Combining distinctive and soulful vocals, touching lyricism and his signature caramel voice, Futurelove’s music is heartfelt, emotional and reminiscent of artists in the vein of John Legend and James Vincent McMorrow. Read more about Futurelove Sibanda, Vienna-based artist, hailing from Nyamandlovu, Zimbabwe in this thought-provoking interview led by Christian Margol.
You grew up in Zimbabwe, then went to Austria. How did those places influence your music?
I grew up in a religious family which gave me access to a lot of church hymns. I sang a lot with my mum in the kitchen whilst she cooked. This is something I looked forward to doing every evening because sometimes when we finished a song we could hear the neighbors continuing to sing with us. I was shortly part of the primary school choir .I listened mostly to country music when I was young which made me just love songs.
At the age of 17 I joined our school performance group (Mpopoma High School). We sang a lot of traditional songs accompanied by drums and clapping, and also sang long playbacks, but that did not determine my style of music. Moving to Vienna made me realize different possibilities and made me want to find out what kind of music I really would love to do and be authentic in. I worked with a lot of people with different approaches in music. Trying all this brought me closer to myself and I can still say I’m still finding that out in a way.
What attracted you to music at such an early age?
My mum, she was the bird of the family. She sang when she cooked, when she worked on the farm, when carrying my siblings on her back, in church and funny enough sometimes when she gave me a beating.
I would run away from home to watch theater groups during their rehearsals and when they visited our school, I realized that I knew all the songs they sang as I sang along during their performances, which made me just want to be part of it all.
Do you think you would’ve developed a different style if you were raised in the UK or the US?
I definitely think I would have had a different approach to music if I grew up with a different background, considering the language and the culture. The conversations I would have had with friends and my own personal experiences would have made me a different person than the man
I am today.
What is the most inspiring influence when it comes to writing a new song?
I have different ways of approaching writing a new song. At times I wait for dreams where I sing a song I have never sang before, wake up and put on my phone. At times I sit at a public place where I get so many different impulses and the one that’s more brighter or darker than the other comes into writing. And at times I just need to lay down in peace and let something new approach my mind.
Sometimes I create a new song from listening to songs that already exist or listening to instrumentals from different cultures and see what I understand and could sing through them. The creating/idea process is fun. The hard part is when I have to make the idea a song, lyrics writing, what instruments I hear, where I want to put a break or bridge and so on.
How would you describe your evolution as an artist?
I am happy with where and who I am compared to who I was, I appreciate all the new things I have learnt and all the experiences I have gone through.
Am I satisfied? ‘Never’, as I feel there is still more I can learn and do and try out and a lot of people I would love to watch sing and sing with. There is just so much to learn.
Now I could and can sing spontaneously at jam sessions compared to when I couldn’t even stand in front of people. I can ask someone to give me a word and I could create a song on the spot.
How do you express the most ideas and emotions in an elegant and concise way? It’s really hard to do.
That is not an easy way to do as people can interpret any thing according to their own views, opinions and feelings. The best thing is to be true and authentic to myself as much as I can.
The best thing is to be true to myself and be authentic to myself as much as I can. In that way I can not mislead anyone with words nor actions.
What is your favorite song to perform?
At the moment, its my 2 newest compositions: the first one is Higher love, which is more of a prayer than just a song. I talk about what I think and feel we need in this world: love, peace, freedom, happiness, togetherness. It is a positive, sing along song.
The second one is Uthando Lwakho, a song sang in my mother tongue IsiNdebele. This song simply says “I love your love”.
In 2018 you created a joint arts project together with Slovak multi–guitarist, singer, composer and producer Peter Luha after a phenomenal sold -out performance at the at the New Year‘s Eve Galaconcert at the marvelous Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna. How did you and Peter Luha first link up? How was that working relationship initially, and how has it evolved?
Peter Luha and I are a perfect couple in music, we compliment each other in a very comfortable. He is what I was looking for.
I learn a lot from his multi skills, at the moment he is helping me with the #mylovesong project. That’s our biggest project so far besides concerts. We are also in the studio recording the songs we have composed.
It’s great that you’ve found people with whom you’ve been able to collaborate and resonate with sonically and aesthetically. It seems like you understand how to complement each other’s ideas. What can we expect from you going forward? Are there any styles or sonic textures you’re curious to incorporate into your music?
There is absolutely so many things I would like to try out, I don’t know what you can expect from me but I expect to meet and sing with John Legend and James Vincent Mcmorrow.
As I mentioned before, at the moment I am working a project called #mylovesong, where by I composed a song with song, where by I composed a song with the phrase “I love you” in more than 60 different languages.
The purpose of this song is bring people together, to learn something new about other people who we call strangers, to love to care and to share.