Moonchild Sanelly has to be one of the most entertaining personalities to interview in the country – even above Julius Malema, Bonang Matheba and maybe on par with Moshe Ndiki and Somizi. An interview with Moonchild is a laugh a minute and our recent conversation with the musician, poet, and now reality TV star was just the latest example.
Moonchild Sanelly’s whirlwind of a path to global stardom, including collaborations with Beyonce and The Gorillaz along the way, has intersected with mine several times. I first met the blue-mop-haired enigma in the busy Johannesburg culture hub that is Braamfontein. Then, she was an exciting poet and artist in the city’s art space, with a strong following already. I was an eager-eyed intern for a culture magazine.
In the instances we’ve met since then, she’s been rising further and further up the entertainment ladder. Another time she was performing at Bassline with an acoustic guitarist and a saxophonist. She probably didn’t see me.
Another time, we bumped into one another at a backpackers in Maboneng. “Hey Tinashe!” She greeted before I could even fumble my way through a greeting. I remember being impressed by her memory!
That night, I was out drinking with friends, she was waiting for 1 AM so she could take an interview with a radio station and perform her newest single on air. “If I perform it on air, it has to get playlisted. So this interview might be tough, but it’s going to help us get massive airplay in the long run” she said.
Even at that time, I could see that she was an incredibly strategic musician and was cut from a very different cloth. We would bump into each other again on the set of MTV’s NewsISH, once or twice more at events until the fateful week when we would end up speaking about her newest venture: her reality show Moonchild Sanelly Woza on MTV Africa.
She picked up the phone and as soon as I introduced myself she interjected, “Wait Tinashe as in Tinashe Tinashe?” Before I nervously laughed and confirmed our latest interview.
I did say she’s got a great memory!
Moonchild Sanelly invites us into her world
How does it feel to be Moonchild Sanelly RIGHT NOW in 2021?
Um, it feels pretty f***ing awesome! I have always loved being Moonchild Sanelly but I must admit that it feels really great at this moment in time [laughs]!
You have had an exceptional last 24 months. You’ve always been a big deal, but now you’ve certified yourself on the world stage. Was this always the plan?
Well, yes and no. I always believed that I was a different minded artist and I had the ambitions of reaching the heights that I’m beginning to touch now. But it doesn’t mean that I knew it was going to happen exactly like this, you know? I knew I would make it to the top, and I will still make it further to the top! But I didn’t always predict some of the opportunities that would change my career for the better. But at the same time, things always work out as they should, I’ve been working my a** off to get to this point and I do feel that I deserve what has been due to me for some time. It feels great.
You’re a multi-talented artist. A musician, a poet, you can dance, I’ve heard you sing, and now you’re a reality TV star!
I’m an entertainer honey! I entertain the people! The people want to be moved, they want to move, they want to groove. So i bring the people exactly what they want. I was born to do this.
How did you feel when MTV Africa first explored the idea of a reality show?
I was very excited because I think I can say I’ve been on the scene for some time, so some people believe they know me. But they still don’t know me like that, and this show I knew from the get-go would be the opportunity for them to get to know me a lot better. So I welcomed it, I embraced it and now it has come to life in a beautiful way.
Why should people tune in to MTV Africa to watch Moonchild Woza?
To get to see a completely different side of my life to what they already think they know. It’s entertaining, it’s authentic and it’s probably the closest thing to spending some time with me and seeing what goes on in Moonchild’s day-to-day adventures.
You’ve made massive waves internationally, teaming up with the likes of Beyonce and The Gorillaz. Do you feel the world is ready for you?
Absolutely! I’ve got a great team behind me and they’ve been helping to make my vision a reality. Some of the opportunities were mindblowing and now we all realise that the time for more work, more coverage, and more international collabos is now!
What other plans do you have on the global scale right now?
I’ve got a billboard in Times Square right now and in Toronto, it’s just gone live like right now! So we are really serious about our global expansion. AND I’ve got a new album coming out this year! It’s a crazy time, things popping.
You once tweeted about wanting to win a Grammy one day. Do you feel like you’re closer than ever to achieving your ultimate goal?
Well Beyonce won a Grammy for Lion King: The Gift which means… those who worked on that record essentially shared that Grammy with her. Which means…
I’m speaking to a Grammy-winning musician?
[Laughs] Congratulations and we look forward to even more Grammy wins. Please don’t forget about us when your new album drops!
As soon as it drops, you can be the first to hear it and review it!