Jabulani Hadebe (born 2 December 1984), known professionally as Sjava, is a South African singer, rapper, actor born in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal. Sjava began his acting career in 2005, starring in several drama series and films including uGugu no Andile (2009). He then rose to prominence on the drama series Zone 14, where he starred for three consecutive seasons. Sjava ventured into the music industry and signed to record label Ambitiouz Entertainment. He gained mainstream popularity after he was featured on Miss Pru's acclaimed song "Ameni" in 2015.
Sjava's debut album, Isina Muva (2016), introduced his experimental sound which fuses afrobeats, hip hop and contemporary R&B. His second studio album, Umqhele, was released in 2018 to a critical acclaim. Umqhele, which continues with his fusion sound, grew his African-influenced image, and consolidated to other international regions (mainly in Africa). Before Umqhele, Sjava also released his debut EP, Umphako, in 2018.
Sjava's debut recording was a feature on DJ and producer Miss Pru's "Ameni". The successful song also featured Emtee, Fifi Cooper, B3nchmarq, and Saudi.
On 8 April 2016, he released his debut single as a solo artist, "Ekuseni". He then released his debut album, Isina Muva in July 2016. Its title is derived from a Zulu idiom meaning "late bloomer". Isina Muva was certified Gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) and Sjava celebrated by releasing a deluxe version of the album titled Isina Muva: Gold Deluxe. The album earned Sjava an award at the 23rd South African Music Awards for Best Produced Album. It also won for a similar category at the 16th Metro FM Music Awards, and received four nominees: Best Afro Pop Album for Isina Muva, Best Male and Best New Artist. Also in 2017, Sjava recorded the theme song for the Mzansi Magic drama telenovela Isithembiso, which premiered on 3 April 2017.
The lead single from Sjava's debut EP Umpakho, "Abangani" featuring Saudi and Emtee was released in June 2018 accompanied by a video paying homage to their humble beginnings. On 24 June 2018, Sjava earned a BET Award for Best New International Act at the 2018 event. Umphako was released in July 2018. The four-track project atopped the iTunes local chart on its first day, and is described as Sjava asserting himself as an empathetic worker's champion.
Sjava's second studio album Umqhele was released in December 2018. The album's lead single "Umama", was released seven days before the album was available. "Umama" later spawned a version on the global music platform COLORS, where he was featured performing the song on 13 May 2019. Umqhele atopped the iTunes local chart and received positive reviews from critics.
The film Black Panther was accompanied by a soundtrack album curated by rapper Kendrick Lamar, which Sjava appeared on. Sjava was featured on the song "Seasons", alongside rappers Mozzy and a producer Sabeloans Reason. The album was nominated at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, making it his first nominee at the ceremony for his appearance.
From 2005 to 2013, Sjava enrolled to acting. He appeared on several television shows, including Zone 14, Generations and Soul City and 7de Laan, uGugu and Andile, Isibaya.
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