Joining us in the Hot Seat today is the beautiful South African born, UK based international Dancer Nqobilé.
Inspired by dance and the New School era of Afrobeats, Nqobilé brings a truly unique and eclectic vibe to the Afropop scene.
We had a chance to talk about her latest release ‘Look at Her’, her decision to tap into her passion for music, who’s on her playlist and much more.
SK: “Look at Her” is your first official single as an artist, at what point did you realise music was something you wanted to take seriously?
NQ: YES! Omg I still can’t believe my 1st single is actually out, finally. It’s all exciting. 2014 is actually when I proper made the decision to tap back into my other passion : MUSIC. After I wrapped up the CEO Dancers North America tour I got into the studio and started playing around with sounds.
SK: Talk us through the song, what is the message behind it?
NQ: With Look At Her I was in such a good space in life and was surrounded by great energy in the studio. When it came to creating and executing the song, I wanted to create a sexy, ballsy, feel good song. Essentially a feel good anthem highlighting and celebrating THE FEMALE. As much as it’s a easygoing dance song, it has under ones of female empowerment which I’m all about.
SK: How has your culture and surroundings shaped your sound and creativity, and in what way(s)?
NQ: Being Southern African I’m super in touch with my culture in every way. From the music I listen to, the food, language, fashion and dance. When I started embracing my culture a lot more I feel it opened a lot more unique doors for me, from literally me being myself. Everything about my culture is inspiring. And then having been in the Afrobeats industry for over 8 years I’m very influenced by the West African culture as well. I mix both cultures in music and performance for sure.
SK: How have you managed to transition from the dance space to the music scene?
NQ: It’s actually been an organic transition for me. I feel music and dance go hand in hand. In my music you can hear and feel that dance energy, so I’ve made sure those two remain well connected and that way I also remain true to myself as an all round performer.
SK: How do you think women can support each other more in our industry?
NQ: I’d love to see more women dominating spaces, being respected and celebrated equally. Not just the women on the forefront either, I’m also talking about the women behind the scenes that make things happen but aren’t celebrated enough. It’s no secret that behind every successful artist/performer especially in my industry there’s an amazing talented woman connecting the dots, making it all happen. This needs to be highlighted more.
SK: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
NQ: Production wise Diplo and Pharrell Williams are a dream. DJ Maphorisa is super amazing as well, that collab would definitely be for the culture. There are so many amazing artists I’d love to collaborate with for sure. For now I can so hear a #LAH Remix with myself, Zlatan, Sho Madjozi and an East African artist produced by DJ Maphorisa. Oh gosh, I can so hear it. The dancefloor deserves that remix. Haha.
SK: What other genres of music asides pop do you think you would be willing to explore?
NQ: I’m not really tied down to a particular genre. I’ve been developing and perfecting my own sound and I’m definitely now confident with that infusing elements of my Southern African background, dance culture and a bit of the Vogue Ball dance scene as well. I’d love to play around with the Latin or Brazilian Funk sound actually. I find that genre super sexy and energetic.
SK: What top 5 African artists are on your playlist currently?
NQ: Busiswa, Adekunle Gold, Kabza De Small, Prince Kaygee and DJ Maphorisa.
SK: What’s next for you?
NQ: I’m super excited to release MORE MUSIC. I’m definitely looking at a feel good EP.
Be sure to stream and listen to ‘Look At Her’ from Nqobilé on all digital platforms here.
Follow Nqobilé on her social media pages for all news and music updates (@nqobile_danseur)
In Conversation with Mamy Dope
Following his latest release “Misfits” Mamy Dope continues to bring flow, versatility and word play to the game, we caught up with South London-born, Sierra Leonian rapper Mamy Dope.
Born Alahji Wurie, the UK rapper specialises in rap, afro swing and trap music and his know for his unique sound and distinctive hooks. Check out our chat as we get to know Mamy Dope.
SK: Who is Mamy Dope?
MD: I am a young unique rapper from South London with an African heritage (Sierra Leone).
From jumpy music to smooth vibes, my music brings vibrant energy to everything I release.
I am all about distinctive hooks and catchy flows, which will have you wanting to get up and bop to my bangers.
SK: If you could explain your music in 3 words, what would they be?
MD: My music in 3 words…I would say it’s Eclectic, Vibes and I guess Dope.
SK: How did you get started as a Grime artist?
MD: As a kid, I grew up with my older cousin and I was always around his friends. They were all into music, so I would always follow them to studio sessions and watch them perform on stage. I would always observe how they would write lyrics, produce beats and imitate their flow.
I have also lost a lot of friends along the way, so the best way for me to grieve is to put it in my music. This drove me to record and release music. I write from my heart and you will hear my experiences in my lyrics. It’s something you hear in Misfits.
SK: What inspired your track Misfits?
MD: I may or may not have been called a misfit growing up lol. I also used to watch the show Misfits, I personally felt like I could Identify with some of the characters and the show itself. The theme of community support, societal struggle and also sometimes feeling like an outcast (MisFit) is something I can relate to. I wanted to make sure I captured that in my video, with the orange outfits and also filming at the same place where the show itself was filmed.
SK: Does the area or place you come from influence how you make your music?
MD: Growing up in south London, grime music is part of the culture so it is easier to get involved with music. And now the rise or rappers and drill artists and even producers hail from south. Everywhere you look is an inspiration musically and I too, want to inspire people with my music.
