WORDS BY VHUTHUHAWE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY XAVIERREBELLION
To begin, when I first heard of MOONGA K.’s music I was completely blown away… He wasn’t your typical R&B singer who sugarcoats his lyrics or anything like that, I believe that he makes music that you can relate to because it feels so real and raw…
Known widely as MOONGA K. – a Zambian-born and Botswana-raised singer, songwriter, and activist now based in South Africa. MOONGA K. is what I consider a star made that creates music for the unapologetic and liberated… MOONGA K. is an R&B, soul, electronic and alternative artist who started making music at a tender age but you can look that up for yourselves…
I believe MOONGA K. makes music one can relate to and express themselves through. It is the kind of music you can dance to, scream & cry to… I couldn’t believe that his first body of work Free, which he released in 2017, felt so intense and thanks to our Rocking the Daisies family, I got the opportunity to sit down with the Wild Solace creator and have a sweet & short conversation about his music journey and what fans can expect from his Rocking the Daises presence. I hope you get to be blown away as much as I did while making this interview.
Growing up was there anyone who inspired you into getting into music?
I was definitely inspired by Prince, he was a very big inspiration for performing, artistry, and writing and Janelle Monáe is another inspiration of mine… I would like to say Janelle Monáe and Moses Sumney are my real birth parents. So I was very much inspired by them to figure out who I wanted to be in the music industry and Frank Ocean for sure. I started writing music because of Frank Ocean.
So, when did you start writing music?
I started creating music when I was about 8 years old, but I only really solidified my writing from the age of 14.
Your debut project (Free) dropped in 2017, how did it feel releasing such an intimate and emotional EP?
At the time I just really wanted the first project that I ever put out in the world to be really personal and at the time I was very insecure and very unsure of myself but I knew that I loved music. I didn’t really understand how… I guess how big of an opportunity it was to put music out at the time but looking back I’m really glad that was my first release because it allowed me to express myself vulnerably and own my craft in a way that is so intimate and pure.
We are all unique and we are all different and our journeys are so different from each other but we can’t do this alone…– MOONGA K.
You make music that a lot of people can relate to… How would you describe your creative process?
It’s fascinating, I just tend to write a lot about what I go through and what my friends go through and strangers that I meet because I think speaking truth to power is a very important thing and I think that’s my best skill. Writing music is writing stories that are true to people’s lives and anyone can find a way to resonate with that… Because the truth is a joy to listen and I think that is my purpose and as a writer, as a human being, as a person you should always speak the truth.
Hmm, how does your old music influence you now?
I was definitely very young and I didn’t know the reality of the world as much as I knew that I wanted to be a musician. I really didn’t know the process of getting there so looking back, I definitely l learnt and grew a lot, and matured a lot and figured out how to handle things at my big age of 26… So I’m very grateful for the experiences of doing music back when it was really a big thing in the digital sphere whereas now in 2022 streaming is becoming a booming industry.
How does it feel to be part of the Rocking the Daises come back?!
It’s really surreal and crazy because I won the daises competition in 2017 to open up the main stage and I was like 18, 19 and it was still the biggest stage up until this day that I have played in my life but I didn’t know the magnitude of it. It was really just a fun experience for me to have but going back as a fully formed artist with an incredible band with you know… I’m doing choreography, I’m doing my own visuals and set design and all of that is such a huge thing and I’m going to soak in the moment as much as I can.
It allowed me to express myself vulnerably and own my craft in a way that is so intimate and pure– MOONGA K.
What kind of experience are you going to bring to the festival?
I think the kind of experience I am going to bring is an incredible amount of joy and freedom for anyone to just express themselves and scream or shout or dance or feel in love and you know, feel happy. I feel like, again, that my purpose as a performer is to make folks come together and make them feel like they deserve to be alive because they do…
And how did you feel when you got approached by them?
I was very grateful I was really excited because I’ve been wanting to play again for the last 6 years. So to be able to do it now when I’m actually a full-time musician is super cool.
Are there other musicians whose qualities you admire that you would like to work with today?
Locally Zoë Modiga is my favourite artist in the entire country, I think her voice is the best voice in the entire world. I would like to work with her, write with her, and perform with her in any way. Internationally Kehlani, they’re someone I’m looking forward to Rocking the Daises so hopefully, I get to meet them and write with them any way that I can.
I think speaking truth to power is a very important thing– MOONGA K.
Last year it was shared that you got signed at peermusic UK for an exclusive global publishing deal. How has it been working with them thus far?
Its been great. peermusic has become a great big family for me. I have opportunities to write for artists in the UK and the US all over the world and I have the best support system from them as well because as much as I signed with them as a songwriter, they also believe in me as an artist and that’s an orthodox for publishers to do… To be like “yoh! We believe in you as a solo artist”. So to be able to have that love and care and kindness is really great so I’m really honoured and its been a year since I signed to them so I’m really grateful.
I think the kind of experience I am going to bring is an incredible amount of joy and freedom for anyone to just express themselves– MOONGA K.
If MOONGA K. could change one thing about the South African music industry what would it be?
The gatekeepers or the powers that be that like to keep things to themselves and don’t want to share opportunities or share platforms… We need to stop that because we are all unique and we are all different and our journeys are so different from each other but we can’t do this alone we need each other we need a whole community and we need people that control the ranges of radio or media to allow people to have access to that cause its the only way this industry is going to evolve.
What can we expect next from MOONGA K. leading up to Daisies?
The first single from my next album drops on the same day as Daises which is the day that I’m performing on the main stage so that’s my first single for my next capsule project. So I’m very excited about that… It’s a very funk futuristic song that I hope people can dance to and we’re also performing it on stage for the first time so yeah I’m excited about that.
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