Although many of us don’t like to remember the year that was 2020, I’d still like you to cast your memories to this day, one year ago. We were still in the grips of a harsh lockdown, Covid-19 fatigue and cabin fever were only beginning to set in and banana bread had found a way back in fashion.
Also, on the other end of the spectrum, the three musicians we know as Mi Casa were monitoring their streaming and charts analytics with baited breath because their 5th studio album, We Made It, had finally been released to the public.
As it would turn out, the album would be just the tonic that our lockdown (and 2020) would need. The record gave us several smash hits, with one of its lead singles Mamela instantly becoming a South African classic love song. Mi Casa, who rarely ever misdeliver with their studio records, had come to the rescue again just when the country needed them the most.
It has been said many times that the art from our artists played a critical role in helping many South Africans remain on the right side of the mental health scale (and let me tell you, that has not been easy over the last 18 months). Dr Duda, J’Something and Mo T might not have intended to do so when they first made their way to the studio to start recording the songs that would become We Made It, but their record played a key role in healing the nation during a time like no other.
This week, a year on from the day we heard the songs on the We Made It tracklist for the first time, we spoke to Mo T to help take us back to the time of the album’s release. He also reflected on the times that have come since.
Mi Casa’s We Made It turns one – Mo T speaks to Moziak
Happy birthday to We Made It! When you released it last year did you anticipate it would have as big an impact as it did?
It was a very difficult time all round I do remember that. Nobody expected the way that 2020 would turn out and by the time our album came out we weren’t even sure of what to expect. We knew we wouldn’t be performing the songs live yet but nonetheless we did our part to connect people.
When did the journey towards We Made it begin?
Some of the songs were actually recorded around 2019 and others finished right at the new year. But none of the songs were made with lockdown or the pandemic in mind. They just kind of fitted in with what was going on.
One song stands out, the track “Home Alone” featuring AKA. It’s about a long distance relationship but it feels like it’s a pandemic anthem!
You see what I’m talking about? At first we were making music based on what we were writing at the time but after the album came out, it became clear that the meaning people were drawing from this record was different. We’re glad that people could relate to these tracks during lockdown.
You three have a real knack for making love songs. Is it because you’re all married?
[Laughs] Well I want to say yes, but remember we got married after getting together as Mi Casa. We’ve always been these kinds of guys, even from our earlier work. This is just the kind of way we like to express love and romance through music.
You also gave us one of the biggest love songs in recent South African history with Mamela. How did the sound and melody for the record come to you?
Mamela is a song we’re obviously very proud of and it’s great to see how it connected the country during the lockdown. People were using it on social media, on Tik Tok, Instagram, it was everywhere.
In terms of how it came together, we are always loyal to our sound and when we can feel that we have found something that works, with a strong message, we each bring our all into it.
What is the one thing you wish for this song and album?
I wish we can get the chance one day to play Mamela live. The world and the country deserve it, and I’m sure when that day comes people will be singing so loudly that we will be drowned out [laughs]. It’s a song that people love, so everyone deserves the chance to hear it live.