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The 7 Biggest SA Female Artists of 2019

The gorls snapped.

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As we continue to shine the spotlight on the excellence of women during Women’s Month,  QuenchSA celebrates 7 South African female artists who are smashing down doors and elevating the local creative industry in dope and transformative ways that push forward the business and culture.

NADIA NAKAI

Photo Credit: Nadia Nakai via Instagram

“I’m probably the hardest working rapper in South Africa”, Nakai told QuenchSA exclusively in our July interview, in which she also distilled the journey that shaped the genesis, engineering and perfecting of her long awaited debut album, Nadia Naked.

It’s an album that forced fans to master patience. After eons of  mounting anticipation,  she delivered a solid project that was able to satiate appetites built through her impressive catalogue of catchy street bops that include Money Back and Naaa Meeaan. 

2019 has turned out to be the year of Nadia Nakai, and it’s really reflective of the fullness of God’s timing.

Not only did she finally debut this album, she was also recently unveiled as the newest ambassador for global sportswear brand, Reebok. It’s as if she’s building a connecting career in the retail business, where she’s already seen successes with her own range, BRAGGA, currently sold at Sportscene.

There’s lots more, as far as big career milestones are concerned, that we can detail here. But Nadia Nakai has already expressed that nothing will top the release of Nadia Naked. It was an incredibly personal journey for her. “Some artists just put songs together and say it’s an album”, she said, shading the prevalence of mediocrity in passing, with no malicious motives. “It ripped me apart and put me back together.” Read the full interview here.

 

LADY ZAMAR 

A Sharp Shooter! Photo Credit: Lady Zamar via Instagram

She gave us the biggest digital single of 2018, Collide. It’s an anthem that lavished the most soulful aspects of our tastes, daring us to take the mellow with the upbeat.

And such is the work of art that is Lazy Zamar, whose consistency on the charts since her debut is truly something to marvel at in the age of fleeting blow ups and flatlines. Her multi-platinum selling debut solo studio album, aptly entitled King Zamar, produced a slew of chart topping bangers, all with the distinction of being authentic love songs luxuriating dance instrumentals that fill dance floors all over the country.

Mind you, for all the meteoric success of that album, she was actually building on a killer catalogue, which boasts collaborative projects with Junior Taurus and Prince Kaybee, a rich discography that boasts such hits as Charlotte, Mamelodi, Cotton Candy and other certified smashes.

Proving that she’s not here to fumble the bag, the good sis in July premiered her sophomore album, Monarch.

The critically lauded project is a stunning showcase of Zamar’s beautiful artistry. She’s a talented songwriter, powerhouse vocalist and has a stage a presence to match it all. We see a Queen who is here to collect the credentials for the way to the throne. We stan a musical Khaleesi. Dracarys!

SHO MADJOZI 

Photo Credit: Supplied

What Sho Madjozi represents is so much more than just the individual narrative, aesthetic and stylings of an individual Pop star.

Her presence in the mainstream frame of Pop culture scales much higher to capture a discourse that is so much more. At the heart of it, she represents a departure from the western seductions authorising what parts of the African self we choose to reveal and celebrate.

She’s every girl from a small village in Limpopo, or any other remote part of Africa, who has no clue how she ought to navigate this fiercely heterosexist, classed and raced world in which girls like her aren’t imagined, or structurally positioned, beyond that far from the starting point. That starting point, ya’ll, is pretty much nowhere.

Sho Madjozi says to us, ‘you are enough.’

“I guess for me the my story is a testament that you can be any girl from any village, in any forgotten part of the world”, she said in the acceptance speech of her milestone BET Africa win in June this year. “You can still be superstar.”

It’s easy to know that you can be a superstar when you watch Sho Madjozi, who emerged as one of the most talked about live performers at the Global Citizen Johannesburg concert, where she set the stage ablaze merely minutes before Cassper Nyovest and Beyoncé.

It makes sense that she would ascend to disrupt the old wave to affirm a new thinking about African sounds and the images that attend to them. Real name Maya Wegerif, the Kona hitmaker grew up travelling the African continent with her father, who worked for NGOs in countries like Tanzania, Senegal and beyond.

This continent-wide upbringing inspired her Pan African creative outlook and sound.

SHEKHINAH 

Photo Credit: Shekhinah via Instagram

She’s easily one of the most country’s most gifted female vocalists. The riffs, agility, melisma and technique are unbelievable.

Having stamped her footprint in the South African music landscape with a slew of hits, including such bops as Back to The Beach and Let You Know, Shekhinah instantly became the voice of alternative pop and RnB – a genre that until the wave that brought us the likes of her and Sketchy Bongo, had always failed here.

