Interview: Namibia's Lioness On Juggling Rapping & Becoming a Doctor

We speak with Lioness about her new album Wish You Were Here and working with Mr Eazi's emPawa, all while staying on the path to become a doctor.

26-year-old Windhoek-born rapper Latoya Lucile Mwoombola, aka Lioness, inadvertently created a song well-suited to be released during a pandemic when she wrote "Wish You Were Here." Although Lioness, who is a full-time doctor when she's not rapping, wrote it in a pre-coronavirus time about a breakup she was going through, she's glad it's finding resonance right now.

"When people hear the song, if, for example, you're in a long-distance relationship or you're not with your parents, it can really translate to you, and it can fill some sort of longing and be some sort of comfort at the same time," she told OkayAfrica. The song is also the title of her second album, a record of what she's been up to in the past two years since her debut release, Pride of Cilq. We spoke to her below.

You released your new album, Wish You Were Here, in the middle of a pandemic—how did that impact it?

A lot of musicians, we make our money, our revenue, from performance royalties so it's a little bit of a weird time that we are not able to do the thing that people want to go out for. Even having live [online] shows, it's not the same. But it's really good that artists are able to improvise on this. Fans and supporters are being extremely understanding and they're really trying to support us and be there for us. Ideally, I would have liked to have had a listening party and all of that. It's just a different way of marketing. But I feel like, on the contrary, the reception has been great because people are at home and can actually stream it, as opposed to, 'I'm busy, I'm going out tonight' or 'I'll stream it tomorrow,' then tomorrow turns into next week. So the impact, and the sharing, and everyone being on the Internet right now is a good thing for me."

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