Actress and TV presenter Denise Zimba is known for her many talents, one of which is keeping us entertained. She is the girl who took her wig off on live television, after all. The last time I spoke to the media personality, she had returned to South Africa after spending some time in Germany and had bagged three new television shows.
While she is not known for her musical talents, Zimba plans to change that. This time our chat was about her latest venture, her recently released debut EP. She tells me about the EP she decided to name Rude.
“I started working on this when I was still living in Germany in 2015. I was flying in and out of South Africa at every chance I could and when I would come home, I would work on the music with my producer,” she said.
Although she initially wanted to release a full album of 16 tracks, she decided not to.
“I went to Germany to have a break and focus on other things, but on one visit back home, I was offered a new TV show and then another, and then another, so because of that, making music took a back step because I was incredibly busy with the new shows I was working on. So I decided to release an EP with six songs, not just because it was easier to get that done with my schedule, but also because I did not want to overwhelm people,” she said.
The Wedding Bashers star said that because she wanted to tell her story in the most authentic way possible through her music, she needed to do that in small doses.
“Rude is an introduction to Denise Zimba, the artist. As artists, we are storytellers and I wanted to tell my story. I can only speak on my own experiences, but when I was writing the material for this EP, I was in a place where I felt unappreciated and as if I was not getting enough respect from the people I was working with in the industry - not fellow artists, but the people behind the scenes.
"I felt no value; people want you so badly on their shows or to work with them, but they don’t want to pay you the respect you deserve. So there was that, but there were also a lot of great things that happened for me and I worked with amazing people and great productions,” she said.
She added that she was very hands-on with this project and was lucky to work with people who embraced her creativity: “From where the bass drops to the where the chorus comes in, I was involved and it was amazing. Honestly, working on Rude really taught me patience. I worked with people who embraced my creativity and allowed me to be me.”
Describing the sound of Rude, she said, “The sound of this EP is not something that I think South Africans are used to its very different simply because right now gqom, house and hip hop music is all the rage.
"I would describe its as old school R&B, with a new school feel to it with insane beats. I would even say its like the sounds of Keshia Cole and Alina Baraz. There still are a lot of female artists that just want to sing and tell stories and I consider myself one of those artists.”
One of her favourite songs off the EP is Painkillers. “People who suffer with a lot of pain are often people that never get to express themselves. I have always been an opinionated person and a fun person, too, but sometimes I just don’t want to feel anything and that’s okay, but the song is about how painkillers don’t even work anymore yet we keep taking them,” Zimba said.
She is also very proud to have released the EP under her own stable, Zimba Entertainment. “It was very important to me to release this on my own because ... I want to own me and my brand. I have worked on many shows and a lot of misconduct happened and that just fuelled me to go on my own. Zimba Entertainment is an artist management and development company, and my plan is to make it one of the absolute best in the country.”
She hopes that people see a different side to her with this EP and that they enjoy it: “I just want to promote self-worth and let people know that they are worth everything they feel they are, and also just make great music for people to enjoy.”