Moonchild (real name Sanelisiwe Twisha) does not shy away from being eccentric and standing out from the crowd. She marches to her own drum beat. Or rather the world marches to her drum beat and she’s breaking ground as a Funk music artist.
By Ayanda Sitole
My name Moonchild comes from my upbringing and childhood. My mom used to have powerful dreams that often came true. She never practiced as a traditional healer, but my family acknowledged her gift. I grew up knowing that I am a child of a healer. I also believe in the supernatural and that we are more than just physical beings.
My musical genre is called Future Ghetto Funk. It has an electronic base with a very strong hip-hop and kwaito background. I am influenced by reggae, classic, retro and jazz music. I fell in love with retro music in 2007 which is when I started recording my songs and that’s how I developed my genre. I was signed by Just Music (record label) in 2012. I told them this is who I am and they shouldn’t box me into any category, they took me as I am.
Beyoncé is my favourite artist. I liker her power and stage control. Similarly, I also like Tina Turner and Paloma Faith who is a UK based singer. Paloma is like Bjork whose writing I am intrigued by. For a long-time I was labelled as “Black Bjork”, I had to work hard to get rid of that title. I also love Thandiswa Mazwai and Simphiwe Dana, people would compare me to the two of them.
When I’m compared to an artist I stop listening to their music. It’s not because I don’t like them, but because I don’t want them to influence my style. In my house I don’t even play music because I want my sound to be unique and authentic. Another local band that I like is Die Antwoord because of their aesthetic. I will be the opening act on their European tour.
I consider my fashion style to be animated and sexy. I love confusing my audience. My hair freaks out black people, and white people are fascinated because they don’t understand it. My hair is very powerful. When I had red hair I was ridiculed for seven years, but when Rihanna came out with red hair in one of her music videos, she was celebrated. I was pissed off and decided to shave my hair off completely. My hair is currently the colour teal and it looks like a mop. I believe my hair is power and that’s why I’ve patented my wigs. Artists in this country know that they cannot duplicate my hairstyles.
I design my own clothes. I studied fashion design at Linea Academy in KwaZulu-Natal and later studied Business in Fashion at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I love Harajuku which is Japanese street culture, I also like Lady Gaga because she is amazing for being different. I’m currently working on a new range of clothing that will be launched in London. At the moment, my clothes are selling well locally and people contact me on Instagram.
I decided to embrace Gqom music because I get along with DJ Maphorisa very well. I would perform in other countries because people embraced me there, but I also wanted to be known by South Africans. It was a strategy on my side because I wanted to be supported at home as well. I’ve collaborated with a lot of people including a Japanese band. I want my music to compete with other artists internationally and commercially.
One thing people don’t know about me is that I am very strategic about everything I do. When people see me, they think I’m cute but I have a plan for everything. I also enjoy skating and hanging out at a strip club. A strip club is the place I go to when I’m not working just to relax and be myself, without having to pretend to be someone else.
Catch Moonchild at the upcoming Basha Uhuru Youth Festival that will take place at Constitution Hill on 28-30 June 2018