Discovering a passion for music and embracing a multifaceted identity
Written by Phetolo Sematha, Images by GrèY GalxY
“Growing up, I got introduced to hip-hop by my uncle. We used to play Neo Geo computer games and listened to a lot of it in the background, mainly Eminem, and that’s how I got to love lyricism and wordplay,” recalls GrèY GalxY, a rising star in the music industry. His real name is Bruce Musekwa, and he explains that his stage name represents the multitude of artistic things he does besides music. “The name came from the idea that the colour grey is a combination of colours in one, which describes the multitude of artistic things I do besides music, and the galaxy part represents all the genres of music I make.”
Music has the power to ignite emotions, inspire change and remind us of our shared experiences. For GrèY GalxY, music has been a catalyst for self-discovery, resilience and expressing the beauty of his hometown, Pretoria.
Transitioning from being a dedicated listener to becoming an artist himself, GrèY GalxY began penning his own songs at the age of 12. His journey took a significant turn when he decided to change his stage name from Bruceboy to reflect his multi-dimensional artistic abilities.
Inspirations from within and beyond the music industry
When asked about his biggest inspirations, GrèY GalxY points to Eminem as a major influence. “From him, I learnt that you can make it even if you are not the typical face they expect.” Outside the music industry, GrèY GalxY draws inspiration from his mother and his faith. He believes that staying true to oneself and trusting in a higher power are keys to success.
“Pretoria’s Pride”: Conveying the beauty and complexity of GrèY GalxY’s hometown
One of GrèY GalxY’s primary motivations as an artist is to challenge the stereotypes surrounding his hometown, Pretoria. He aims to prove that this vibrant city is not merely defined by its flaws but possesses immense beauty and cultural richness. Through his music, GrèY GalxY captures the essence of Pretoria, whether through his infectious hip-hop beats, soul-stirring R&B melodies, energetic amapiano rhythms or captivating Afropop vibes.
His recently released three-track EP titled Pitori Gospel tells a powerful story of a young man named Tumelo. This narrative weaves together elements of faith, personal struggles and the harsh realities faced by many youths in Pretoria. ‘Nyaopes’, one of the tracks on the EP, delves into the tragic experience of Tumelo getting caught up with the wrong crowd and ultimately falling victim to violence. Through his music, he sheds light on the challenges faced by his community, while also offering hope and inspiration.
Balancing the challenges of a music career
GrèY GalxY acknowledges that pursuing a career in music is not easy. “Don’t let them lie to you, chasing your dreams only gets tougher before you make it,” he says. “You’ll lose friends’ and sometimes family’s favour, you’ll be a black sheep in your community and go broke in the process. But Trust The Process!”
A versatile artist with a heart for others
GrèY GalxY considers his ability to adapt to different music trends and make music in multiple languages to be his biggest strengths as an artist. When he’s not working on music, he enjoys playing games and watching cartoons – he describes himself as a simple guy. GrèY GalxY also expresses his love for helping others, particularly young aspiring musicians. He hopes to support them in the future and help them get their names known.
“Legacy in the making”: Future collaborations and unforgettable performances
GrèY GalxY finds joy in collaborating with other artists and expanding his musical network. He believes that by working with artists who share his work ethic and dedication, he can create meaningful and impactful pieces. He expresses his admiration for fellow artists Toss and Maglera Doe Boy, envisioning future collaborations that will push creative boundaries and surprise both himself and his audience.
When reflecting on his favourite live performances, GrèY GalxY fondly recalls two significant events. The first was in Musina, Limpopo, in 2021 when he witnessed the broader appreciation of his music. The second, at Hard Rock Café Pretoria, was particularly memorable due to the controversy surrounding his performance of ‘K*ffer’ in a predominantly white suburban area. These experiences demonstrate his ability to connect with diverse audiences and challenge societal norms through his thought-provoking lyrics and energetic stage presence.
Defining success and looking towards the future
Two major challenges Big Number faces are breaking into the music scene and getting his songs on official platforms and TV. To overcome these hurdles, he plans to continue pushing good music, collaborating more, and actively registering and following up with the platforms.
When asked about his goals for the future, Big Number envisions himself performing in different countries and collaborating with international artists. However, he remains grounded by his South African roots. “Realistically, I see myself pushing good music in South Africa, working with big local artists,” he states.
Building a fan base and marketing himself
Big Number intends to expand his fan base through more collaborations, shooting music videos and utilising social media platforms. He actively engages with his fans, replying to their messages and taking pictures with them in person. He believes in building a community around his music, both online and offline.
“I believe in the power of networking and featuring with other artists,” he says. “I also utilise social media platforms to connect with my fans and build a community around my music.”
The importance of art, and what motivates Big Number
Big Number firmly believes that art is a vital part of society, serving as an escape, a form of communication and a source of inspiration. For him, creating music is not just about motivation but a natural talent that he possesses. He finds inspiration in people’s experiences and situations they encounter.
Defining success and advice for aspiring musicians
Looking ahead, GrèY GalxY aims to achieve international recognition, leaving a lasting impact on the global music scene. He recognises that success is not just about fame, but about using his music to tell heart-warming stories and share the presence of a higher power. Critics and collectors have mostly responded positively to his work, which brings him joy and motivates him to continue creating. As he progresses in his career, he plans to create more music videos to enhance his marketing strategies.
As GrèY GalxY continues to create music that transcends boundaries and embraces multilingualism, he hopes to inspire fellow artists to dream big, persevere through challenges and trust in their unique journeys. His motto, “Bare Phala Fela Kaonna Famous”, serves as a reminder to stay true to oneself and rise above the pressures of the industry. With hard work, determination and a passion for storytelling, GrèY GalxY is steadily making his mark in the music world, captivating listeners and leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts of all who encounter his artistry.