In the world of Amapiano, which is a globally recognised and celebrated genre, Kamo Mphela is as iconic as it gets. The talented artist boasts a complete arsenal in dancing, singing and costume design and this has led her to being at the forefront of Amapiano.
We had the privilege of sitting down with the groundbreaker for a Q&A to talk about her role as a mentor for Stimrol’s FlowLab this year, some of the challenges she faced in becoming an established artist, misconceptions around the industry and more.
When did you first realize that you can pursue music as a career?
I have always loved music and always knew that music was a big part of my life and a passion of mine. I have danced since I was a little girl and as I got older, I started making music on the side as sort of like a hobby however back then I never really saw myself doing it full-time and making a living from it. It wasn’t until 2019 when I got my first big opportunity in the music industry that I realized that I could really pursue music and dance as a full-time career and make a living doing it.
What were some of the challenges you faced in getting your foot in the door?
I would say my biggest challenge was finding the right management team who had my best interests in mind and had my back and would really help to build my career. It was not easy to find people who I really felt like I could trust in this very fickle industry. Believing in myself was also a challenge that I faced because there were times particularly at the beginning of my career when I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it and didn’t think that people would enjoy my music or support me.
What are the biggest misconceptions around being an artist and the music industry as a whole?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about being and artist and the music industry is that it is easy to get to the top and to stay at the top. No one realizes the huge amount of work behind the scenes that goes into getting your career off the ground. When you get your first big hit and gain popularity people tend to think that those kinds of things happen overnight but they don’t realize that that popularity could be years in the making and years of grinding and hustling trying to make it. Not to mention having one or two big hits does not guarantee longevity. It is not easy to stay relevant in this industry and so you must work very hard to stay at the top.
I have always loved music and always knew that music was a big part of my life and a passion of mine.
What sort of mentality does it take to become a recording artist?
Being determined to succeed at all costs. You cannot for one second allow imposter syndrome or thoughts of wanting to quit to enter your mind. It can be quite draining and it’s not easy to make it and there will be many days where you want to quit because things are not moving fast enough or the way that you want them to but you can never give up. You need to convince yourself that you will win and that you will make it no matter what.
How important were mentors in your career?
Mentors have been very important in my career because they have guided me and steered me in the right direction and they have helped me to make the right decisions. They have really helped me to get my career off the ground and they have given me great advice on how to make it and have a long and successful career.
there will be many days where you want to quit because things are not moving fast enough
How can artists be equipped with the tools to have a successful career?
Firstly, I would say that they need to have the right team behind them, a team that they can trust and has their back. Secondly, they need to be knowledgeable about what they are doing and what they are trying to achieve. Don’t just go into things blindly, do your research and make sure you know what you are doing.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about being and artist and the music industry is that it is easy to get to the top and to stay at the top.
What would an opportunity like Stimorol FlowLab mean to you during your come-up?
It would have been great to have it because it would have meant meeting my favourite artists and meeting the right people in the industry who would help me with my come-up and help me to get my career off the ground.
How did your relationship with Stimorol form and how has it developed up to this point?
I began forming a relationship with Stimorol back in 2020. I was working on a campaign and the Stimorol team happened to notice me through this campaign. They contacted me via email and basically the rest is history. We have been working together even since and our relationship has grown quite well.
What do you look forward to in being a Stimorol FlowLab Mentor and what traits are you looking for in mentees?
I’m really looking forward to help open doors and shape your artists careers. This country is so full of talent and the South African music industry is so vast that there really is room for everyone here so I’m really looking forward to help bring in the next wave of talent and great music. The kind of traits that I am looking for in mentees are people who are go getters. People who are not afraid to go after what they want. Talent alone is not enough; we need people who are confident in themselves and their abilities and who are willing to put in the blood sweat and tears to make it. We need strong willed and strong-minded people who won’t run or quit at the first sign of difficulty.
What piece of advice have you given the mentees?
Some advice I would give the mentees is that they should be open to new experiences and to completely get out of their comfort zones. They should not box themselves as one thing otherwise they won’t grow. The must always be willing to change and evolve and move with the times and the industry. Be versatile and flexible. The best artists never do only one thing or only one genre, they dabble in a bit of everything. That is how you stay relevant. They should also broaden their knowledge about the industry and about the kind of work they want to do. Always always do your research before you do anything and always read the fine print.