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I recently caught up with South Africa’s soulful songbird Nothende to chat more about her upcoming debut album titled “Love Light”. Over the years she has spent her time harnessing her talent and gaining experience by working with artists such as Slikour, RJ Benjamin and Lira to name a few. She also has a SAMA (South African Music Award) nominee under her belt. The 26 year old singer has also performed as part of an opening act for international artists Kanye West, Tamia and India Arie.

It’s thanks to her high school teacher that made her realize that she can sing, she now does what she has always aspired to do, which is sing! As we sit down to order our drinks, she has a huge smile on her face explaining that “it’s life, it’s love and although I’m single I can still feel and embrace the love around”.

(In case you’re wondering what we ordered…Cranberry juice was the order of the day, lol).


FaraiToday: Your upcoming album, love light, who did u work with on the album?

Nothende: I worked with Tshepo who plays bass for Lira and Kabomo on vocal production.

FaraiToday: Why love light?

Nothende: Initially I wanted to call the album Echo, because I feel lyk my music has an echo effect that goes on and on. But then one morning, June the 21st 2008, I won’t forget that day. I woke up and I swear to you my heart just burst open! I was lyk omg there’s so much love around me. I was working with Kabomo and Omar, a producer from the US that day and we played around with the concept and Kabomo gave me a concept to work around and I ended up caling it “love is the colour of me. Everything that day was just about love, love, love so when I got home that day, I decided that this light of love that is shining right now in my heart, mind and life is beautiful. That’s how love light was born.

FaraiToday: How long did it take you to put the album together?

Nothende: It took about 2 years; we started working on it late 2007, early 2008. And back then we would just hooked up to record some song and as time goes by it turned into an album.

FaraiToday: What’s the first single from the album?

Nothende: It’s called “Got to go”. I chose that song as the first single because it defines the whole album better than the other songs. It encompasses the whole album.

FaraiToday: Have you done any collaborations with any other SA artists on the album?

Nothende: Yes, I worked with DJ Lulo Café, Slikour and Psyfo.

FaraiToday: If you had the chance to collaborate with any local artist who would it be?

Nothende: I’d love to collaborate with Siphokazi, I think she has a lovely voice and Thandiswa just to see what would come out of that. Ive already collaborated with so many and with the males, I’ve already collaborated with RJ Benjamin and that for me is the ultimate, he is up there.

FaraiToday: And internationally?

Nothende: (She immediately glows with excitement and says “John Legend!”) There is no doubt about it. I don’t have to think about it .

FaraiToday: You have worked with some of the best artists in South Africa and Lira being one of them. How was it to be a backing vocalist for her?

Nothende: It was cool, I think it was a really great experience because before I was a backing artist I was just working as a feature artist. But being a backing vocalist, it taught me so much, you have to listen to other, stage performance and a great deal of discipline.

FaraiToday: What do you think of her success right now, ever since breaking out of her shell?

Nothende: It’s amazing, she’s a highly spiritual being and when she puts her mind to something she works towards it knowing that it is already done. It’s amazing.

FaraiToday: Would you ever consider working with her on your solo projects?

Nothende: I definitely would maybe on the next album. Hhmmm you giving me ideas now…come to think of it, it would be great.

FaraiToday: You’ve been around in the industry for quite some time but not really that exposed. Is 2010 your year?

Nothende: Definitely, everything was so unexpected about “I wanna love you” and we didn’t expect it to be such a huge success, it’s a blessing.

FaraiToday: We heard your voice on DJ Lulo café’s latest album, “What about soul” on a track called “I wanna love you”. What inspired the song?

Nothende: I don’t like writing lyrics down…I just go! I just sort of work with my head. I wanted to make it a love song and write it in a way that it’s an R&B song but put to House beats and not just like any other House song out there and the response was amazing. 

FaraiToday: What inspired you to add those lyrics to the song?

Nothende: Love! I started thinking about…I mean I’m not in a relationship right now (now’s your chance boys, lol) so I had to imagine this person that I would give my all to.

FaraiToday: How do you go about selecting lyrics for a proposed song? Does it come naturally, are you given the freedom to bring in your own creativity to the song or does the DJ outline everything for you?

Nothende: Most of the time they just give me the freedom. They just let me here the beat and I just go with whatever that’s on my mind.

FaraiToday: The song “I wanna love you” has been nominated for a Metro FM Music award. How do you feel about that seeing as you offered the vocals to that song?

Nothende: It’s so exciting, like really. I told Lulo to prepare a speech already. I know that he’s gonna take it.

FaraiToday: And I’m sure you are preparing a dress for the awards…

Nothende: I’m actually gonna miss the awards, because I’m performing with Goapele on the same day, but Lulo will represent for the both of us.

FaraiToday: When does the album drop? And where can your fans get it?

Nothende: 30th November and the album can be found at the regular retail stores nationwide ( Musica, Look & Listen) and online.

FaraiToday: In your opinion is it worth it? Are you happy with the final product?

Nothende: It’s worth it! Like I said It took 2 years and I’ve been working on it and making sure that it’ good quality and not just “a December album” or rush job. I am proud of it.

FaraiToday: Any plans of touring the country soon?

