We know her from collaborations she has had with many top South African rappers and her soulful voice. Nothende took some time off her busy schedule to have a chat with us.
It's been a while since we've heard a full album project from you, are you working on an album at the moment?
Yes. I am working on a project. have been working on it for sometime now. I have taken my time with it and have also been creating other things in my life. I have a mentorship and development programme called Heart 2 Art. I run an entertainment company called 147 Entertainment, and I make my own body and hair care range called Yum.Me. So I have been busy, but the music has always part of it all. So yes, a new Nothende experience is on its way.
When it comes to songwriting, how often do you write songs and does it come easily to you?
There is always a melody playing in my head. Always. I hear music in conversations, I hear tone and pitch, and all these musical wonders, in everyday life. So I am constantly creating. The words don't always come easy because sometimes a melody does not need them. I do also have the occassional writer's block, and I sometimes can be a bit of a perfectionist, so I may find myself starting a song over and over again until I feel I have the right vibe. It's all part of the creative process and journey, I guess.
A couple of years ago you used to collaborate with a lot of rappers like Proverb, Amushin etc. From this generation of new school rappers, which rapper would you love to collaborate with and why?
Maaaan! I have done so many collaborations. My vision on collaborations right now, is on the international spaces. I think I am deserving of that growth. But if I had to collaborate locally, I don't think I can mention names, but I think he/she would be someone from Pretoria. There's a refreshing vibe about that city. From Hip Hop, to dance music, to Jazz...I've been hearing good things come out of Tshwane.
One of our favorite tracks that features you is "Color of You" by Kabamo. Tell us the story behind that collaboration between the two of you and if you were the one that wrote the chorus or was it Kabomo?
We recorded that song in 2010, with producer Omar Retnu El from Washington DC. I was initially meant to just assist in writing and not sing. But after going through a few beats and juggling a few ideas, we eventually found our way to the beat of Color Of You, it felt natural for me to then also sing in the song, and so we discussed the concept and direction, I wrote my parts, Kabomo wrote his and the rest is history.
What is the most misperceived perceptions about the music industry according to you and how do you think this perception can be changed?
Good question. There are many misconceptions about the music industry, about artist, about music. Firstly, creation itself is a lot of work. Writing, arranging, producing, all of that is work which takes up a lot of time, energy and money. Especially if there is particular care for the sound, the story/concept and overall artistic direction of the music. So many people are not aware just how much work actually gets put in when creating music, and just how expensive music is. Artists don't really share these processes. Most media don't take much interest in it, and the public generally just take in and believe whatever the artist and media put out there. This has adverse effects on many societal factors, though it is not a common conversation in these streets. I don't have all the answers, but I think we should have music in our education system and curriculum. This might bring about a new and different respect and understandign for the craft. Who knows what else could come from it.
You come across as a very spiritually connected individual who is not interested in the tricks of the industry, how do you protect yourself from all of the drama and games that come with working in the music industry?
Do you know what I have learnt? People are people. Everywhere you go, there are sincere people, there are greedy people, and there are corrupt people, all kinds of people. The same type of people found in your work-space, in fashion, in government, in social circles, those same energies are present in the music industry. I don't focus on 'avoiding' them, because I cannot. But I just focused on my vision. There are challenges, yes. And some of the systems and perceptions make it extra hard, but the vision is clear and strong, so I just keep my faith in it, no matter how much 'evil' I get confronted with. I work hard on the vision and don't allow myself to get too caught up in the hype of things.
From all the artists that have passed on, which two artist would you have loved to work with locally or internationally and why?
Michael Jackson, I would have loved to do an acoustic or ballad...or even acapella with him. Lebo Mathosa too. I would have enjoyed a dance-hall collaboration, which would have us doing a dance piece together.
Image Credit: Instagram/Nothende