News

Audio: Nonku Phiri's Clouds of Nocturne

'Clouds of Nocturne' from South African songstress Nonku Phiri.


“I like the rawness of an idea when it begins” says up-and-coming South African songstress, Nonku Phiri. “That’s when like, I personally feel what I’m saying is more authentic”. Of the dozens of songs she’s shared on SoundCloud – and the hundreds more sitting on her laptop - only a handful were written down before they were recorded: the rest were improvised using GarageBand; a programme she learned to use when she was studying graphic design at an advertising college in Cape Town. “The day I got my [Apple] Mac that’s all I started doing, and only at night” says the 24-year-old singer; “so whatever I was either thinking about or like going through or whatever it is I’d heard, I’d sing about”.

Nonkululu x Kool Out Lounge @ Kitcheners from theblaggTV on Vimeo.

Initially, the Jo’burg-born vocalist kept the late-night recordings to herself until rapper Jimmy Flexx, of hip hop trio Ill Skillz and a mutual acquaintance, encouraged her to share the music with a wider audience after a listen. She followed the emcee’s advice and watched with surprise as the nocturnal compositions assumed a life of their own on the web. “I didn’t realise that as much people were listening until I started looking at the amount of follows and listens”. In addition to the ‘song sketches’ she also shared covers she’d done including her brilliant reworking of Icelandic singer Björk’s “Oceania” and Frank Ocean’s “We All Try” (stream both tracks below).

At the beginning of the year, after nine months working for an ad agency, Nonku decided to give up the daily grind of the rat race to earn her keep as a musician. “It’s been a blessing for me to quit work and get to start doing what I want to do” she says. True, the decision seems to be paying off; aside from releasing her debut mixtape, Clouds of Nocturne: The Luv Mvmt, she’s also recorded notable collaborations with electronic music DJ/Producer extraordinaire, Richard the Third for “Unfortunate Fool” (stream below),  and house music duo, Crazy White Boy for “Zoma”, and her second mixtape is due out next month. “I’d describe myself as an experimental artist I guess. I don’t like boxing myself in or following any formula” she says; “so whatever comes out it’s organically put together based on what I’m experimenting with”.

Best Music of the Week: Maleek Berry, DJ Neptune x Runtown & More

These are the songs you need to hear this week.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

Maleek Berry "Let Me Know"

Maleek Berry's excellent Last Daze of Summer EP is still banging pretty much everywhere. "Let Me Know" is the latest track off the EP to get the visual treatment. In the romantic clip, Maleek and the girl he has his eye on head to Cape Town.

DJ Neptune "Why" feat. Runtown

DJ Neptune comes through with "Why," the latest single off his upcoming album, G.R.E.A.T.N.E.S.S. The slow-burning tune features the man behind one of 2016's biggest songs ("Mad Over You"), Runtown, and was produced by Del B.

Kae Sun "Stalk"

Ghanaian-Canadian singer Kae Sun is back with a guitar-led dance jam in "Stalk." The new single is paired with a striking, nighttime forrest music video, filmed in his home of Montreal. "Stalk" is the lead track of Kae Sun's upcoming LP due next year.

RMBO x Peta Teanet

RMBO, the solo moniker of Tshepang Ramoba (BLK JKS), is readying the release of his upcoming EP. In the meantime, he's sent over this addictive remix of South African disco artist Peta Teanet. "Chachali Malindela" will light up any dance floor.

Ayo Awosika "You're The One"

Nigerian-American singer Ayo Awosika has played stages across the globe as Miley Cyrus' backup singer. She's now stepping out on her own with "You're The One," a sweet and beautiful love letter to Nigeria.

Yaa Yaa "Life" feat. FanteFante

Ghanaian singer Yaa Yaa has released the motivational and uplifting single "LIie," featuring FanteFante. The song's about shaking off life's troubles and pushing on ahead. Check it out above and grab it on iTunes here now.


Follow our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week.

Cape Town Hip-Hop Legend Jitsvinger Drops His First Project In 10 Years

Jitsvinger's latest EP is a mixture of boom-bap, jazz and Afrikaaps lyricism.

Cape Town musician Jitsvinger last released an album, Skeletsleutel, in 2007.

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Zwai Bala produced most of TKZee's hits. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 10 Best Kwaito Producers

Get to know the the 10 most notable old school kwaito producers.

"Kwaito will never die," tweeted the rapper Riky Rick about a week ago.

This was after he'd just released a new single called "Stay Shining." The song features fellow rapper Cassper Nyovest, alongside the Durban kwaito artist Professor, Alie Keys and the DJ duo Major League DJz.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.