An artist and sound like none other – South Africa’s ZYO has just hit the music industry with his first single, We Are One – featuring none other than songbird Mpumi Sizani.

ZYO’s unique style of music is best described as a modern fusion of African and European elements, falling into a category of Afro House music, with hints of pop and disco.  

He says his music is inspired by the cultural aesthetic of Afrofuturism. “Through my music, I hope to spread the ideals of unity, positivity and connectedness.” 

Commenting on his first single, We Are One (featuring Mpumi Sizani), ZYO states: “The song is the celebration of the beauty that connects us all. It features lyrics in Xhosa and English, which was a very intentional thing, as it conveys the ethos of ZYO. Mpumi was the perfect collaboration partner. She wrote the Xhosa lyrics and brought so much energy and passion to the song, let alone an amazing vocal performance!”

The song We Are One is featured on YouTube:

ZYO – more than a name

The mysterious artist says that his name ZYO comes from the Zulu word “esizayo”, which is translated as “future” in English. “My utmost desire with my music is to celebrate the uniqueness of South Africa and the cultural mixing pot that we find ourselves in. ZYO is essentially a manifestation of the music and culture that’s been pervading my consciousness for all of my life. It’s a fusion of my roots in Africa, as well as my European heritage.”

We Are One – Focusing on the positive, instead of the negative, in SA

At the time he wrote We Are One, ZYO says that both globally and locally, news seemed utterly negative. He adds: “So while politically speaking we were going through a difficult time, I felt this was not the full story. I mean, I experience the unique and positive vibes in South Africa every single day. So I wanted to express this side of the story too! I wrote the English lyrics pretty quickly once I had clarity in my mind about what I wanted to say. The initial rough draft of the song probably only took a couple of hours. I was that inspired.”

Collaborating with Mpumi – written in the stars

ZYO says that with the initial rough demo of the song, he put the word out, looking for an incredible African vocalist based in Cape Town. “As fate would have it, Mpumi’s name came up repeatedly. So, I reached out to her by sending her the instrumental track and lyrics I had written. Her response was overwhelmingly positive. She came through to my studio and the synergy was incredible. We had a great collaborative session where we fleshed out the song, combining elements of what I had written and what she had. It was clear to us both – doing the song together was meant to be. Mpumi is so gifted. She got the whole concept of the song and her Xhosa lyrics were a key element in cementing the We Are One message.”

Future plans for ZYO

ZYO says that he is currently working on three additional singles and he is in the process of finding new vocalists to collaborate with. He states that there will be an album in the future, but for the moment “my main focus is on singles”.

He concludes: “Entrenched in the ethos of ZYO is collaboration. I’m hoping that along the way I’ll be able to uncover and provide a platform for unknown artists. There is just so much talent here in South Africa, and I would be so honoured to provide a platform for these talents to showcase their own uniqueness and abilities.”

We Are One is available on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud.

For more of ZYO, visit

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