Former Idols finalist Botlhale Phora release his EP ’Sonoblomo’
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Pretoria - Former Idols finalist Botlhale Phora is taking the music scene by a storm by putting Setswana music on centre stage with the release of his EP titled Sonoblomo (Sunflower).
Phora, born and bred in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Tshwane, he finished in third place in the 2017 edition of South African Idols said he took the opportunity during the start of the lockdown to take the time out to write and create his first album as a solo independent artist.
He said this was also his first release under his own record company, Power Vow records started in 2018 in partnership with Kingdom Entertainment.
Phora said although he had originally focused on writing his music predominately in isiZulu, many of his fans complained of the dominance of Nguni languages in the local music scene and often in neglect of the other 11 languages.
"I checked and realised that other than Press and Afro-soul trio Encore there really isn't that many artists singing in Setswana. I'm Tswana and yet somehow I also focused on isiZulu so I decided to change that."
"Authenticity is key especially when you want to relate and accommodate people of your own race. Right now all the hype is around amapiano and they're also singing mostly in isiZulu so I thought this was time to focus on other languages like my own."
The first single released from the album on September 27 is titled "Ke Godile" (I've grown), as the youngster said it spoke to his journey post idols, working independently on his own and having to cope with the death of his mother as well.
He said he decided to name the album after the sunflower as he wanted an endearing way to refer to a lady and also pay homage to the vivid recollection he had of how people from his neighbourhood used to refer to his grandmothers home as such because she frequently grew them in her yard.
Phora said what made him even more proud of his work was the fact that he had to work remotely as the national lockdown made it impossible to be in a studio with others.
He said although it was extremely tough having to manage everything on his own, he was thankful for the time that the lockdown afforded him.
"We were at the beginning of the lockdown and the transformers in my neighbourhood were down for two to three months so all I had was my pen, paper and my guitar."
"I'm grateful in a way that things happened as they did because I wasn't distracted by my phone or social media and truly focused on being able to give people something they could be proud of."
The album is available on all digital platforms since its release on May 29 at R79.99 for the full album or R9.99 for a track.