Nothende: Oh yes! I’m actually working on a tour for early next year nation-wide, it’s more like a college/university tour with Lulo, RJ Benjamin and Amu. But it’s still like in the very early stages of planning but I’m working on that.

FaraiToday: What about international tours?

Nothende: Well first up, I’m going to Sri Lanka early next year. I’m working on going to London but that’s not finalised yet, I’m working on having a listening session in New York and we hoping that will happen soon like this December and I’m also hoping to tour the US early next year but that’s also still in progress.

FaraiToday: Tell us anything about Nothende that no one else knows…

Nothende: I am full of love, full of laughter, full of energy and full of happiness. I love feeling good and being in a good space.

FaraiToday: If you weren’t a singer what would you be?

Nothende: I’d probably be a dancer ‘cause I really love dancing. Like a serious dancer. I’d also probably be an actor but more theatre…yeah that’s it can’t think of anything else out of this industry.

FaraiToday: Who inspires your music? No one specific my music is by life…

Nothende: There’s no one specific, it could be just this random guy who hits on me and annoys me then that turn into an idea for a song.

FaraiToday: Have you always known that you were going to sing or did you have some other profession in mind?

Nothende: Yes! I knew when I started writing songs from the age of 11but before then I would just listen to songs and embrace the music but I couldn’t really attach the fact that I could sing to myself. I just loved being the listener of music.

FaraiToday: How hard was it for you to gain recognition in the SA music industry?

Nothende: It was a little hard but not that hard. I’d like to think that I was more lucky. I’ve been lucky that people always still remembered me for what I started doing and what I’m known for. But trying to get a recording deal was a mission. I wasn’t doing anything big at that time and it became a little hard to convince the big bosses.

FaraiToday: You were once nominated for a SAMA award. How was that experience for you?

Nothende: It was so unexpected. I just went to the nominations party to like show face and all of that you know? And when they announced the nominees and my name popped up, for the best composition…I was like “what”. I really didn’t expect it.

FaraiToday: If you had one wish what would it be?

Nothende: (Thinks about it for a while)I want I want to own my own island. I think there’s something spiritually beautiful about islands. I love nature but like I don’t wanna feel scared. I’d make music, raise children and just enjoy the peace I’d have there.

FaraiToday: Indoors or outdoors?

Nothende: Both hey! Because, I love meeting people and sometimes I just want to be alone. But for me it depends also on like the weather etc.

FaraiToday: Favourite colour?

Nothende: She shouts “yellow” with a smile big enough to light up the whole restaurant.

FaraiToday: What was your favourite subject in school?

Nothende: I think it was Maths because I did the best in that subject.

FaraiToday: Your worst?

Nothende: I hated science, I really did. I hated history as well. I don’t like memorising dates and bring up things from the past.

FaraiToday: Your biggest crush?

Nothende: Internationally oh I used to have a crush on Pharrell but now I’m over the fact that I used to have a crush on him. Locally, I used to have the biggest (emphasises) crush on Thapelo Mokoena and it lasted like a good 3-4 years. It was bad but then I got over that. I think he knows ‘cause I mentioned it on Twitter!

Thapelo Mokoena

FaraiToday: Do you listen to hiphop/rap music?

Nothende: I do, but not hectically. I listen to a lot of hiphop that not many people listen to like  Little brother, Foreign exchange, uhm that kind of hiphop but I mean I do listen to the Kanye’s and Jay Z’s you you know.

FaraiToday: Nicki Minaj or Lil’ Kim?

Nothende: Lil’ Kim has more lasting power and Nicki Minaj is now! I don’t know if what she’s doing now will be hot in the next 5 years. Lil’ Kim is more real.

FaraiToday: Beyonce or Rihanna?

Beyonce! Without a doubt, Beyonce! Oh no, you can’t even compare the two.

FaraiToday: Willow Smith or Justin Bieber?

Nothande: Justin Bieber…I think he is very talented. He’s doing young kids music you can’t compare him to your Chris Brown’s etc. I just hope that he’s voice breaks nicely. I haven’t heard a lot of Willow, just that “whip my hair” song so yah…

FaraiToday: What more can we expect from you as an artist?

Nothende: Wow! I want to build my own school of arts, ‘cause I really just want to empower people. I believe that the answer to many issues is to just really empower a person in aspects of their lives. I also want to empower people to be healthier. I’m actually working on a campaign that will be launched soon.

FaraiToday: Any last words to your fans…

Everybody needs a little love light in their lives! Everybody deserves it and its all love.

P.S: Nothende will be the opening act for international artist Goapele on the 27th November at Bassline in Johannesburg.

She also mentioned that she will be having a Media launch earlier December 2010 but more details will be given out as the time approaches.

From your girl Allegro Dinkwanyane-“I’m just saying”, so have your say…


Will you be getting Nothende’s debut album “Love light”?

I’m a passionate writer, who enjoys writing and informing people as well as learning new things. I love sports, the arts and music. I am a sports presenter of UJfm 95.4 as well as other things. Simply put, I am a dynamic young lady who wants to bring about chnage and have an impact in both the media industry and in people’s lives.

Allegro – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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