Growing up in a Christian family and attending a Christian school, she was always in the choir at school and at church gatherings.
Wanting to take her music to the next level, she decided to do something more challenging, something still close to her roots. She went on to receive an honours degree in jazz music cum laude from the University of Cape Town. The sky was the limit for the songstress, but things didn’t come easy for her.
Maxolo had to work hard to establish herself in the industry. Looking back, she says: “If you work hard, you get great results.”
Now a force to be reckoned with, she has gone on to win the Old Mutual Jazz Encounters competition, performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town and was chosen by the Department of Arts and Culture to represent South Africa at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
“The response I’ve received from people is just amazing,” she says. Due to the huge demand received after her show in Durban in April last year, Maxolo will be using what little budget she has to return to KwaZulu-Natal for shows tonight and tomorrow night. She will be joined by an accomplished band, made up of Jacob Thomo on keys, Sthembiso Bhengu on trumpet, Thembinkosi Mavimbela on double bass and Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums.
She says: “The Durban audience can expect an evening of excellent music from an amazing and talented band. We will take you on a musical journey showcasing songs from my debut solo jazz album Time, along with some traditional jazz standards. We promise to deliver an amazing performance to be etched in the hearts of fans for years to come.”
Though the singer has not been able to release a new album since her 2012 debut, Time, she says: “The fans are first and foremost my priority. Eventually I’ll go back into studio and record but for now, if the fans want to see me play, then that’s what I’ll do.”
She continues: “Everyone in life is here to fulfil a purpose and music is mine.” Enthused by life itself, Maxolo draws inspiration from her own life, using her music to spread positive messages to the world.
Critics have described her sound as “jazzy”, “soulful”, “lyrical”, “affirming” and “layered” – the very assets on which she prides herself.
Though her songs are no longer strictly gospel, she freely admits there are still strong Christian themes in her songs that shine through and incorporate both African jazz and traditional jazz influences that have proven to have worldwide appeal, transcending culture, background and race.