Curated by Xolisile Khumalo
Photography by Je Todd
"We’ve been through and continue to face a lot. I want to create a safe, healing corner in my music for us to enjoy and celebrate all this beauty of Botswana and Africa in our veins."
- Mpho Sebina
After serving us with an ethereal version of the legendary Brenda Fassie’s Too Late For Mama, singer and songwriter Mpho Sebina is ushering us into this new season with hopes of her music being the portal for collective healing.
In terms of music genres, one could describe your music as Pan African but how would you personally describe it?
I describe my music as soul fusion. At the core of it is Soul fused with various elements from traditional Setswana sounds, Afrobeats, to RnB, Neo and of late a little Amapiano. Someone once deemed my sound “ethereal soul” and I love the sound of that.
Before you made a name for yourself, who would you say was a huge influence on the kind of musician that you imagined yourself to be?
Definitely Bob Marley, Sade and Brenda Fassie. My musical influences range from the West to the South. I grew up in Botswana, so I've been exposed to some incredible African Artists from Salif Keita, Charma Gal to Naeto C but at the same time influenced by mainstream musicians like Beyoncé, Erykah Badu etc.
Born and raised in Botswana, Mpho’s exposure to artists such as Boom Shaka, Brenda Fassie, Sade and the likes, refined her music taste and gave birth to her own passion to create music that is rooted in the same richness. Black Butterfly, her first single, explores freedom and self-discovery, which, when viewed through the lens of her musical influences, aligns with the energy of most of the artists that inspire her.
Mpho has an eye for detailing in how she visually presents her music to her audience. Her minimalistic visuals provide scenic, inspiring visuals that invite audiences to reflect both on the visuals themselves and on the message around her music.
As part of her California trip, we had the chance to catch up with Mpho Sebina and talk about what she is working on, her creative process, and what musical legacy she wants to leave behind.
What is your intention with your music and songs? Especially the ones that you release to the public.
Collective Healing is at the core of the music that I make, especially for Africans and the Diaspora. We’ve been through and continue to face a lot. I want to create a safe, healing corner in my music for us to enjoy and celebrate all this beauty of Botswana and Africa in our veins.
Are there any upcoming projects that we should look forward to?
I am working on releasing my first heartbreak anthem in Setswana this year, which I am very excited about. The song is produced by Kingsley Okorie, one half of the amazing Nigerian duo The Cavemen. Also working on an EP that will feature as many Female Vocalists, mainly from Africa and the Diaspora.
I'm in a very experimental phase in my music as I felt I kept myself in a box before., COVID-19 helped me realize that life is fickle, and I only have this one (I think), so I'm going to explore the shit out of everything, music included!
In terms of the creative coordination of your music, how much is up to you and how much is up to your team? Or is there a perfect balance between the two?
I wish I had a team! Outside of my manager and publishers, I’m currently unsigned and record what I want to when I want to. I am enjoying the freedom, but I am open to working with music executives. Going into the studio is always a collaborative effort between artist and producer/composure. A great balance between them with the music and me with the lyrics and melodies.
How would you like your music legacy to be remembered?
As a pioneer in sharing Botswana Music Artistry with the whole world.
Which are your top five favorite songs that you've wrote or song?
Let the beat hit 'em with a familiar feeling - ( a cover )
Connect with Mpho Sebina