Ishmael is the ONLY artist alive in South Africa that has been relevant to the youth market over an 18 year period. Now he surprises us with his best solo work ever. ON THE EDGE finds him working with DJ SWARMIE from the UK, a producer who sold 6,5 million copies of the album he made with SHANAED O’TWAINi. Still doing the JOZI thing ISHMAEL finds his voice on this album.
ON THE EDGE is Ishmael’s eighth solo release and follows in the pedigree of all his other albums. This release comes of the back of his SAMA award winning album, Long way Home, the aptly titled album, came when Ishmael in 2006 reinstated and reinforced his long time relationship with the record label Ghetto Ruff that started when Ishmael began with P.O.C in the 90’s . ON THE EDGE is an R&B / POP album and was inspired by his musical journey and from his many fans, who have been asking for this type of album from Ishmael for years since MI HOUSE.
The one constant in Ishmael’s life has always been music. From the sounds rattling in the house when his mother ran a shebeen where they played music from Ishmael’s major influences like Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson, music fuelled Ishmael’s days.”When I was about 16 and first saw people performing on television, I thought that I’d like to see myself on stage”, (little did he know what God had in store for him). This astonishing talent took Ishmael to astonishing heights, which started with P.O.C (Prophets of the City). Ishmael initially joined P.O.C as a dancer but eventually came full circle as the main singer of the group. Ishmael then went on to be part of the Kwaito group Skeem under which he was the most distinguishable voice to one of the most loved and well known South African songs, WAAR WAS JY?, this song still remains to be very popular amongst all South Africans when it is played. Ishmael then went on to release a string solo albums in which he won a SAMA for Long way home in the best R n’B category for that year.
One thing all fans and those in the music fraternity appreciate is that Ishmael’s voice has consistently been at the forefront of many of the memorable songs of the 1990’s and 2000’s. He sure has proven that he is the voice of S.A. music; whether if it’s in Kwaito, R’n B, Hip Hop or Gospel, and Ishmael can lay it down for you good. Ishmael has always had that uncanny ability to add that little something extra through his voice to make any song an instant hit. In 2006 this was further reinforced when he teamed up with Bongani Fassie and Leslie Mampe to form the popular hip hop outfit JOZI. Ishmael again proved his voice and appeal can transcend through time as much of the popular single, “What’s with the attitude? (Wayithini UMami?),” relied on his vocal skills to make the song what it is. Another thing that people cannot deny is that Ishmael has managed to always involve himself in making good music that resonates with all facets of South African society.
The 2009 release of ON THE EDGE is something Ishmael had been planning on doing for a while now. Growing up for Ishmael Morabe was an experience defined by struggle and adversity. Moving from place to place-from Klerksdorp to village near Volmaranstad to Rustenburg and Tsakane near Brakpan- Ishmael often stayed with his grandmother, his aunt and uncle while his parents worked “far away”. “The fact is, I grew up poor. I remember at times being incredibly hungry when I was a teenager. I survived by popping into neighbor’s houses at mealtimes, but you know, I didn’t know any better so to me it wasn’t really a big deal. Most people I grew up with in the village had very little.” Therefore to have had such an illustrious career and still being able to sing is nothing short of a miracle as he points out, “I have always been a spiritual person, whether or not good or bad things have occurred in my life, what I have achieved is not my doing alone, I know my God and He Knows me”.
I did half of the production on this album the rest was done by DJ SWARMIE (DIAMOND) I have never work with such an amazing songwriter producer who taught me things I could do with my voice that I thought was impossible. Thanks Diamond…….