While her haunting vocals on the global hit song, Jerusalema, continue to reverberate around the world, South African singer, Nomcebo Zikode, has said she is yet to receive any money for her effort.
The singer took to social media on Sunday to threaten legal action against Open Mic Productions, the label that recorded the song in late 2019.
“My voice and lyrics have transcended globally, but I still await what is due to me,” Zikode claimed in an emotional statement to her fans on Twitter.
“I have not been paid a cent by the label for Jerusalema despite the song’s global success. I have been ridiculed, with efforts to marginalise my contribution. The continued love and support from the fans of Jerusalema has been my strength and anchor during this difficult time.
“I, as a female artist, can’t stay silent anymore; the matter is now with my lawyers,” she added.
The Guardian reports that Jerusalema, recorded with DJ Master KG, became one of the most popular songs of 2020 and a soundtrack of the pandemic.
It reached No 1 in Belgium, Romania, the Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland.
It reached No 4 on Billboard’s world digital song sales chart, went triple platinum in Italy and double platinum in Spain.
On YouTube, the song has garnered 420m views, while the remix featuring Nigerian artist Burna Boy, has had more than 21m views.
Master KG, who has won global awards for the song, has hit back at Zikode’s claims, saying the singer wants a larger share of the proceeds than originally agreed.
“The agreement of Jerusalema is 50/50 between me and Nomcebo but (Nomcebo) wants 70% and I must get 30%,” Master KG tweeted.
He said Zikode had been paid 1.5m rand (£75,000).
Zikode’s relationship with Open Mic Productions has soured recently.
The record company contracted another female artist, Zanda Zakuza, to replace her on the Jerusalema world tour.
In a statement, Open Mic Productions admitted the artist had not been paid for the song owing to a contractual disagreement.
“We can confirm that during the creation of the song that Master KG (the main artist) and Nomcebo Zikode (the featured artist) agreed on sharing 50/50 of Master KG’s earnings,” it read.
“The featured artist’s agreement, which reflected an equal split between the two artists, was drafted last year November for both parties to sign. Nomcebo Zikode through her legal team reviewed the contract and proposed for a higher percentage.”
It said neither artist has been paid because Zikode has yet to sign the featured artist agreement.
“This is the agreement that stipulates amongst other matters what percentage of Master KG’s artist royalties is payable to Nomcebo for her role as a featured artist in the song. These engagements remain ongoing and as soon as these are concluded and the agreement is signed by all the parties, payment will be made immediately.”
Master KG tweeted, “Last year Nomcebo started Jerusalema tour without me and I never had a problem and few weeks back I started my tour and then Nomcebo went to the media and created a story that I’m leaving her behind … I don’t really know why things must be like this,” he said.
South African musicians took to social media to commiserate with Zikode.
A top gospel musician, Khaya Mthethwa, tweeted, “This is heartbreaking. Standing with you sis.”
At the peak of the pandemic last year, the song sparked a global dance craze when a group of friends in Angola shot a video dancing to the song.