AFTER six years as an independent musician, Siyabonga Nene, aka Big Zulu, has signed a record deal with Universal Music.

Big Zulu got his lucky break while performing at Kwesta’s three-day Birthday Festival in August at Mlando in Katlehong.

The 29-year-old from Bergville in KZN was approached by Ntokozo Sithole, a bouncer and Demor Sikhosana’s personal trainer.

Ntokozo was blown away by Big Zulu’s performance. He said he knew someone who might be interested in signing him.

Big Zulu gave Ntokozo a few tracks. Two days later he received a call from Demor, who told him he was interested in signing him.

“I couldn’t believe that my dream was finally coming true. I spent a few days studying the contract as I wanted to be sure,” he said.

Big Zulu hasn’t released anything big since signing in October, but said a single will be out early next year.

“I had a great year as an artist, performing on a main stage at the biggest hip hop festival in Africa called Back to the City.

“I also opened at the South African Hip Hop Awards at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.

“My single Yithi Abantu got a lot of air play.

“And signing the deal was just the cherry on top,” said Big Zulu.

He began rapping in 2009 and started O-production with Nhlanhla Gwala.

“That’s where I started as an independent artist,” he said.

Big Zulu said his music is nkabi rap as it is mostly influenced by maskandi music.

“I am inspired by people like Osmic Menoe because he is original. He has helped a lot of up-and-coming hip hop artists like me. He has given a lot of musicians a platform.

“People like OB, Mollo, Rashid Kay and Thapelo contributed to my success. I would also like to thank the radio stations that played my music. I’m grateful to them,” he said.