On: Unathi

Ahead of her national tour, Unathi takes Helen Herimbi through an exercise of how music helped her become courageous, correct and capable. “I tell people all the time,” Unathi says after we’ve run 1.5km and are back at the first step of the steep Westcliff Stairs. “The key to the stairs is: don’t look up. Look down because you have to take it one step at a time. If you look up, it looks like you’ll never get there, and you’ll give up.” It’s a few weeks before the Idols judge is to embark on a seven-date Brave, True and Strong Tour around the country in support of her newest album. She will perform a retrospective of her career, including songs from this new album – three of which she’ll perform with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls choir. While Unathi has been a posterchild for consistent physical fitness, it’s clear that in the years since she released her Alive album, she has been working on her heart and on her mind too. It’s most obvious in how the Brave, True and Strong album is semi-biographical. “Mondli Ngcobo wrote 40% of my album,” the Show Me Love co-host says. “It was a beautiful experience because it meant I had to fly back and forth to Durban so I was living in two cities for nine months last year while recording this album.” What was born was 10 soul tracks with tinges of reggae and isichathamiya. They carry the common themes of love, surrender and authenticity featuring only two artists: Ngcobo on the sad ballad, Hlala Nami and rapper and Idols presenter, Proverb on Isidima, which was inspired by Zulaikha Patel. In a similar way to how Patel led the charge of authenticity to be allowed to wear the hair that comes out of her head in its natural state at school, Unathi wears her own authenticity now like a second skin. She is the most brave and most true to herself when it comes to her heart. She explains: “There were two songs Mondli wrote that were hard for Read More …