Nipho and Sophiatown have just released a new single called ‘Warm Skies’.
Amidst all the doom and gloom we hear every day about South Africa, Nipho is a fresh breathe of air, and just what South Africa needs.
Tell me a bit about yourself growing up and your love/connection with music?
“I grew up in Pietermaritzburg and from Grade 1, I always gravitated towards the school choir programs at school. My inner rebel kicked in during Grade 6 and I started my first band – we played alongside the school choir. We lasted 2 years. I also grew up going to church and opportunities were aplenty.”
“In hindsight looking back now it was a safe space to make mistakes without receiving too harsh criticism from the congregation – Everyone still ‘Amen’d’ and praised after every song.”
Why pursue a career in music?
“In all honesty I’ve found more meaning in why I’m doing what I’m doing as I’ve grappled and struggled with the complexities and difficulties of the industry. I would describe this journey as replacing the idea of what it is to be an artist to what it actually means to be an artist.”
“To be able to communicate the things that are close and sensitive to your heart is a powerful thing and incredibly rewarding. I guess I’m still in it because of what it’s bringing out of me. Art has a way of resolving and making peace with your emotions and thought processes like no other job and can lead to genuine growth and maturity. What I love about this job, is it requires growth in a person because so much of it is personal and your work will never be more deeper than you are. These are the things I’ve come to appreciate about this as career to continue putting out honest work that’s from a place of truth of what I feel and believe.”
With so much negativity about South Africa, why was it important to write ‘Warm Skies’?
“It’s changed a lot over the years…I try write songs around a central idea. Being an actor has aided me in my approach, as I tend to be very narrative focused more than lyric focused. I remember my wise old lecturer Liz Mills saying to me once that one should simply know what the story is about and be able to explain it one sentence or word to an audience. I’m no expert but I’m finding success in thinking about how a song would fit in a scene of a movie and what part of the movie would represent that scene sonically. I’ve become more visual in my songwriting I would say.”
“In some ways, it’s sad that a song like “Warm Skies” is rarely written. I think the song is important because of the sense of joy and love for the country it stirs up. More and more as I scroll down through my timeline on social I’m realizing that there seems to be a growing sense of contempt for this beautiful land and all the people the call South Africa home. While writing “Warm Skies” my heart was to contend for the 2 things that are becoming more and more rare in our lives – joy and peace.”
How do you approach your song writing and what inspires you?
“I think inspiration is a fluid thing and at the moment I’m inspired by people’s need. It’s a weird one for me…I think I’m only now understanding the real difference serving people through art can really have! I think my approach has evolved from a more selfish one to a more responsible one. I’m inspired by making a difference.”
If you could collaborate with anyone; musician, producer, songwriter, who would it be and why?
“Musicians to collaborate with – Frank Ocean! He is a genius songwriter.”
“Producer to collaborate with – without exaggerating I feel like the producer I’m working with now (Edward King) is an absolute dream. Musically I feel like he can compete with anyone in the world. Watching him put a song together often feels like a Masterclass.”
Tell me about your live show – what makes it unique?
“Our set is energetic and vibrant. I think what sets it apart is simply the music. We perform music that’s international but at the same time, it is familiar to a South African audience. We give a lot of elements that are fresh and haven’t been heard before.”
Stranded on a desert island – you can only take one album with you, what would it be and why?
“Album – Future/Love/Sex Sounds (Justin Timberlake). Need I say more?”
Nipho’s E.P. – ‘Reflections From Date Night’ will be dropping in October
Watch the music video for Warm Skies here: