Spotlight: Yumbs the amapiano prodigy takes South African urban culture global

Yumbs has a unique sound and an amazing ear for music which has led him to take the role of executive producer on projects. Picture: Supplied

Yumbs has a unique sound and an amazing ear for music which has led him to take the role of executive producer on projects. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 15, 2024


South Africa is a melting pot when it comes to talent, and at the moment the youth is at the forefront of our country’s urban culture.

Amapiano record producer and international DJ, Yumbs is one of the artists currently making waves thanks to his flourishing career that has seen him take on the global music scene.

Real name, Ayanda Oratile Yumba, Yumbs has gained notable recognition as being one of the artists who have pushed amapiano locally and internationally.

Yumbs first made a name for himself in 2020 by co-producing Musa Keys’s ‘Vula Mlomo’. Since then he has gone on to produce and work alongside artists such as Kelvin Momo, Bien, Major League Djz, Dj Maphorisa, Blxckie and Nigerian hitmaker Joe Boy.

His love for music runs deep; he plays drums, bass electric guitar and piano, he has attended the National School of Art and furthered his studies at the Academy of Sound Engineering, with majors in Audio Technology and Sound Engineering.

“You always need to know the theory of things, you don’t know which room you can be in. I want to be in every room, I want people to know I’m educated in music. At some point, I want to have my philosophy of music, write books about music and for you to start doing that you need to study.”

As amapiano continues to grow in South Africa and globally, it is paramount that individuals such as Yumbs, who are part of the culture, preserve the genre.

The 22-year-old is cognisant of the sounds that he wants listeners to hear in the music, and he plays around with different instruments. “Sometimes I'll sound very African using marimbas and then sometimes you want it to sound soulful and you'll use strings and keys but it's the same pattern.”

Yumbs has a unique sound and an amazing ear for music, which has led him to take the role of executive producer on projects. His debut executive producer role was Pabi Cooper’s debut EP ‘Cooperville’.

“The executive producer oversees the whole project, how it’s gonna sound and sometimes the executive producer can be the person finding everything.

“Who's gonna be on the project, the features which producers we’re gonna work with to achieve what we want. The executive producer makes all of the decisions for the project.”

As he spreads his music across the world Yumbs has collaborated with international acts such as Will.I.Am and Pharell Williams at a music camp in Dubai. “It was dope, I was shy at the time, I didn't have any hit songs but I was favoured.”

In 2023 Ciara enlisted Yumbs to remix her smash hit ‘How We Roll’ featuring Chris Brown. This remix then set the tone for 2024 where Yumbs produced the official amapiano remix of Muni Long’s hit single ‘Made For Me’.

“I'm finding myself in everything that's happening”, he says about stepping into his own as an artist. “It feels exciting.”

The talented musician in 2022 dropped his first EP, called ‘The First Offering’ establishing his lane as an artist and not just a producer and DJ.

“I was surprised when that project went number one. I don't wanna lie, I was so shocked. It made me realise the power I have, and what I could do. It made me see things differently.

“I love the transition of Yams being an artist now an artist DJ you know I love it. I'm in love with it.”

Earlier this year he released his latest amapiano masterpiece ‘Off My Mind’, featuring an all-star lineup including Focalistic, Joeboy, Bien, and Moliy. “It’s an amapiano song, it’s got artists from Nigerian, Kenya and Ghana.”

His new release comes after the announcement of his exclusive partnership with Warner Music Africa, following his previous distribution deal with Africori, Africa’s leading digital music distribution, music rights management, and artist development company.

Yumbs is always hard at work, making music; he is working on his project and he is also working on two joint projects; one with Nomfundo Moh and one with Zwayetoven and some more international projects and a European tour.

IOL Entertainment