Celeb edition with Jack Monster

Leungo Mokgwathi
ON THE UP: Jack Monster

Hooked on the smooth sounds and rhymes of Mr OVO, Supermega and co from the age of 11, Tshelang Moroka was inspired to one day produce music that resonates with the people.

12 years later and the singer/songwriter is doing just that, performing on big stages and making even bigger waves with his diverse brand of music.

Going under the name Jack Monster, the Gaborone-based Palapye native looks destined for the very top…

Tell us about Jack Monster and his music?

I like to define myself as an artist because I’m not usually confined to one genre.

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I can range from Boom Bap to R&B, all the way to Amapiano and even Afro beats.

I don’t just make music but I create art, no matter what form of music it may be in of course.

Growing up, which artists did you listen to?

I grew up listening to AKA (MHSRIP), Veezo View, ATI and Fxded Gxng just to mention a few.

However, I truly draw my inspiration and some parts of my style whether I’m rapping or singing from Drake.

That kind of influence led me to take up music from the age of 11 and I’ve been on it ever since.

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Your biggest gig to date?

‘Before Now Tour’ by Chill Step Sundays, sharing a stage with the likes of Blackie and Tshego.

Do you write your own songs?

The beautiful part about being me is that every song I’ve ever laid down or released is a song I wrote myself.

And where does the inspiration come from?

I love writing about how I feel or whatever situation I have going on in my life so I’d say that experience is one of my biggest inspirations.

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Talking of experiences, what was your worst musical project and why?

We take time to perfect the craft so I don’t believe I have ever had a bad song or a bad project.

Fair enough – how about your best musical project then?

A project I consider as my best will have to be my most recent album ‘Made of Gold’.

I spent over two years on it, working with the likes of Abitola, Shaba Stele, Teddy West, Obvado and Lincoln Acrux trying to put it together.

Even though the process was heavy and very challenging, I currently consider this my best project because of the experience, the sound and the songwriting which I count as very different from any other artist in Botswana.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Prayer is the most vital part in my journey as an artist.

I pray before I make any appearance at any show because I need God to protect me and let me do what I do to the fullest.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a musician in Botswana?

Thinking music is going to feed our families!

Fact of the matter is music is just a hobby, we do it because we love it not because we’re going to set up empires off of it or even feed generations to come.

Botswana is not set up like that as compared to countries like South Africa, where music is considered a business even by the government.

Any tips for aspiring musicians?

Life is too short to be living it on another person’s terms.

Once you feel like it’s time to spread your wings then do just that; all that is for you will follow.

Powerful stuff! So what’s the best advice you’ve received as an artist?

‘Don’t follow dreams, follow a plan. You dream when you sleep, you wake up and you follow the plan.’

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What this means is, execute plans because dreams will always remain as dreams unless you do something about it.

And the worst?

The worst advice I have ever been given was ‘Don’t take advice’.

That one rocked me because ignorance really isn’t bliss in all honesty!

If you could play any venue in the world, what would it be?

I guess it would have to be doing a One Man Show at The Madison Square Garden [New York] because all the greatest musicians in the world have done it and I plan to go down as one of the greatest too.

Five things people don’t know about you?

1. I can’t swim to save my life. If I was thrown in the ocean I’d instantly give up
2. I do not like crowded places, peaks my anxiety
3. I really enjoy gardening and just spending time tending to the yard, gives me peace
4. My favorite thing to do in this life is to spend time with Luna [female bestie]
5. I don’t like broccoli

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