Celeb edition with Mmamonnye

Leungo Mokgwathi

With Afro Pop emerging as a favourite genre amongst upcoming artists, 31-year-old Mmamonnye dared to be different.

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Setting herself apart from the crowd, the Shoshong-born singer incorporates traditional instruments to her sound, giving her music a unique flavor.

This week we speak to the ‘Moya’ hit-maker to learn more about her distinct melodies and how she’s surviving in the music industry.

You’re relatively new to the music industry – tell us more about your journey.

I’m actually not as new as everyone thinks.

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I joined the music industry in 2018 when I released my first single ‘Tsholetsa Mosepele’, a traditional song which is actually still doing great in the market.

That’s the song which introduced me to Rural Chants Record Label, which I signed under in 2022. Thereafter, we released an Afro Pop song called ‘Moya’.

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Tell us more about your genre of music.

The music I do with Rural Chants is inspired by traditional music, we use folk instruments like stinkane and marimba to give the music a traditional signature

You say you’re inspired by traditional music, yet ‘Moya’ has a heavy pop element to it, care to explain more?

If I am being honest, I never pictured myself as an Afro Pop girl, or any modern genre for that matter.

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However, Rural Chants unearthed in me a skill I never thought I possessed.

One lesson I learnt from them is that all music is related and that there can be so many ways of projecting that raw voice into a neutral sound that suits both the traditional and new age sound.

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Tell us more about ‘Moya’ and its message.

It’s a song connecting me to my inner self, that is my spirit.

It is a simple request for my spirit to listen and connect to my words through song.

Would you say that traditional music is still relevant in today’s era?

They say culture is dynamic, therefore it doesn’t die.

So yes, I believe traditional music is still relevant in today’s era.

How difficult has it been to break into the music industry?

Breaking into the music industry has been difficult since marketing is expensive.

My advice to anyone trying to win in this game is to appreciate that no one man is an island, so create mutually beneficial alliances.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt since breaking out as a musician?

When done right, your craft will best market you and expose you to the right people.

I have also learnt that you should use every chance you get to make your name known, especially social media.

What are your hopes and dreams five years from now?

It is my biggest dream to see my music go international.

How best do you think local musicians can be supported?

The best support that local music could get is to be given priority in local radio stations, as Batswana are still not invested in the digital migration of sales, the most profit is through performances.

That being said, if our music is being consumed more we will have more demand at major events.

How do you balance your music with other obligations, such as relationships and children?

It is not easy to balance music with a relationship and children!

The best way is to make your partner understand the music lifestyle, and make the most out of the little time you have, spend it with your partner and your children.

How do you handle criticism and negative feedback?

Not everyone will love you or your music therefore you have to expect criticism and grow from it.

Any advice for those keen to follow the same career path?

Work hard, be dedicated and be patient because Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What’s the craziest dare you ever took?

I was once dared to take a shot of whiskey.

Mind you, I don’t drink.

What’s the grossest food you’ve eaten just to be polite?

I wouldn’t dare do that even if it meant being called rude.

Five things people don’t know about you?

1. I don’t drink
2. I am a football player
3. I go to church every Sunday
4. I am a mother
5. I am an entrepreneur

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