Soulful, daring and brave are some of the words, in possibly a long list of descriptive words, that could be used to describe Johannesburg-based artist, iindirhe. There is absolutely no way that you could box her in when it comes to creativity and the act of creating.
With a sound that has the ability to give you glimpses of intergalactic soul and positive energy, it is without doubt that she is a creative that is surely positioned to impress, spread love and project good vibrations. One of the reasons we saw it fitting that we use the word ‘daring’ to describe iindirhe as an artist was mainly due to how genuine she is in her expression and it takes an incredible amount of bravery for an artist to communicate the depths of their emotions. Innovative approaches, schools of thought and soundscapes could be expected from her.
Proper representation of black female creatives is needed and the work that iindirhe is doing beyond the music is important and comes at a time where more young creatives are starting to be more aware of how crucial it is to tell their own stories and in their own way.
We recently connected with her online and got a chance to get to know more about her and her artistry.
Before we kick off everything, we need to extend our appreciation and gratitude for having an opportunity to speak to you and have you share your story. We always get motivated when we get a chance to connect with the artists/creatives that create the work we love so much. Tell us a little more about yourself? We only know iindirhe from a musical point of view, we are certain that you embody more than that.
iindirhe: Thank you so much I too appreciate the platform, music and art are really central to my existence so everything else I do as a person will lead you straight back to the artist that is iindirhe. I am 21 years and I currently study A BA and I major in Media studies and international relations, Media Studies being the course I enjoy more because it has given me much perspective into how I view the world and how I convey it as a creative. I also create youtube content which is a very exciting part of my life the web series is called Real Ones Sa and it seeks to represent a different type of black woman the carefree black woman. Being socially aware and activism are close to my heart too because I am a woman. I love and enjoy creating more than anything and through my work I want to have a positive impact on the community and the music industry as a whole.
Your Soundcloud profile says that you’re based in Pretoria and Johannesburg, which is quite interesting because those two cities are so different, the former is quite slow and conservative and the latter is fast, progressive and rough. How has your upbringing influenced your music? The places we inhabit and those that we have inhabited have a huge influence on our creativity.
iindirhe: Yeah interesting story I moved to Pretoria at the end of my Matric Year in 2013 my parents decided to relocate because of my mom had a rare case of cancer which could only be treated by specialists at Steve Biko Hospital. I decided to take a gap year and that put me on the trajectory of taking poetry and my music more seriously contrary to popular belief the art scene in Pretoria is very lively and vibrant and as a result I established some kind of audience there which genuinely allowed me to push myself as an artist. I then moved back to Joburg because I got accepted to Wits University and that’s why this whole dynamic of me being based in Joburg and Pretoria came about. I genuinely think the fast pace of the city keeps you on your toes as an artist chasing the dream and writing about it isn’t always exactly as it seems. Then living in Soweto has also allowed me to be really in touch with how vibrant the hiphop culture is, graffiti cyphers, skateboarding the like have allowed to be in tune with myself the culture and expressing it in the best way I possibly can.
Tell us about more your journey in music. Has music always been a part of your life?
iindirhe: My Journey has been really strange and yes music has definitely always been a part of my life since I was I was 5 my mom knew I was “different” and my dad and my brother being avid music lovers put me in a position to listen to a wide array of genres from neo soul rhythm and blues to rock hiphop and disco. I knew I sing when I was in grade three and auditioned for my first solo in the choir from then on I kept getting leads and I kept growing. I started rapping when I was 11 and writing raps marks the genesis of me writing music and poetry all together. I continued all this in High school Being part of the school band and serenade group then later being in charge of the serenade group allowing me to experiment with songs creatively recreating the arrangements for harmonies and beat boxing, and that most certainly marks my interest in music production which is currently where I am at with my musical journey right now.
Your sound is quite uncharacteristic, fresh and a breath of fresh air, particularly in the South African music scene. Who are some of your influences? After listening to your work online, we heard bits and pieces of J Dilla-esque vibes, which is seen from your beat selection.
iindirhe: Wow I really appreciate you paying attention to my beat selection I never really put it out there but I love placing importance on creative control so I actually co produce the beats that you’ve heard online for instance soul interlude is a makeup of a loop in my vocals and synths that complement the vocals I choose these elements carefully with the producers so my musical vision comes across properly. My influences would be Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, Lebo Mathosa, SZA, Kid Cudi as well as Rihanna.
Walk us through your creative process, how do you channel your creative energy to create your work? Your song Backpack dreams was well written and composed well, specifically the message contained in the lyrics and you sort of let listeners into your mind and life in that song. What is the creative process when you come up with songs like that?
iindirhe: My creative process is really spontaneous I Wrote the First verse to Back Pack dreams when I was 16 to the instrumental of dreams money can buy by Drake. I am really in touch with my emotions as an artist be it my highs or my lows and that really and truly is the magic behind my creative process sometimes I have ideas while I am running a bath, when I’m in a taxi or after I hit a j I mean sometimes I have to write on the spot for different producers and it just happens. Creativity is the strangest and coolest phenomena ever and I’m just like winging it and enjoying it at the same time. Listen my philosophy as a creative is write it down whenever you feel the need.
