She has been working hard to make a name for herself in the music industry for over a decade but the last few months have seen Bonj sign a record deal through Tresor’s Jacquel Entertainment Group, releasing a single with DJ Zinhle and opening for Sam Smith. This week, the star opens up about the incredible step in her career.
You signed to Tresor’s record label earlier this year. How exciting is it having someone so successful believe in your music?
It’s insane but it’s also affirming because I’ve been working in the industry for over ten years and he understands the hustling process, recording demo after demo and honing your sound. Being on his team is a blessing more than anything because, for me, I had anxiety about signing with a label in the first place so it’s amazing to have someone that I know and who knows me to be both my mentor and my shark.
Why do you think you’re finally breaking out as an artist now – after ten years of pushing.
I think that now was the time. It’s all about God’s timing and the universe putting the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s funny because in the beginning of this year, I was ready to give up on my music. In fact, last year my family actually held an intervention where my sisters sat me down where they told me that they love me and support me but that the clock is ticking and that I can’t keep chasing something that isn’t happening. Now, five months later, I have a hit single and I opened for the phenomenon that is Sam Smith.
How would you describe your music?
I am a pop artist categorically and I would describe my music as future soul which is a blend of electronic, soul and dance music. I grew up listening to gospel music and I was inspired by that before getting into classical music and jazz which inspired me to study music professionally. It’s a really exciting sound.
Naturally your music has a strong African influence. How important is bringing your heritage into your music?
It’s essential. I am trying to write music that resonates globally but also music that introduces people to my culture and to who I am and allowing to let my culture shine. I am proud of being South African. All these different cultures and languages really inspire me and if I didn’t use that in my song, my music wouldn’t make sense. It’s all about being authentic and organic in the music creation process.
Your single ‘Against The Grain’ with DJ Zinhle is blowing up. What was it like working with such a powerhouse?
She is really amazing. She has been so graceful and welcoming throughout this entire process. She heard the melody and the lyrics and they really resonated with her. We’re both working on albums and she really felt the song. I wanted a strong black woman to collaborate with me on the song and I really like everything she stands for as a person so having her on the song, was, again, organic and authentic.
You opened for Sam Smith earlier this year. What was that experience like?
It was absolutely amazing. I had such a great time. It was a huge platform for me and an experience I don’t take lightly. It was a huge surprise when I got the call and hearing that the Big Concerts team wanted me for both the Johannesburg and Cape Town shows and it forced me to realise that this is my moment. It was a completely life-changing experience for me.
Your look is incredible. How important is it to incorporate your look into your ‘pop star’ persona?
Thank you! I feel like your look is so essential as to how people perceive you. When we think of Moonchild, we think of the blue hair or when we think Sho Madjozi, we think braids so I feel it’s important to have a very strong personality so that it helps you stand out.
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