It was back in 2013 when she released the single, Transition, featuring Zeus and since then it has taken what seemed like an eternity for her full album to come out. Just as her fans were running out of breath, she finally dropped her long-awaited debut album earlier this month.
Also titled Transition, the rest of the songs in the album follow the same mellow, slow and soulful melody as with the title track. Since this album is her first offering, it is perhaps understandable that Samantha Mogwe chose to, vocally, take the safe root and stick to her comfort zone.
“This was like an experiment to help me figure out just what type of music I want to do,” she says. “With this album I was trying to find myself.” Without taking anything away from the album it would have been nice to hear her step out of her cocoon and come up with a song or two that challenges her vocal capacity. Lifestyle got together with the 26-year-old songstress to chat about the inspiration behind her work. It is exactly 0900hours on a Thursday morning as I walk through the doors of Vida e Caf├® located at the foot of the 20 storey i-towers building (CBD) for our 9am appointment. There is a young, relatively tall lady with a black hoody, matching tights, sneakers and a sports bag entering just ahead of me. My eyes are scanning all over the caf├® trying to locate my ‘date’ as the young lady turns around, removes her dark shades and takes the first seat she finds.
It is Mogwe. “I’m gonna be hitting the gym as soon as we are done here,” she says in between our pleasantries, as if feeling compelled to justify her outfit.
We grab a table by the window and for some time the conversation revolves around her latest project together with a host of other local musicians titled Re Batswana. “We are currently rehearsing for a tour overseas in September,” she says. But that is another topic for another day. We are halfway through my cup of Espresso and her orange juice when the conversation turns to her own personal project, the 13 track debut album.
It was produced by Bk Proctor, Joseph Tanyala, Kudzaishe Kagoma, Charles Motsemme, and Thebe Malipiti (Executive Producer). The 3rd track on the album, ‘Dreaming’, targets young women who have found themselves under difficult relationship situations: Visions blurry from all the crying, only sixteen, she feels like dying. But now she’s got a baby on the way with a man that’s almost twice her age, has got a wife at home. “It was inspired by the Gender Based Violence (GDV) campaign,” she says. She says the Lira-esque finger snapping ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ is her favourite song in the album. “I’m having a conversation with myself,” Mogwe says. “You’d think the song is about two people but it’s actually one person and their split personalities.” The title was inspired by the Scot Robert Stevenson’s novel, ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. The nineth track on the album, ‘Want Your Love’ was inspired by a friend’s long distance relationship while the melancholic ‘Piece of Me’ speaks of trying to hold onto someone even when the writing is on the wall. “I think we’ve all been through something similar at some point in our lives,” Mogwe says. The title track, featuring Zeus, was inspired by the passing of her uncle who she says had always been her biggest fan. ‘Monday Morning Blues’ is more of a feel-good-get-up-and-go-to-work tune. It is about the all too familiar stress of having to prise yourself off bed after a long hectic weekend.
If you have enjoyed the singles such as ‘You’ featuring Sasa Klaas chances are you would love the rest of the album.