The many things that make Moneoa ‘a special Rose’

Homegrown muso, Moneoa returns to the music fold with a new single that’s currently banging on the airwaves. Of course, we’re super excited! The new song, ‘Ziph’ Inkomo [Remake]’ is a remake of the same title track from her second studio album, Ndim Lo. It marks the first single to come from her highly anticipated upcoming album. This version is rather slow with a more spiritual and soulful melody in comparison to the original. Moneoa decided to give it another go because she “felt like this song didn’t really get a fair chance to blow up.” She tells us this song was written during a certain experience that she was going through at the time. “I feel like another purpose for being in that situation was for me to write this song,” she added.

The muso established herself not only as a force in the music scene but also as an actress. Having featured in one of the biggest telenovelas in Mzansi, The Road and Rhythm City. She also became the first woman choirmaster to make it to the top three in the musical competition, Clash of The Choirs.

She may have taken a little break but her return to the screen and the mic means we’re in for an incredible treat. We had a telephonic chat with the downtown Berea Durban-bred artist, about her music, acting career and everything in-between.

What are your expectations from the reaction to this song?

Honestly speaking, I have no idea what to expect, I can only hope that they receive it the same way that I produced it and shared it. That is essentially with love because I wrote it with love.

This is obviously a sign that your album is dropping soon, right?

Definitely, I’m currently in production right now as I speak to you, working on the second single. I will be releasing it in a week or two. I just want to give ‘Ziph’ Inkomo [Remake]’ some time to get a lot of traction before I release anything else. And I want to release at least three singles before I drop the album.

When can we expect it to drop?

The album should be dropping end-May or mid-June.

In June last year, we had a chat with Reason about his Girls EP, and we were telling him about our obsession with the song that you did together, “The Blues”. How was it like for you working on that song?

What’s crazy is, I wrote this song initially for another female rapper about three years ago. I ran the song past her and she liked it but she wasn’t completely blown away by it. The concept was really just “girl power”, to be like “I don’t want to hurt you so, let me back up” instead of it being guys, who are always putting us [women] in vulnerable positions. [a narrative that’s only been socially acceptable if lead by guys] Reason heard it and he was like “hey hold up, what’s that?” and he wanted to do it. He released it and it worked so well.

You’re a great vocalist and your sound is an all-rounder of Afro-pop, Soul, Kwaito, and R&B, from which local artists did you draw influence from? 

Wow, there are so many. First of all, the person who exposed me to music is my mother, everything I know musically is because of her. Because she made me listen to everybody. From Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Dorothy Masuku, Bheki Mseleku, Thandiswa Mazwai and in my later years, Boom Shaka, Spikiri, Trompies, DJ Fresh, Oskido, DJ Mbuso and so many more.

You were a choirmaster on Clash of The Choirs season 2. Tell us about that experience?

That was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, Clash of The Choirs was so rewarding, I got to showcase my musicality and it took me straight to the top three. I was the first female choirmaster to reach the top three and also the young one in Clash of The Choirs internationally. So, it was such an honour to share that  with the late Robbie Malinga and Shugasmax. Having to express myself through a choir was incredible. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. Also what I love about Clash of The Choirs is that is so versatile in terms of the music genre, you get to do Maskandi with Adele through a choir nogal, that was so much fun. It was honestly a dream to me.

What’s keeping you inspired all these years?

It’s God. It’s always been about God. I will be honest, there was a point in which I wasn’t as invested in my relationship with God as I heard been during the initial phase of my career, I believe that I did let the fame get to me a bit and I hit a low point but I came back again. It was very quick realisation too. The minute I revolve my life around Him, everything falls into place.

Would you say that’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned so far?

Yes, when God is not involved in something, it’s bound to fail. Anything that doesn’t involve God isn’t for me, I’ve learned that.

Would you then say you’re now getting some recognition for the work that you put in?

It’s too early to tell right now. But in terms of the satisfaction and liberation that I feel in my heart and soul about where I am in my career and in my life, the type of music that I’m putting out, am I hundred percent confident about it? Yes, completely content. For the first time in my life with everything.

Let’s move on to acting. Tell us about your role on The Road.

The Road has to be one of the best telenovelas, in fact, the only telenovela I’ve ever been in, what am I saying? It was an absolute pleasure. What I love about it again, is that it’s a musical telenovela, it’s about the 60’s intertwined with the modern-day skit. It’s so great to work on productions that endorse good music. First of all let’s start with the cast, oh my gosh! My fav actors and actresses were there, including international ones. South African talent is so intense It’s not recognised because it’s got nothing to do with western culture. But I got to work with such talented people, Gail and Kabelo Mabalane, Neo Ntlatleng, Tsholo Maseko, Sk Khoza and so so many people. And then the clothing, the wardrobe, the 60s feel girl. It was so much fun interpreting the 60s culture and was exciting to know how people did things back then. The script, the writing, I learned a lot from that. I’m a writer, a songwriter as well so I took so much in my strides from that.

You’re niece to the legendary Ausi Nthati Moshesh, what knowledge did she impart to you?

My aunt always told me to let myself go. She’d say to me: “don’t hold back when it comes to interpreting characters. Try to understand the characters that you’re playing. Try to make them relatable to you no matter how unrelatable they’re. Break them down and take them into your strides” and that has helped me a lot because I am a very private person. As much as ng’yaphapha but around people, I tend to be very reserved. I’m afraid to do too much. She’s given me industry advice, she’s a great actress, and human being in general and I love her. But what stood out for me was her teaching me to be always true to myself. She always told me to be extra careful with my energy and my talent. Learn to say no and know when to say no. She said: “If you’re a talented person, you’ll always have an opportunity.”


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