Meet Nani, the statuesque beauty from the Eastern Cape who describes her soulful music as a fusion of afro jazz, folk music and RnB.
It seems most quality musicians grow up in musical families and it’s no different for this Bisho lass who remembers watching her grandparents belting out church hymns at a farm in KwaGubevu and admiring her uncles’ talents as well-respected choir conductors.
She moved to Johannesburg to study Music and Performance at AFDA, 3 years later she’s ready to release her 11 track debut album which has been worked on by industry leaders including award winning engineer/producer Mark Montgomery.
We caught up with the lovely lady to get the scoop on her before she hits the big time, an inevitable fate.
MIJ: So Nani, how would you describe yourself?
Nani: I’m a very reserved person; I keep to myself a lot observing instead of engaging. Some people see this as a “stand offish” trait. I was called a snob a lot in my high school years, LoL. But it’s something I’m grateful for as an artist. The skill of observing is one that helps me a lot when it comes to the creative side of things, be it with writing or composing melodies.
MIJ: When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Nani: Just after I matriculated I enrolled at AFDA to study performing arts majoring in music. Although music had always been a part of my life it was only in the second semester of my first year at AFDA that I saw myself making a career off my passion for music.
MIJ: Do you write your own music?
Nani: Yes – I write, compose and arrange the whole shebang. I’ve actually conceptualised each & every aspect of my upcoming project, from the music to the visual side of things. I think the ability to be hands on with the creative processes as an artiste is one of the greatest things one could ever do for their careers. Hence I always emphasise the importance of learning/getting training in whatever craft one is in.
MIJ: What do you have to offer as a musician that doesn’t currently exist in the industry?
Nani: My truth, I think that’s what really sets me apart. There are also not that many artists, especially female that have recorded and packaged an album on their own without assistance from the big majors. I think the industry needs more assertive musicians, especially in the genre I’m in.
MIJ: What is the ultimate goal for your career?
Nani: To tour the world, that would make all the hardships so worth it. I also would love to reach a level of success where I’m able to help young artists reach their full potential through mentorship as well as opening an artist management & recording company.
MIJ: Tomorrow morning you can have breakfast with 3 of your favourite artists, who are they and why?
Nani: Sade – I think she is so elegant and I love that she is just about the music and not the hype. Erykah Badu – I love the poetry in her music and Simphiwe Dana – so she can sing Nkwenkwezi for me personally. It is one of my favourite songs.
MIJ: The South African music industry is difficult to break into, how do you plan on becoming relevant and staying that way?
Nani: Through constantly challenging and reinventing myself artistically. I think one of the biggest mistakes artists make is becoming too comfortable. I’m committed to always being open to new ideas, new sounds and forms of creativity and I believe that is something that will keep me relevant for a long time.
MIJ: When you make it big, what are you looking forward to the most? (i.e: money, fame, power, groupies?)
Nani: The power & money (in that order)
We wish Nani all the best for her debut album, Ilitha Lelanga. Look out for her first single, Nomalanga on a TV screen near you. We hope to hear a lot more from her.
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