At 28, with a new TV contract, Keabetswe Motsilanyane is ready to become a superstar…
KB takes care of business
THEY call her “KB” and, at 28, with a baby son and a new soapie contract, popular R&B singer Keabetswe Motsilanyane is ready to get what she wants. “I’ve made millions for other people for too long,” she says. “Now it’s my turn to take charge of business, and make some money for myself.”
Her radical new attitude shows up on screen in etv’s new showbiz soap Rhythm City, where she plays superbitch Lucilla. “I love Lucilla,” she admits, relaxing in one of her sexy, low-cut TV dresses in a cramped etv office outside the studios.
It’s 9am on a cold morning, and KB can’t wait to update BONA on her latest career plans. “Lucilla’s hardcore. She’s evil and manipulative and uses every dirty trick to get to the top of Joburg’s record business. “Lucilla doesn’t sing in the Rhythm City storyline – she latches on to a wealthy older man, who owns a record company. “She knows the real power in the music biz is in the boardroom, not the Top 40 charts, and she wants to control what happens to other singers.”
The former Backstage star knows all about that, having seen her own career become a moneymaking tool for producers in recent years. “But 2007 is going to be my year,” she says. That doesn’t mean last year was all that bad. In fact, quite the opposite, as 2006 saw the birth of her son Phala. “I’d left Backstage and was making Mtunzini.com,” she explains. “I was busy with my shows and corporate gigs, and although my husband, Terry, and I wanted a family, falling pregnant wasn’t a priority. “But suddenly my sexy stage costumes were too tight and I had to reschedule a tour to Nigeria because I couldn’t fly. “I didn’t realise how motherhood would sharpen up my career objectives,” she adds. “I love being with Phala so much I have to work twice as hard to make up for the time I spend at home. Too many of us sit around in the comfort zone waiting for producers to offer the next big opportunity. Not me. “I’m going all out to make my dreams come true!”
This new phase of KB’s career started two weeks after her son’s birth. She landed the star role in Joburg’s hit pantomime, Aladdin, playing “KB,” the sassy, singing princess. “I lost my maternity weight during rehearsals,” she laughs. “Doing a stage musical is the best fi tness routine.” Her plans were to make a new series of Mtunzini.com and a new album, while changing her look with a short, natural hairstyle to go along with her campaign for Charlie perfume. That all changed when she auditioned for the role of Lucilla, a role completely opposite to her usual cutie-pie TV characters. “There’s a new KB on the block and I want everyone to know it!” she says. The most far-reaching change will come in her music. “I used to be one of three singers everyone recognised – Lebo, TK and KB,” she refl ects. “We were friends and I miss them terribly now they’re gone. We all wanted South Africa to become big in the world charts. Now it’s up to me to make it happen.”
Her new material will cross over from Afro-pop to Latin, driven by a gifted Nigerian percussionist named Gbenga. “Our own music is developing so fast with the exposure we’re getting from MTV and visiting stars – I want to compete at that level too.” American rapper Eve and her manager admire KB’s music, and are encouraging her to promote her new album on the Hollywood scale. “First prize, I’d love to do a TV special here at home – using all the skills in singing and dance I’ve learnt in the past eight years. “I’m ready for it all.” [e]