotlight campaign is a huge honour and I can’t thank Apple enough. I’ve been inspired by artists who have been featured on this campaign and to become a part of this family is inspirational,” said Manana.

Growing up in Mbabane, the capital city of Eswatini, Manana developed an affinity for all things music related, which resulted in his ability to compose, produce and perform.

Establishing himself as a powerful lyricist, penning African anthems for lauded artists such as Ami Faku for ‘eBhayi’, Amanda Black for ‘Africa’ and Sauti Sol’s ‘Feel My Love’ and ‘Fire’, Manana also shines as a member of the multinational neo-soul group, Seba Kaapstad, alongside songbird Zoë Modiga, with three albums released to date.


After dropping a series of singles between 2017 and 2019, 2020 saw the release of Manana’s debut EP titled ‘In the beginning was the end’, a nostalgic ode to RnB told in reverse, with acute attention to lyrical and emotional detail.

Using his own marriage as his compass, Manana’s 7-track EP captures the light and shade of growing and fading relationships, touching on modern masculinity and shame culture, with ‘Sunday Morning’ featuring Rowlene, which featured on Apple Music’s Top 100 tracks of 2020.

Whether it’s behind a piano or microphone, Manana’s ability to effortlessly integrate his jazz training and choral background with elements of contemporary RnB and soul is what places him ahead of the pack.


Although no other artist locally has been featured in this segment, artists such as Tendaness, Slotta and !Sooks have placed  themselves on the top charts of the renowned music streaming platform through their music.



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