When Robbie Malinga set foot on the Idols SA stage a few weeks ago, the 46-year-old looked like a hungry teen in the limelight for the first time.
So much passion and vigour – and this after 20 years in the industry.
He has produced chart-topping hits for most of the country’s musicians.
He says he still gets goose bumps from writing and producing music for other artists.
But he announced the time has come for him to hang up his own mic – a huge disappointment to his many fans.
Sunday World met with him at the Universal Studio in Rosebank, Johannesburg, shortly after launching what he called his last album, The Duets.
He says he wants to pour even more energy into producing hits.
But he says all is not lost as he will still from time-to-time perform and entertain with his energetic dance moves and gruff vocals.
The Duets, he says, is his fourth offering and follows on an album that was released years ago
“My music is inspired by everything that’s around me.”
The new album features Kelly Khumalo, Karabo Mogane, Naima Kay, Ntando and Musa.
“The album is called The Duets because all the songs are duets. I worked with the majority of artists that I have produced for before.”
Dressed in a dark blue tuxedo, Malinga speaks passionately about his love for producing music and his journey.
“I belong behind the scenes. I don’t have time to write my own material anymore.
“I’m always in studio with other artists and I enjoy what I do for them. Can you imagine, I have over 20 years in the game and I’m still standing. I really enjoy what I do,” he says, flashing a smile.
Born in Soweto, he says his childhood shaped what he is today.
“There were so many influences, I grew up listening to the likes of Chicco Twala, Freddie Gwala and Brenda Fassie. I wanted to be just like them.”
He says growing up in the township also taught him to have respect for the elderly and not to be greedy, among many other life lessons.
He tells us he started out singing in church, which is where he was discovered by Freddie Gwala while playing piano. He says after completing matric he learnt to play the instrument at Pelmama College in Roodepoort.
Twala invited him to his studio to work with him when he was doing Platform One’s Isencane Lengane.
“The album was a big success, and from there on everybody wanted to work with me, and then the rest is history,” he says.
Speaking of the challenges of the industry, he says the biggest challenge is piracy.
“It is killing us. People should buy original music because if they don’t the music [industry] will die,” he says with a sigh of concern.
Malinga is currently working on an album with Afro-pop sensation Ntando Bangani, and has just finished another with Idols season 11 winner Karabo Mogane.
He is content with who he grew up to be and wishes the current generation could know that “you are only as good as yesterday”.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the best. You must always say you want to be better than yesterday and you must always be on top of your game. But if you fold your arms, you will be a has-been.”
Source ; Sunday World