Award-winning Singer-Songwriter, TV Presenter, Publisher and Business-woman Pilani Bubu wears a heart of lived experience on her sleeve of storytelling. The multifarious Jazzy Folk Soul musician and creative entrepreneur places restoration, reflection and reunion at the heart of healing all those who have been wounded emotionally, financially, physically or spiritually from the two and a Half year-long Pandemic.
In honour of her latest EP, Lockdown Lovestory (based on true events), I had the pleasure of exploring her thought process, her relationship with colour, her commentary on the current cultural landscape of music, specifically the singing disciplines and her worldview of love and what makes it so challenging
The impression I got from your EP is that you’re an old school lover. Do you think old school love was more genuine back in the day or was it as nefarious as today’s love and how so?
I do think that old school love was less tainted. In the old school era of R&B and Neo-Soul, love was gentle, a slow brew, considered and imaginative, as described by the music of that time.
Somewhere between now and then, a shift happened, either influenced by hip hop’s aggression toward women and pop music need to sell sex. And the conversation between men and women that used to be more loving and appreciative definitely changed in its tonality.
We have to ask ourselves why artists like Usher, SWV, Ringo Madlingozi, Baby Face, Toni Braxton, Brandy, TLC, Miriam Carey and more… lost favour. But, I am happy to see that R&B has made a comeback, thanks to artists like H.E.R, SZA, Daniel Ceasar and Drake for never changing their tone in the Hip Hop space.
Do you have high expectations for how you want to be loved? If so, what inspires the standard set for the love you wish to experience?
I don’t find my expectations of love to be high. I find them to hold a lot of integrity, respect and honesty. The basics of any relationship, are matters of principle and shared value. And it all rests on how we communicate and how we treat each other.
My struggle in today’s relationships is mutual respect, that the other honours the other with the same respect they expect and deserve. Be it something as small as consistency in texting, being equally vulnerable to the bond that is being created and being honest about where they stand and who they are and what they want every step of the way.
Each Lockdown Lovestory song has a different colour attached to it; how did you discover the correlation between colour and emotion?
As a design enthusiast in both interior design and marketing communications, there is a study called semiotics. And it explores cultural codes and communication. Colour invokes feelings, and certain visual cues aid people in the way they feel and what they think.
There is some level of universality to my choice of colours. Yellow is the colour of playful happiness, red will be desire; pink will cue love, green and blue are cool colours for colder emotions like envy and aggression, and purple is transitional and black; well, we all know what time it is, when we see black.
In a recent conversation, you referenced the importance of reflection, restoration, and reunion. Would you say Lockdown Lovestory is a cathartic exercise that facilitates these processes?
It is indeed that. My rhetoric with releasing this very succinct, honest and raw Lovestory was driven by the idea of finding resolve by closing a chapter. And I repeat, you cannot start a new one without ending another.
My intention was to create a platform and a portal, where we can find our post-pandemic mode. One that is filled with love and not fear, a new sense of courage and boldness. I hope that people can pick that up in the visual storytelling.
With the tour, going around from East to West and back to South Africa and nationally – I wanted to remind people that there is a job to be done to restore what some of us have lost during the last 2,5 years of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We need to come out to shows, restaurants, and other businesses and support each other. Whether through collaboration or just simply showing up and showing love. In the curated experiences of the Lockdown Lovestory, I wanted to create beautiful spaces for people to have their post-pandemic reunions.
I enjoyed the prolific poetry you weaved neatly into the listening experiences. What are some of your favourite memories from your earliest days in poetry, and how did those experiences shape you into the musician you are now?
This question takes me back to when I was below the age of 10; my twin sister and I were not TV watchers, as my brothers hogged the television every day and night to play TV games or watch movies.
So we would spend a lot of time in our room, singing the school hymn book back to back and exploring a specific book within the Child Craft Encyclopaedia, called Stories and Poems.
We would take turns reading these poems and stories to each other. I think this is where my love for storytelling and for poetry began.
I have always been obsessed with rhyme schemes and the use of language to help us describe our experiences and articulate what lives in our imagination.
I took up poetry as one of my humanity courses in University. Studying the work of various writers has been a big part of my English studies as well. I was an ‘A’ student in English. I have really been that passionate about all that the language can bring to the stories of our lives.
I like to create spaces for manifestation in my conversations; I’d like for you to create a bucket list/vision board for all the things you want to achieve by the time you reread this ten years from now?
Oh man, okay, let me attempt this next ten years bucket list/ vision board thing. I would like to manifest:
- Being the author of written storybook turned off-broadway or on broadway musical
- The curator of a Folklore coffee table book and documentary series
- As a PanAfrican Artist, I would like to have added ten more countries to travel and sing in, in Africa: Senegal, Mali, Togo, Benin, Congo, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Tanzania to name just a few on my mind at moment.
- Travelled to 25 more countries around the world; on top of the 25, I have already been too
- Taken up a seat at the Grammys
- Performed at the Montreal Jazz Fest, The Montreux Jazz Fest, the North Sea Jazz Festival, performances AfroPunk, performed at the summer stage in Central Park New York
- A successful global lifestyle TV show inclusive of all my passions: music, interior design, travel, fashion… a curator of culture and people experiences!
Eii, Hayi ke… there it is for all to see! I shall be unafraid! May the force be with me LOL.