What does your normal day entail? We all have little rituals that are integral parts of our days. Do you have certain daily rituals that you need to get out of your way so your day can kick off?
iindirhe: I wake up and I write down my dreams after that its positive affirmations and good music in the background my roommate and I are artists and best friends so we literally plan our days around our art and music, I burn incense on the daily just to keep the vibe at home peaceful and productive I try to keep my social media activity at a minimum for about an hour a day. I work more on art at night so it’s standard for me to hit a j and just bury myself in conceptualising writing or just really enjoying my own thoughts really.
You’re part of a vlog series called Real Ones SA, which is quite great because people get to see Jo’burg from your perspective, particularly how female creatives experience and live in the city. Tell us more about your role in Real Ones SA and how that came about?
iindirhe: I am a co-founder of Real Ones Sa I am a part of the creative aspect of the vlog series which includes the places we go to and the conversations we have I work closely with editor in terms of what makes the cut to be on the episodes on the vlog, I’m a camera woman and also the depiction of your favourite quirky brown girl.
Are there any other projects that you are working on that people should look out for?
iindirhe: YES YES YES 2017 is definitely going to be a mess working on my LP my first body of work I’ll announce the Title of project closer to the time of its release, also currently working on a new exciting vlog series that will be closely linked to the music industry in SA, more specifically Hip Hop. Im working on a joint EP with Alpha Muzik, and also tons of visuals planned for new music that will be the build up to my own project. I’m currently also working with an international producer from Nigeria and some artists from there too which is really, really exciting.
Where do you want your creative efforts to take you? What are some of your goals when it comes to your creative efforts?
iindirhe: I just really want to transform this industry by being unconventional breaking the rules and helping artists like myself get to where they deserve to be. I am going to be international a voice that harnesses Africa’s newest and most creative sound lol I’m putting it in the universe.
Do you feel that there are enough platforms that house the music that you create or maybe the music that you love listening to? The South African indie, underground and alternative music scene is very small and it is not connected. You get pockets of little scenes all over the country and it would be great if more spaces where created which become enablers for dope collaborations? What is your take on collaboration?
iindirhe: Collaboration is great but as you said the underground alternative scene is very small mainly because our scene is way too cliquey, this means that people invest much of the support and love within a small group creating restrictions amongst us as artists, It doesn’t necessarily matter if the artist is good or not because people refuse to support artists outside their circles artists are less likely to connect or even collaborate which is really a detrimental to our upcoming sounds and genres. I genuinely feel that people claim to love good music but they want to keep it to themselves. But I am very open to collaborations especially with artists that boundaries with their sound, so far I have 5 collaborations on a number of projects that will be released next year and its exciting to stretch and merge music and sounds and I’m glad I can do it.
How would you describe your style and music to someone that may be coming across your work for the first time?
iindirhe: I genuinely struggle with this one because I uphold versatility as an artist in very high regard but I am an African Hip-hop artist and id best describe my sound as glitter afro soul and trap. Everything I create has a high lyrical standard which is deeply connected to my sexuality, my consciousness and my experience as a black woman in an estranged society and I’ve been blessed to tap into and borrow sounds and recreate them from every sphere of my musical encounters in my life time and that is how I’d best describe my sound.
What are some of the struggles that you face as a young musician residing in South Africa? Do you want your music to be easily accessible to the masses? Do you have a target listener?
iindirhe: I face discrimination in a male dominated industry where when you are on the come up people willingly and openly seek to sabotage and discredit your work and take advantage of you, the industry is closed and that’s a fact submitting your work to media platforms does not mean your work will be aired or even considered. Yes I definitely want my music to reach a broader audience I don’t have a target I just know that if you don’t like my then it isn’t for you.
We live in a digital age, where more and more people are starting to realize the power that social media and other avenues have when it comes to storytelling. The storytelling power has been given to the people through the internet, how do you use the internet to tell your stories and to document your life? How important is delivering quality content to you?
iindirhe: Yes changing the narrative and my story and conveying who I am as an artist is important it allows me to interact with the people who appreciate what I do and it allows me to share what I love but you know it’s a double edged sword social media platforms especially for artists can be difficult spaces because it is hard remove yourself from banter and just engaging with strangers. There is more power in social media for artists if people follow them for the right reasons.
In closing, where can people find you and your work? Do you have any words for people that are going to be following your work or the fan base that you have already built?
iindirhe: Currently you can find my work on soundcloud.com/iindirhemusic with my upcoming project I will have my music available for download and streaming on iTunes and Spotify, you can keep up with the making of the LP and my performances on Instagram. And words for my supporters is its only going to get better I have grown wiser and more musically in tune with my music and its not just music its magic it’s a vibe and yes true artists still exist I will keep putting my heart and soul into it 2017 is going to be beautiful.
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