South African singer-songwriter, Halo Yagami (real name Monde Ngcobo) has been named as the latest Apple Music Up Next South Africa artist, a local version of their global emerging artist platform which launched in 2021. “My journey has been a crazy roller coaster so far – from leaving my hometown to quitting my full-time job just a few weeks ago. Today I woke up to the news that I am the first Apple Music Up Next local artist for the year. What may seem like a stepping stone in my journey ahead means everything in this exact moment, what felt impossible yesterday feels attainable today, this is where it all starts, this is the opening scene in the movie, this is where my story begins.” he tells Apple Music.
Hailing from KwaMashu in Durban and relocating to Johannesburg to pursue his musical dream, Halo has been candid about his struggles as an independent artist, with little to no support system at times. But his success is also a testament to perseverance paying off. He has collaborated with Sjava, Phila Dlozi, and MashBeatz to name but a few, and recently worked with lauded producers Vuyo Manyike (Sjava, Lira, Amanda Black) and Vaughan Fourie (Nasty C, Lucasraps, Early B).
His debut release Usiba (2022), is a self-produced 4-track EP with features from rapper Maglera Doe Boy and singer Marcus Harvey. With a neo-kwaito production style, coupled with songwriting that takes inspiration from traditional umbhaqanga melodies, Halo produces smooth, modern tones with a hybrid edge.
As the newest Up Next artist to be spotlighted in South Africa, Halo Yagami will be featured on Apple Music’s Up Next playlist. The curated playlist features a dynamic class of new and emerging artists, thoughtfully hand-picked by Apple Music editors from around the world. The playlist is genre agnostic and represents a line-up of artists Apple Music’s global editors are passionate about and eager to expose to a larger audience.
The vast global Up Next roster of past talent includes Grammy-nominated and critically lauded talent like 6lack, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Greta Van Fleet, Khalid, Amy Shark, Billie Eilish, Sabrina Claudio, Sigrid, Mr Eazi, Stefflon Don, Bad Bunny, Juice WLRD, Bazzi, Jax Jones, NCT 127, Summer Walker, Tierra Whack, Dean Lewis, Pink Sweat$, Koffee, Megan Thee Stallion, Burna Boy, Clairo, Lunay, Jessie Reyez, Orville Peck, Victoria Monét, Ingrid Andress, Conan Gray, Don Toliver, Rema, BENEE, Holly Humberstone, Natanael Cano, Givēon, beabadoobee, Arlo Parks, Tate McRae, Fousheé and Tems.