During the lockdown of 2020, Amanda Black used the downtime to confront internal and external issues she hadn’t been giving attention to as a busy artist. Mnyama, the South African soul/R&B artist’s third studio album, was conceived during that tumultuous period. “I felt vulnerable, I felt alone, so I just let myself be,” Amanda Black tells Apple Music. “It was a conscious decision to be like, ‘Listen dude, it's fine, it's okay, you're not the only person that's going through this, it's okay’. And that's how the songs manifested.” Lyrically, Mnyama is a stream of ruminations on heartbreak, self-doubt, confusion and optimism. “The album is a self reflection journey,” she explains. “It’s [a collection of] sincere conversations with myself [while] navigating through the dark time of being isolated in lockdown during a global pandemic, not being able to make a living, worried about how I was going to survive financially and emotionally—and also going through a break-up at the same time. I was ultimately finding myself and healing through these conversations.” Together with producers Christer Kobedi and Vaughan Fourie, Black has crafted an acoustic-leaning soundscape that allows her to share her raw feelings; she takes us through it all here, track by track. Ndandihleli “‘Ndandihleli’ translates to ‘I was sitting’. It came from a song we used to sing in choirs growing up. So, I took it, and then the lyrics that I wrote to it were about the breakup I was going through at the time; how I felt about us. I was reflecting on the relationship and what was making sense to me at that time. Obviously, I missed him, but I understood that it had to end… that ‘it's okay I get it, but I don't get it’.” Amagingxigingxi “I was jamming on the guitar and I was feeling so low that day, everything was weighing on me. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I just felt so insignificant. I wasn't strong enough to do anything about anything. ‘Amagingxigingxi’ is an honest conversation. Most of the time we don't know what to do, how to feel or how to react. The world is telling us we must do this or that, but no one really knows what's happening in my personal life. No one understands that some things are hard to talk about when I'm feeling helpless in my own personal capacity. That's what ‘Amagingxigingxi’ is about really; it's about obstacles.” Ungayeki” (feat. Berita) “Here, I'm featuring Berita—love her; my sister. I truly wanted to believe it at the time, that something would change.‘Ungayeki’ means dont stop; don’t quit. It’s specifically about the pandemic. It is one of those tracks that in my solitude and in my vulnerability I’m begging myself—I dont even think that it was me, but something inside of me, begging me not to quit.” Kutheni Na (feat. Kwesta) "This one is a question song as well. It's one of those songs where I'm like, ‘I don't know what to do’. It is about everything and all at once. It's about me; it's about me in context of this world, because everyone had plans [for 2020]—‘I’m going to do this, I can't wait to do this, I'm planning to do this so this can happen’. I’m such a free spirit, but when it comes to things that I believe in and things that I want to plan, I'm still learning to adapt and change plans—because that's what life is about.” Let It Go “'Let It Go' is about letting go of all the negative things that hold you back, letting go of the things that you feel–this happened to me, people did this to me–those are external [things]. Let that go and focus on you; focus on what your journey is and what you’re supposed to do; if you are supposed to heal people, focus on that. This pandemic really stripped away alot of things without me even noticing, things I thought I needed to be okay, And all I needed was me.” Ekuphileni” (feat. J’Something) “'Ekuphileni’ is a hymn. I grew up Catholic and this is my grandmother's favourite hymn. The song is a prayer, asking Maria [Jesus’ mother] to help us pray. For years, since [I started] recording, my grandmother has been asking me to record her song. Now felt like the right time to do it. The amazing J’Something told me that his mother’s name is [also] Maria, so this was just meant to be.” LWH “I was going through a breakup. In this song, I was feeling indecisive. 'LWH’ is me thinking back about the love that we shared which was beautiful, but life is life; we make mistakes and things end.” Lonely “I was writing about how I was feeling. I was disconnecting. I started calling loved ones less. It’s something that I'm also working through; that retreating to oneself, and not being able to voice something, like, ‘Hi guys, I don't feel like picking up the phone. I don't feel like talking because I'm feeling like this.’ Pick Yourself Up (feat. Christer) “This one is featuring Christer, my producer of four years, since [my 2016 debut album] Amazulu. It's really amazing to see the growth within us and seeing the music evolve; it's been crazy. This song is also a very inward dialogue, and it says, 'You need to pick yourself up, because unfortunately no one can save you'. I know we like to think that there's someone coming to save us, but no one can save you. You need to fight through your demons. Some days you don't even get out of bed, but forgive yourself for that day. The song is about keeping your eyes on the dream when things get tough.” Always” “My heart song. 'Always' is a song I wrote for my family, for home, for my heart, because I felt like I left it there. [Due to lockdown regulations] It felt like I didn't know when I was going to see my family again.”

Video Extras

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada