LISTEN: Busiswa on working with Beyoncé and becoming a people pleaser

Singer, songwriter and performer, Busiswa. Picture: Instagram

Singer, songwriter and performer, Busiswa. Picture: Instagram

Published May 28, 2024


“Midnight Starring” hitmaker Busiswa recently joined 702 presenter Relebogile Mabotja for an inspiring conversation on her radio segment, “Upside of Failure.”

The South African singer, songwriter and performer, whose full name is Busiswa Gqulu, took listeners through some of her career highs and lows.

Following a one-year hiatus, which she used to reflect on her career and to find her purpose in life, Busiswa returned to the music scene late last year.

During the conversation, Busiswa told Mabotja that meeting Beyoncé in Los Angeles while filming the music video for “My Power” was one of the most important moments in her life.

The worked on the song for the 2019 “Lion King” movie alongside Nija Charles, Yemi Alade, Tierra Whack, DJ Lag and Moonchild Sanelly.

“I recorded seven or eight verses for the ‘My Power’ track. I gave them variety bro… The Xhosa one is the one that made it and I was so happy… On the day it was coming out, I got a call to listen to it over the phone. I didn’t get sent the song.”

She said when she was invited for the filming, it was the first time she had taken a first-class flight and when she got to the hotel, she and Moonchild stood on the rooftop looking down at the city and shouted: “We made it!”

“We just realised that we are two black girls from Eastern Cape part of South Africa and we flew this far to shoot with Beyoncé herself directing the video, and that whole time, I think it was 48 hours, I was just floating on clouds,” she said.

About meeting Beyoncé, she said nothing could have prepared her for the moment.

“What an amazing, incredible (person). You know when you meet someone and completely understand why you are where you are, nobody can do what you do this way.

“She was directing the video herself, they didn’t reveal that to us. She was wearing a flowing yellow dress with a low neckline, she smelt like lilies and daisy dust, I don’t know man, it was beautiful.”

She explained that Beyoncé walked up to her after her first scene and said: “Girl, you’re a beast. You’re killing it, I’m gonna need you to turn it all the way up.”

She added that she was asked to write poetry for “Black is King”.

“I don’t know, but a lot of people miss it because it’s just poetry, but there’s poetry in ‘Black is King’, it’s me.”

She also admitted in the interview that her grandmother pushed her during her childhood to be the best she could be.

“I’ve never heard my grandmother speak about failure. She was always on the side of ‘You going to do great, it’s going to be amazing’, so when I didn’t do well at something, it always felt like I was letting her down. It kind of fuelled my ‘people pleaser’ side.

“I just always wanted to do my best for my mother, my grandmother, my family … Failure has always been something I don’t internalise, but I always feel like just because someone is watching, I have to do well. Now it is for my son,” said the award-winning artist.

Aside from her chart-topping music career, Busiswa said she tries her best to be a present mother to her 6-year-old son.

“I listen to him, we talk, I ask him open-ended questions. I want to hear his ideas… I teach him to speak up for himself and not bully others.

“It was just last year that he figured out I am famous, because we were at the mall and everybody was greeting me, and he asked, ‘Is everybody your friend?’

“A couple of weeks later he says to me, ‘Are you famous, is Busiswa you, are you Busiswa? Now he spends hours playing my songs on YouTube,” she laughed.

Watch the full interview below.