By Natia Mokgalaka
Award-winning Afro-pop singer, Ntsikwane Raphesu, is looking forward to the release of her third album titled “Lesedi: Songs of healing”.
The album, which the multi-talented artist says will be the climax of work she has been doing during the last three years, is tentatively set for release before the end of this year.
“The album will be a collection of songs I have recorded in the past three years, during a time in my life which I call a spiritual awakening, where a lot of music I wrote was therapeutic to me, and I hope it will be therapeutic to other people,” says the Limpopo-based singer, actress, composer and guitarist, famed for performing from the boot of her car.
“The ‘Car boot unplugged’ is a session I came up with out of necessity. I’m based in Polokwane, where there aren’t a lot of live performance venues. I used what I had. I would use my car, speaker, and my guitar. I sat in the boot of my car and poured my soul into my music,” said Raphesu, who won the Best Afro-pop artist award.
The artist, a lover of nature and books, said she drew the encouragement of performing from the boot of her car from people who enjoyed her performance at local parks.
Ntsikwane, originally from Solomondale, a small township outside Polokwane, cut her first teeth in music in 2007, when she released her first album, “Wonderful”, which she followed up with “Soul Experiment”.
Music was genetically passed on to her from her father, a self-taught pianist and a singer who however, did not pursue a professional career in music, but still happily supported his daughter’s journey in the industry.
Her father’s talent and support meant that Raphesu did not have to look further than her own family for inspiration, as she took a journey that detoured from drama, which she studied at the University of Pretoria.
In 2008/09, she took part in an industrial theatre piece produced by B Corporate Company. She was hired to be the main voice to record the theme songs for the drama, as the production needed an actress who could also sing. She felt it a great honor to be part of that production, which eventually gave her the confidence to churn out her debut offering.
Zakhele Mabena, a producer and sound engineer who worked with Ntsiki for over 14 years, said she always has “that smile” and sense of humour which brought “good aura” to the room. He added that, a driven team player and perfectionist who would redo a song and fix whatever little detail to her satisfaction, she always brought in a positive working environment to the band through poking laughter and fun.
“The best advice I could give to the people who would like to follow in my footsteps is that they should not do it for fame. If you get into music just to get followers, you will have a hard time,” added the singer. “Being an artist is a whole different sphere. You draw your inspiration from a deeper place. It is something that comes from deep within you.”
Raphesu said although she still values her performance roots, she had metamorphosed from a car boot unplugged session performer to one who holds live performances at local parks and other big event venues.