Ladies of the Moment
Botswana’s music continues to grow and each generation definitely produces its greats. Two such musicians showing great potential are the new voices currently making waves in the industry – Mpho Sebina and Gaone Rantlhoiwa.
The 2 ladies, each with their own respective sounds have captured music lovers across the country and beyond these borders – thanks to the presence of the internet and social media. Their individual videos have also gotten a lot of nods. Both embodying their music styles, incorporating the homegrown elements with an international quality standard, it is no wonder they both are everyone’s favourites at the moment.
For Mpho, her decision to finally go into music was when she accepted the reality that she felt unfulfilled at her office job – she needed to pursue her dream, and take the risk. “I feared the thought of being old on my deathbed and thinking why didn’t I take that chance. At first some of my family members thought I was a little nuts, my parents on the the other hand were and still are very supportive,” she declares.
Gaone’s career started when she was discovered by rapper Melo of Magosi duo. This led to her being featured in 4 songs for Kbos’s debut album. You will remember her form K-Bos’s Jane video.“Back then I only sang choruses written for me. After being challenged by my producer, Presley “Prez Beats” Metshe, to write my own songs I spent 3 years stacking up material. I finally presented my work and was signed by Heartbeat Sounds.”
Mpho Sebina: The soulful Mpho, aged 26, says, “Ka Setswana ke Mokalaka but the way my life is set up I am from Kanye.” She has an honour degree in International Business and has made a life choice to focus on music. That will come in handy as she plans to internationalise her craft.
Mpho’s music career started 3 years ago. She spent the time experimenting with different studios, different sounds and genres – on a journey to discovered her voice, until she came to a studio where she and her voice felt at home – XLT Studios. For those who have followed her before her single, Loves Light, they know her from the soulful renditions cover songs. “The first one happened out of the blue. The band and I were on a break during rehearsals, and the drummer played the Erykah Badu instrumental on the keys and i just started singing the Boom Shaka song, Lerato , over it and it sounded great- so we decided to record it.” They shared the song on social media and people loved it. This is how they came up with the idea of musical throwback where they fused favourite African music with Western songs. From these fusions and her single you can just feel that her voice was meant for Soul music, as her smooth voice transcends you to a somewhat peace state of mind and different world.
Releasing her original music has always been on the cards as she is also a songwriter. The first single is very sentimental to her as she wrote it while still in university. Loves Light is about finding yourself in love, in God, in truth – a spiritual journey. She says her producers; Favi, BNote and Grand PA wanted to introduce Setswana elements for a true homegrown sound, hence the inclusion of Setswana traditional borankana hands clap in the song, and dancers in the video. The video concept is meant to fully immense the audience in the message.
On the current state of music industry in Botswana, she believe great strides have been put in by various musicians over the years and thus the landscape is beginning to see that change in terms of international appeal.“The quality of our music and videos is getting better, the hunger and the fire is roaring. Artists are really going for it. So I will definitely incorporate that recipe in ensuring my music appeal beyond Botswana.”
Mpho has been getting a lot of love for her music both locally and from other countries and she is beyond appreciative of that support.
For her it is reassuring and encouraging factor to have her and her team’s work appreciated.
Gaone Rantlhoiwa: The 27 years old songbird who brought us the Kopisa hit that also instilled a sense of national pride when it topped charts on a BBC radio station in the United Kingdom, was born and raised in Selibe phikwe but she is from Mathangwane. She is currently doing her final year in Computer Science at the University of Botswana.
Gaone grew up around different people who had different tastes in music so she prefers exploring various genres. She does however state that she loves using Setswana and Sekalaka. She uses the languages to show that they have the versatility to be used in different genres. “When my album finally comes out, you will notice there are songs from different genres written and sung in Setswana and Sekalaka,” she explains. Everyone’s favourite Kopisa had actually played on local radio stations including sitting on the number 1 spot on Yarona FM Top 40 before it played in the UK. However it gained greater momentum later after it topped BBC1Xtra Radio with DJ Edu on Destination Africa. This goes to show the notion that sometimes; a product that succeeds internationally will not have a problem succeeding in the home country. Many people started knowing of the song after its international recognition – a proud moment for Batswana.
It was Kaone Tsimamma (KLuv) of Yarona FM who sent the single to DJ Edu. This milestone was vastly shared on social media and got a lot of Batswana’s attention and garnered the songstress a lot of support and new fan base even outside Botswana. “The love and appreciation we got from that felt great. For the first time in years I was recognised as an artist (singer, songwriter and performer). It always feels good when your hard work is acknowledged,” she says.
With her current fame acclaimed status she plans to use it to reach out to young girls through motivational talks. She wants to address the challenges of trying to find one’s self and purpose in life.“I want to instil a spirit of focus and goal orientation in them, using my experiences to enlighten those who are still in oblivion about what is really important in life.” She says it has taken a while for her to find and embrace herself and admits at some point she was swayed by “every blowing wind”. Always trying to mould and remould herself into another person’s ideal version of herself and that was a recipe for disaster.
As she is currently studying she has not made a final decision on focusing on music full time, but plans to continue growing her craft and her fan base gradually. She has already worked with a number of Botswana artists like Tshepo Lesole, Lerofo and more, and wants to continue doing that to produce hits from Botswana. She also has aspirations to collaborate with artists like Mafikizolo, Donald, Ringo and Zahara.
Both ladies are talented, intelligent and beautiful, and they have a shared vision to pursue their dreams and share their talent with the world. Mpho intends to continue challenging herself to make great music and strive to target markets outside Botswana and collaborate with international artists. Gaone also believes in growing her brand, improving her talent and plans to take advantage of social media platforms like YouTube as that is how the world gets to know about new artists.
They promise that other singles will be coming out soon and hopefully before end of this year we will be enjoying their albums. We believe they will be just as impressive, if not better than what they have already given us (no pressure). Their singles both have incredibly shot videos of great quality in composition and delivery, we hope to see them on international music platforms like Channel O on DSTV, and who knows, maybe even nominations.
By: Lenah Kedikaetswe
Designer: Thandiwe Jogwe
Make Up: Letsema Gaefhele
Photography: One Motlhabani
Location: Aquarian Tide Hotel