SK: How do you feel social media has impacted your music and reach?
MD: Social media has made it easier to reach people and connect with fans and other musicians. I’m not reeallllyyy a social media person, but I know it’s the key to building a community. I do however, have a large following on snapchat so seeing loads of people respond to my stories and repost gives me confidence. I need to tackle Instagram now lol
SK: UK Artists Grime/Drill/Hip Hop are currently on your playlist?
MD: Currently, my favorite artists from the UK are Fredo, Ms Banks, Nines, Digga D, MizorMac, Tion Wayne & Headie One.
SK: What future projects and (or) collaborations are you currently working on?
MD: I am currently working on more singles to be released this year. Fingers crossed an EP next year. As for features, Double S, Omo Frenchie, GB and Mista Silva have blessed some riddims so Im looking forward for that and I hope everyone will be impressed.
First Times with Shay La Rose
We caught up with independent singer-songwriter, Shay La Rose for this week’s First Time!
The South Londoner shares her first life experiences growing up and being in the music scene.
First time I realised I wanted to be a musician, was when I went to the Destiny Fufilled tour by Destiny’s child. I was watching the women in awe and I said yes! This is what I want to do. It was an amazing show, I was blown away by their dancing, singing, style everything! I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do!
First time I had a Diva moment, I don’t really have a diva moment but when I’m on set or on stage, I can be a bit ‘diva-ish’ because I want everything to be perfect, so I’m in tunnel vision, being focused.
First time I realised I was good or let’s say believed in myself, I auditioned for a label. I queued outside for ages and ages, there was so many different talented artist and I got through! I did not expect it and when they said I was really good, I was like yeah, this is it! They listened to me perform a song a wrote by myself invited me back to record, it was a great moment.
First time I got star struck, Well, I tell this story all the time, some people believe me, some people don’t lol. It is what it is, and it is the truth. It was Kanye West! In Carnaby street and I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to him, he was walking towards me and I said Kanye! And he said “what’s up baby girl” I was like huh? And I ran back to get an autograph lol. I also met David Beckham in New York he was so fine a very sexy man. I asked for a photograph, but he said no because he didn’t want anybody to know he was there lol.
First time I went viral, was last year where I did a video about nobody being above blocking. I really meant it from my heart and I think everyone could relate. It was posted everywhere! Nobody is above blocking. Because if you stress me, block! If you give me attitude, Block!
First time I fell in love, Um… do we need to talk about it lol?
The first time I thought I fell In love was college, but I now know that it wasn’t love lol.
I think it was 3-4 years ago, but that was real stupid love. but it’s good to fall out of love I guess.
First time I performed in front of a live audience, was assemblies and talent shows in school. I made sure that all my friends came up on stage and danced with me!
Check out Shay La Rose latest hit ‘She Bad’ produced by Mikes Pro Listen Here
In Conversation with Olakira
Following the release of ‘4play’ we caught up with ‘Headies Rookie of the Year’ Olakira who took us through his latest EP and life as a musician.
Talk us through the 4Play EP.
4PlayEP is a project with four major tracks and two bonus. It’s intended to arouse my FANMILY and music lovers prior to the main event (my debut Album). The inspirations for the songs came from my travels within Africa during the lockdown, my experience with different cultures and their sounds birth the EP.
What do you feel is the best song from the EP and why?
Honestly, I love all the songs on the EP and each song appeals to me differently at different times depending on my mood and location, But “Gotchu” is personal because it’s the story of my first real heartbreak.
What drew you to the music industry?
My elder brother drew me into the industry, he initiated the journey into music when I was a little child, with basic lessons.
Then a lot of practice and experience with the local church band cemented my love for music. I evolved from playing different instruments in the church band, to choir boy and with conscious effort towards development I mastered the crafts of a true musician and the skill to produce my own music.
What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome to gain any commercial success?
The finances to promote creative contents.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Nigerian music industry?
The talent and drive is abundant in the industry, but I think the industry lacks proper structures, the government and all stakeholders need to create a mechanism that will see artistes benefit from their creative content.
Also, good quality contents must be encouraged and compensated. We must stop unhelpful hype, that will mess with our creativity. Lastly, the hostility towards independent upcoming acts in the country should stop, everyone deserves fair and equal platforms without prejudice.
How do you separate yourself from other artist?
I don’t, I think we we are all the same in many aspects.
Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
I am currently working on a new project and I hope to work with some of the amazing talents I have always admired; Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber are top on my list.
What makes your music unique?
My sound is Afropop infused with a feel of RnB and dancehall.
What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilise them?
No tree makes a forest they say, I constantly connect with my colleagues in the industry, producers and artistes alike, to work together and make magic. Connecting and rubbing minds helps in mutual development, I get to learn from them and likewise they learn from me.
Can you give us 5 tracks on your playlist right now?
Summer Time – Olakira ft Moonchild Sanelly
Essence – Wizkid ft Tems
King Sunny Ade
Hot Night – Olakira
Tell us one thing your fans may not know about you?
I’m a shy and private person.
What do you have in store for your fans in the upcoming months?
Pan African media tour, Middle-East linkup, Nigerian club tour, releasing more visuals to some of the songs on the 4PlayEP soon. And I have started working on my debut album.