How important was the study of music and which role did it play during your career?
Studying music was very important in the development of my career. Sure, there is so much knowledge and courses easily accessible to most on a click of a button, so one does not necessarily need to commit to a music degree as such. However, formally acquiring a degree at an institution (MMus Wits) provided me with the knowledge of reading, writing, and thinking music, but most importantly, it opened up a wide network of like- minded professionals I would have not met otherwise. My first paid gig as well as a teaching post was through a fellow Wits graduate.
I’ve listened to a lot of Jazz albums and yours stands out from the rest, what keeps your sound in tune?
Thank you. Are we talking about the general colour/sound/mood of the album and how it fits within the other S.A releases, or the tone of my voice? I am happy to talk about both. The sound of my album, I believe, is a good mix of personal thoughts as well as exploration of music. The albums that have stood out for me personally have been works of the artists who managed to express humility through a lifetime of musical endeavours. The result is satisfying to the artist as his/her thoughts get to live through the music, and the audience responds positively, as the communication is real, organic. The music has to be the most important ingredient though. It has to be loved, learned and given just the right thing it needs at that time.
What’s your own definition of Jazz?
Jazz is that moment when you wake up in the morning with the excitement of a new day in your body, full of possibilities: A new you, in a new setting, a new pace, a new feel. I am grateful for this gift, to be able to improvise in this life. The soul of Jazz lies in improvising. I love it!
Besides Jazz is there specific genre you see yourself experimenting with?
I have crossed and swam many waters already, but to answer your question: Yes, I am open to any style, if the project speaks to my gut. I have been brought up on many different genres of music: Have studied Western classical music but have listened to Soul, Pop, Rock, and free styled over DJ sets in clubs, singing House music and Drum ‘n Bass. I have tapped into a bit of Musical theatre too, through my teaching and have worked with many E.D.M producers, playing in a rainbow of styles. Jazz is my thing though. It speaks to my heart and soul.
5 tips you can give to upcoming Jazz vocalist?
My instinct is to say, and state the obvious: Practise, practise, practise, practise, and practise. But, it’s like this actually: Practise- Live- Practise- Give- Practise- Learn- Practise- Listen- Practise- Be yourself (as this is the only thing that will ever be ‘good enough’). Work hard and look after the health of your vocal chords.
How are you finding yourself in the South African Jazz Scene?
The Jazz scene in South Africa is exciting as it’s small and growing, thus allowing for many possibilities. It is also exciting because there are many young, driven, and very talented musicians on the scene today. They are, or should be, kicking all of our butts and motivate the older musicians to stay driven, focused and hungry. It is also a challenging scene as I find myself not really belonging to a ‘up coming’ group, nor the ‘established artists’ group yet. I have started performing in front of a live audience age 7 (as a violin player) and have over 30 years of performing experience. Just over 20 years of that period I have spent living in South Africa, as a professional musician. I have dedicated the past 10 crafting my way as a Jazz vocalist. This makes me a young lioness, in a way. I am happy and I am enjoying earning my stripes, just like everyone else.
Any future projects?
Yes, of course! The big one being my second album. It will be a gathering of sort. In this album I am planning to include all the musicians I have worked with since the release of my debut album, ‘Ziza Muftic Quartet: Silver moonbeams’ (2015). The choice of repertoire will be a good mix of originals, as well as my arrangements of covers. There will be many different formations and personnel on specific tunes. The listeners can expect to hear my Quintet, Quartet, Trio as well as a few different Duo mixes.