We know her as a TV presenter and actress but Denise Zimba showed the country that there is a whole new side of her we haven’t seen as she dropped her hip-hop-inspired EP ‘Rude’. As she makes a name for herself a musician, we chat to Denise about the EP, her musical journey and what else 2018 has in store for her.
We know you as a presenter and actress but where did your passion for music begin?
Music was my first love. As much as my previous group Fly Chix did not work out, music was my first entry into the industry. After the group, I featured on a song by DJ Milkshake which was on the first ever Hype Mag mixtape. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a recording artist and I’m so excited about this new material.
What makes now the perfect time to introduce the country to your music?
It just felt right. For anyone who knows me, this release was long overdue. I’ve been working in television for the longest time and I just needed to redirect myself into the next phase of my life – and that is music.
How different is your mind frame when tackling music than a movie or TV show?
Making music allows me to tell my story the best way possible. There’s no made-up character and it’s just my truth. It’s such a good feeling to be your true authentic self and I am very blessed to be able to do that through a medium that excites me. I don’t have to be anything or anyone but me. As a songwriter, I am allowed freedom to sing and share with the world life experiences.
Tell us a bit about how the EP came to life.
I had broken away from the industry to regroup and take time for my personal growth. I lived in Germany for a while but I would keep getting calls to come home and work on different projects. In between my time in Europe and South Africa, I would make time to get with my producer and just record music. Then, more and more songs came to life and the rest is history. We decided to drop an EP instead of a full album now to serve as an introduction to Denise – the recording artist. Last year, I appeared on four TV shows and I didn’t want any conflict of interest concerning all the work I was doing. I knew that as soon as I wrapped those shows that this musical chapter had to follow
You worked with some extraordinary people on the record. What was that like?
I did! I am very grateful for the presence I had on this EP. Firstly, working with 66Beats and having them allow me to be as creative and involved every step of the way was such an honour and it brought me immense happiness. My featured artists Rouge, Reason, Mvrco Polo (from the hip hop group ICU) are some of the best in the game and they added such flair to the project.
What inspired the album’s lead single ‘Rude’?
Many people like to perceive those who are confident and opinionated as rude. So, I guess the song is about standing up for what I believe in – and if being confident makes me perceived to be rude, then so be it.
Which track off the project means the most to you?
The song that means the most to me is easily ‘Painkillers’. It’s the most honest and vulnerable song on the EP and I’m very proud of it.
The project has strong R&B and hip-hop undertones. How have those two genres made an impact on you as a person?
Those are the genres that I grew up listening to the most. They were my source of influence when I was young and continue to influence me in my day to day life.
Now that the EP is out, what do the next few months have in store for you?
Oh, that’s a surprise! What I can say though is that dropping the music was just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting year.
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