Moonchild Sanelly has no plans to slow down

Published Apr 15, 2019


It’s been less than 48 hours since Moonchild Sanelly arrived from America. 

She spent a few weeks there in a stay that included a performance at the South by South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, a brief stay in Los Angeles where she worked on a new collaboration, and a performance at OkayAfrica’s 100 Women concert in New York. 

She was then meant to play at a sold-out one-off gig at the Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture celebrations in Leytonstone, London, but there was an issue with her UK visa.

That gig was part of a celebration for music collective Africa Express’ new 4-track EP, MOLO, on which Moonchild features.

MOLO, Xhosa for “hello”, was put together when Africa Express travelled to Johannesburg for a week of discovery, collaboration, music-making and live performances a few months ago. 

That trip saw artists including Damon Albarn, Blue May, Gruff Rhys, Georgia, Ghetts, Mr Jukes, Nick Zinner, Remi Kabaka, Otim Alpha and Poté come together with emerging and established stars from the South African music scene including Moonchild Sanelly to complete the project in seven days.

Moonchild. Picture: Supplied

Being a versatile musician, she used this as an opportunity to showcase her range.

“I was like a kid in a candy store,” she said. “I could flex all my music because I’m a songwriter.

I could go to jazz, I could go to hip hop, I could go to soul, kwaito, gqom, anything. It’s a privilege to be able to do so many different songs and not be stuck in one genre. How many artists have you seen who do multiple albums then want to change their sound and no one wants to support it? No one is ever surprised by what I do because I’ve been so expressive.

“I never wanted to be in a box. I don’t like boxes, unless it’s a box of condoms.”

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It’s already been a busy year and she’ll be touring until August, a period which includes an East African tour, shows in Nigeria, Mozambique, Reunion Island and a return to America. And she has no plans of slowing down. “I’ll figure out the jet lag as I go.”

As part of her new “sex club” concept, Moonchild has a residency at X.O Lounge, a strip club in Midrand. For the May edition, she’ll be bringing out Nigerian afro-pop star, Mr Eazi.

“It’s going to be crazy. The last one I did before I left was the best one yet. It was actually the most packed night at the club. Now Mr Eazi is bringing it.”

She’s also wrapping up a new song called Condom Collector with Mr Eazi’s producer, Guilty Beats, which she plans on releasing soon.

“And then there’s something so big, so huge that I can’t say because I feel like people need to experience it when I announce it. I’m not gonna announce it, I’m just gonna drop it. I think it’s more exciting that way.

“It’s going to be one of those things that make children go back to their storyboards and re-evaluate the size of their dreams because they realise they need to dream bigger. That’s what I want for the children of South Africa.”


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