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Five acts are in the race with four nods apiece, with a cross-section of genres sharing the spotlight

Dreamy Afro-soul newcomer Nathi, house music supremo Black Coffee, rising rappers Riky Rick and Emtee, and sultry songbird Zonke Dikana share the nominations spoils at the 22nd Annual South African Music Awards, grabbing an impressive four nods each.

The contenders for this year’s awards were announced amid great excitement and anticipation in Soweto on Thursday, 21 April 2016. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), the official passenger rail transport sponsor, ferried the VIP guests and media on the Metrorail Business Express to the Soweto Theatre, a landmark venue, located in Jabulani in the heart of Soweto, for the nominations “reveal”. Guests were escorted into the venue and then entertained by young performers from the Morris Isaacson High School, which is the very school that played a major role in the Soweto Uprising in 1976, forty years ago.Chairperson of the South African Music Awards, Refiloe Ramogase welcomed everyone with a poignant speech about the stance that the Annual South African Music Awards have taken this year with the statement that “The Future is Here”. “Soweto not only serves as a reminder of the selfless bravery of our youth 40 years ago, but also reminds us that actions motivated by yesterday, taken today, set the course for the tomorrow. If one is bold enough, one can change not only the course of history, but the course of the future. This is the dawn of a bold new horizon within the Industry; the mass adoption of technology, the rise of the independent label, the endless stream of new distribution channels, seemingly limitless opportunities for cross-genre collaboration, Virtual Reality concerts on your phone, Digital Maskandi, Urban Gospel; all indicators of the transformation of our musical landscape.” Commented Refiloe.

Young blood features strongly in this year’s nominations, with three of the five Album of the Year nominees being breakthrough artists: Emtee, Nathi and Tresor, who’ll be competing against seasoned campaigners Francois van Coke and Black Coffee. The same three young guns will also vie against Riky Rick and Fifi Cooper in the Best Newcomer category.

Van Coke and fellow Afrikaans rocker Karen Zoid made a strong showing, with three nominations apiece. Other artists and bands that have been singled out for creative excellence this year, bagging three nominations each, include jazzman Marcus Wyatt and the ZAR Jazz Orchestra, dance music favourites Mi Casa, house DJ Mobi Dixon, Afro-soul songstress Zahara and acoustic pop-folk sensation Tresor.

The race for Best Male Artist is guaranteed to be a closely fought one, with globetrotting superstar Black Coffee and influential rock rebel Van Coke hoping that experience will see them triumph over the newbies Nathi, Riky Rick and Emtee. In the Best Female Artist category, the three Zs – Zoid, Zonke and Zahara – will slug it out for top honours with Fifi Cooper and Judith Sephuma.

On hosting the 22nd Annual South African Music Awards, The Mayor of the City of Durban, CLLR James Nxumalo said “For us as the City of Durban, we are very excited to host the SAMAs. The City of Durban has worked hard to build its brand, and our partnership with the SAMAs will further strengthen the position of Durban as the number one tourism destination in the country and one of the best in the world. As the City of Durban we are ready to welcome the music and entertainment industry to Durban, the warmest place to be”

The shortlist of nominees for the Amstel Record of the Year will be announced on Live Amp this Friday, 22 April on SABC 1, with the public being invited to vote for their favourite song of 2015. The 22nd edition of the South African Music Awards will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre on Saturday, 4 June 2016, and will be broadcast live on SABC1.

Ticket sales for the 22nd Annual South Africa Music Awards taking place on Saturday, 4 June will be open to the public on Friday, 22 April at 12 noon. Tickets are R350 and available from Computicket.

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