Aya was born in Swaziland to a Zulu mother and a Zambian father, they lived in Zambia until she was eight years old. When Aya’s father died her mother returned to South Africa and settled in Durban. As an only child Aya thrived, especially when it came to music. “I’m an only child. I love it, I wouldn’t have it any other way” she says recalling her early days playing around with music. “I was in a group called Devine, it was just me and my girls having fun doing stuff and collaborating with local hip-hop groups, I never thought this was going to be my career”.
The showbiz bug bit Aya who decided to study for a BA in Music and Drama at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Aya later moved to Johannesburg and earned a top six place as a finalist on Idols in 2005. She released her debut album A State of Aya in 2007 with former idols judge Dave Thompson. This year she was nominated for an Ikusasa award for best musician of the year. Musician Danny K won the award but Aya says, “Being nominated was a great experience; although I didn’t win, it's always nice to be celebrated and appreciated for the work I do”.
Aya is anxiously waiting for the release of her second album Igama Lam that features some of South Africa’s leading writers and producers; RJ Benjamin, Mnqobi Mdabe and Beatmaker. Her first single Ngithathe meaning ‘Take Me’ is special to Aya because it represents her growth as a singer and a woman. She says “It's a song about giving yourself to the person you love, without reservations or fear”. Aya brings her charming affection to Talk SA and makes the series intimate and heartfelt. She says, “Talk SA is an influential show that has the power to shape thought and impact on nation building in our country; it's honestly an honour for me to be part of this important programme”.
Coming Up on Talk SA with Aya Mpama during July: 17th Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day, 24th Is Polo an elitist sport? Meet South Africa’s first all-black team, 31st what does it mean to be an Afrikaner in SA today? And in August: 7th Celebrate Women’s Day, 14th Club foot is a disability that can be healed and 21st we look at the differences and challenges of urban versus rural life.
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