Lloyiso’s Trajectory

There is often the misconception that talent alone can stand it’s own ground without aid; this misconception often leads to those who are deemed as talented being judged more critically when not “living up to their talent” but also on the other hand not getting all due credit because, well, they are talented. Truth is, talent just like anything else in life deemed as advantageous still needs to be supplemented, be it by hard work, persistence, the right relationships and more.

Talent is not enough. There is no substitute for it, but there is also no guarantee of success with it.

John C. Maxwell

Now, we first got to meet Lloyiso Gijana at age 16 as a contestant on season 11 of our local version of the global Idols format. And if you were audience to his time on the show then, you can easily attest to that there was no question around his talent. He went through his Idols journey, which now understandably and in hindsight may have been an overwhelming journey for a 16 year old – which makes one further think of how much more exceptional he was to have gotten as far as the top 5. Nonetheless, Lloyiso not going all the way to the final and winning his season of Idols had nothing to do with his talent, it could perhaps be pinned to a wider range of variables such as his inexperience, skill or even just the timing of it all.

What followed after his elimination from the competition was silence, see the thing with silence is it does not necessarily equate to inactivity. I mean, yes, silence brings about seclusion, intimacy and repression that can all lead to comfort. But then again comfort aids creativity. For artists, I guess somewhat different to others, it is in the comfort and silence that they produce their best work. Silence often leads one back to self, and here is where you can do the uplifting, you know, the skill building and strategising.

Also important to note that, for Lloyiso the silence also came at what is typically a transition phase in one’s life. You can practically imagine in this phase he got to complete his school commitments and a lot of character and courage building was done.

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Aldous Huxley

What followed some two years later was a resurgence of sorts in the form of cover song YouTube videos, which were almost immediately followed by his debut single, Nontsikelelo, released under Ambitious Entertainment. At this point we are all probably thinking, “Wow, here comes Lloyiso, he is all grown now”. It is a bit unclear what his record arrangement was at the time, but forgive our then excitement for thinking, “He has backing now, he is going to give us gang projects from here on.” But that did not happen, again followed a period of no complete project, no single or even song features. The YouTube covers however remained and that is crucial. See, the singing of cover by musicians should not be taken lightly, this has proven to be a catalyst of sorts for skill and technique honing. Perhaps more practically this time around, he is learning how to play with his voice, how to be comfortable and confident in the space of performance. He is also learning maybe how the business works behind the scenes because no knew really teaches you that.

With greater recognition and prominence comes a string of single and feature releases such as Indlovu with DJ Zinhle, Madoda Sabelani and then he does the song Intliziyo with Langa Mavuso that got us all like, “The kings of falsetto are about to come for us”. And that’s almost like a build up, now he is doing his covers on both TikTok and YouTube and he’s just building. The momentum is crazy.

Then he drops the single, Seasons, and now we think, it’s time; he is literally about to shake the world. There’s commentary everywhere around him, about his voice and so on. References and likening to Sam Smith starts, both as compliment and at time seemingly at discredit. It all starts to feel like his time has finally arrived, the build up has been for this. He now takes on some big stages, including a return to the Idols stage where it all began but now as a guest performer. He takes on the Sun Arena as probably one of his first big stages and the audience absolutely loved him, they sang back to him literally bringing him to tears.

He is now somewhat at this peak which is followed by signing on to the international, Republic Records. He is now connected to his audience to a point where they are family to a certain extent, matter of fact they are friends. The people, the audience are propelling him forward. It almost feels as though he does not have to convince people to love him, they just do. They want the best for him, we want the best for him, we want his music to be seen far and wide. And for someone whose vision for his music is to have everyone worldwide listen to him at least once, he is now well on his way there. He then continues to drop these singles before eventually releasing his debut EP, Seasons, to which saying it was well received is an understatement. Lloyiso sounds magical. He sounds like the perfect soundtrack, it’s no surprise that some of his songs are already being used in films.

This is just the beginning, but is it the beginning or is this him going towards his crescendo? A peak? If there is even a peak in ones music journey. I think to say it is the beginning is discrediting to his hard work thus far – he has worked really hard and he continues to work hard. He is a beautiful success story and we shouldn’t at any point forget how much he worked to get his body of work seen by this great audience he has accumulated. It has taken a lot to get here, counting back from all those years back when he started his Idols journey. A lot has gone into his craft, he has put in his hours, and proper effort. He has dealt with his share of music business drama and managed to keep the music as the main thing.

As we applaud his talent, I think with the same token we should also applaud his grind and tenacity.

From here on one can only imagine how much better it will get, and we’ll be here for it all.