Introducing Mandisa Mamba: eSwatini’s Rising R&B Sensation With A Daring Approach
R&B is a genre that is not that popular in eSwatini and the kingdom does not have many R&B artists. Mandisa Mamba is a diverse R&B singer-songwriter who made her official debut in 2016 and has achieved major success. After a year in the music industry, Mandisa was nominated as the Best R&B artist at the MTN SWAMA Awards 2017 and was listed as one of the artists to watch in 2018 by Glam Africa Magazine. We had a chance to chat to her recently to find out more about her.
What or who inspires you as an artist?
I am very fascinated and inspired by the idea that we have the power to create our own reality, it makes me hungry to see the kind of experiences I can consciously bring into my life. I am also inspired by women who push boundaries and break barriers, women like Bonang and Beyonce.
Describe your sound ?
I fall under the R&B genre but I like to think of my music as experimental in the sense that I mostly go with the flow, so when I pick a sound to write to it’S because I connect to it and sometimes it may be the furthest thing from a normal R&B sound.
What are some of the challenges have you faced especially in eSwatini’s musical scene ?How have you overcome these challenges?
I think the biggest challenge has been growing in Eswatini. It’s a small group that truly believes in us artists and although I am truly grateful for those who support us, it would be great if Eswatini as a whole stood by their entertainers. Unfortunately, this also applies to show promoters who tend to create 90% of their show focus on artists from outside our borders. This is not to say we should not be inviting and appreciating artists from outside of Eswatini, but this is a serious reflection of how much there is little support for the Swazi artist. I know in disagreeing with me, one may be tempted to point out one or two shows that are centered around Swazi artists, but unfortunately in such cases or “opportunities”, we face issues such as low pay or no pay at all, whilst the very same promoter would be willing to pay an outsider 50 times more.
No, there hasn’t been a solution in place but I would suggest that the eSwatini Music Associations comes together and does the following:
1. Pass a law that states a minimum pay for artists.
2. Ensure that at least 80% shows/festivals are centered around Swazi entertainers.
3. The Swazi audience can help us (as the artist) through silent/non-violent protests to demonstrate disapproval on shows that have little or no support for the Swazi artist.
Truth is we cannot grow nor thrive if our own people continue to look down upon us.
You recently released the video of your song Love Fiend, briefly tell us about the concept behind this song?
Love Fiend is a mix of hip/hop and R&B. Inspired by the idea of desiring someone who doesn’t belong to you. The word ‘fiend’ seemed to be perfect to describe the depth of desire I talk about in the song, because it’s not just about the person who is desired but also what the desired person makes the other feel and how it then becomes an obsession or a case of behaving like one who is possessed, but in a sexy way, which you see in the music video. When I wrote the song I was writing from the perspective of the other woman/guy. Because when you listen to the words, you then get that the desired person is in fact involved with someone else. I never exactly intended to write a song for “side people”, the first few lines sort of came about in a jokingly manner and then my producer (Mozaik The producer) and I decided to stick to the story. It was a fun story to create. I wrote love Fiend about 3 years ago and only released it in 2018. Compared to my previous music, people are quite shocked at how daring I am when they hear it for the first time.
How has the reception to the video been?
The reception has been amazing. The music video has been received with so much love and I am so grateful to know that people appreciate my work. Taking into consideration that no one in Eswatini has ever created a music video that is openly sexy and expressive, I was so nervous about how people would respond to it, honestly. So it was a big relief to see that people understand the song itself and the music video.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
I enjoy the process of creation, writing a new song, playing around with melodies and harmonies etc. I also love being on stage, I am excited by live performances. I don’t like that it’s a dog-eat-dog industry; people can be very dishonest, sneaky and selfish. I don’t understand why people are always trying to create ways to own the artist.
Take us through your song making/writing process?
I don’t have an exact formula to be honest. Sometimes I come up with ideas at random times and I’ll put them on my phone. Sometimes I’m able to start and finish a song in one day, sometimes it takes me months, even years. I have songs I started writing 2017 and only managed to finish the story this year. It depends on where I am emotionally I suppose. One thing I have noticed about me is that I am mostly able to tell the story once I am out of the situation, healed or in the process of healing from the pain and anger. Although, when it comes to talking about the good side of love, its easier for me to express it in the moment I am feeling it.
You’ve been featured on a couple of local projects, what is the process behind these collaborations?
I prefer to work with people I admire and respect. The process depends on everyone’s schedule, but it’s always better to be in studio and just move with the flow, together as one.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Trust your inner voice and surround yourself with people who believe in you but also who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about your work. Being able to accept criticism is the key to growth.
What can we expect from you in the latter part of the year?
I have a new single out, it’s called ‘Anymore‘ and it’s on all digital platforms. I’m also currently working on more new music and I hope before the year ends I will have released more of that.
Where can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Facebook: Mandisa Music
SoundCloud: Mandisa Mamba
“There is only one woman, and her name is all women. Nurture her, protect her, love her, guide her”