In 2017, Suited became the definitive Pop anthem that blazed across radio stations and dance-floors nationwide.

The song solidified Shekhinah’s place as a force to be reckoned with in the local music business. It was just a start. Following the single’s commercial success, the Durbanite released her debut album, the critically lauded Rose Gold. The 12 track album spawned such hits as Please Mr and the beautifully lush collaborative RnB summer toon, Different, with Jamali’s Mariechan.

SIMMY

Photo Credit: Simmy via Instagram

Our first encounter with Simmy was on Sun El-Musician’s Ntaba Ezikude. Her distinct smooth voice elevates the melodic Afro-Soul flavoured instrument delivered by Sun El-Musician on his acclaimed debut project.

The synchronicity in their work on this song is that it alone completely prepared everyone for what would come next; a SAMA award nominated masterpiece album from Simmy.

For an unknown artist to drop a full studio album is not a formula most labels endorse these days. You are expected to spend near a damn decade winning over the loyalties of your audiences before the ground can be declared fertile for an album.

Simmy’s Tugela Fairy completed defied these conventions and emerged as a surprise fire project in 2018, instantly making her a household name. The album has since spawned a number of hits, including the catchy Mahlalela.

What we find to be so significant about Simmy, in addition to the commercial success she’s had with her debut album, is that she’s found just the perfect blend of Pop and influences from traditional afro-soul. There’s parts of the album that easily remind one of iconic Maskandi girl groups, such as Izingane Zoma.

MOONCHILD SANELLY

Photo Credit: Moonchild Sanelly via Instagram. Photo by Pixel Collective

There’s not a lot of people who are aware that Moonchild Sanelly has been putting in the graft much longer than her recent explosion of back to back dance anthems. And when we say anthems, we means ones that include a song Beyoncé selected for one of her promos.

Because everything she touches has been turning gold for the last three years – so much so that a lot of people may work from the notion that she kinda popped out of nowhere and dominated the charts for three years straight, a lack of awareness of her work preceding her current commercial success doesn’t do justice to how hard Moonchild has actually worked to get to this point.

Moonchild Sanelly, whose debut album, Rabulapha!,  has been the delight of the alternative techno and eletro scene since 2015, is certainly no overnight success.

To the this audience, she’s kind of epitomised this alternative energy, where she defiantly introduced African melodies and attitudes to the acidic worlds of techno, electro and EDM.

Her rise to the top has been steady, but so very well deserved. Moonchild Sanelly is refreshing in her rebellious approach to making music.

A black girl could always thrive in electric pop, and she demanded those very soundscapes to be elastic enough to celebrate the melodic trotting of a Xhosa girl who’s unafraid to expand the linguistic framework of the space.

In 2019, her biggest dream yet came true – working with Beyoncé. Months after performing at Coachella, Moonchild Sanelly laid down catchy vocals on the the chorus of My Power, one of the songs that appear on the soundtrack of Lion King: The Gift, an album curated by Beyoncé and a bevy of the world’s most sough after producers.

It’s all earned. Way before she unleashed such chart scorchers as Walk Ye Phara, Makhe and Midnight Starring, Moonchild was already that girl.

BUSISWA

One thing Busiswa does well more than anything else is being Busiswa. The authentic approach she has to music allows her to grow, evolve, start a family, return back to the stage, and rock even more fiercely, with the same frequency and energy, because she draws the inspiration from the same source – herself.

Shooting to fame on DJ Zinhle’s My Name Is, Busiswa became an instant fan favourite thanks to her high energy, big stage presence and catchy hooks. But it’s the follow up that really defined her and set her apart in ways that continue having ripple effects to her wave. Her debut single Ngoku was that gorl. Being her breakout solo single, the song placed her at the epicentre of SA Pop culture.

Sustaining the momentum and adding on it to become the girl Beyoncé handpicked to appear on the soundtrack for The Lion King, Busiswa earned her stripes through the consistent dishing out of blockbuster smash chart toppers, an insane catalogue of #1s that includes Midnight Starring and Banomoya (although my personal favourite is the less hyped Ngqondo, which I think showcases the Afro Pop Queen she’s really equipped to be).

In 2017, Busiswa premiered Highly Flavoured, a 13 track project that delivered a seamless play of groovy dance tunes.

More than the albums, we can’t help but love Busiswa’s kick ass stage presence.

Who’s your favourite South African female artist? Join the Conversation By Leaving Your Comment In The Comments Section Below, on Twitter and Facebook

 

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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