Five minutes with Nonhle Beryl

By Drum Digital
24 December 2014

Eliminated X Factor South Africa contestant Nonhle Beryl has released an EP of 5 tracks entitled A Merry Little Christmas to thank her fans for supporting her while she was in the competition.

Eliminated X Factor South Africa contestant Nonhle Beryl has released an EP of 5 tracks entitled A Merry Little Christmas to thank her fans for supporting her while she was in the competition.

The vocalist has also been working on some original music which she hopes to release early next year.

Nonhle is also currently performing in Germany and hopes to publish a book soon.

DRUM caught up with singer:

What has the response to A Merry Little Christmas been like? 

People are curious about it. No other South African artist has recorded and released an album of Christmas songs before, even though we hear them in shopping centers throughout the festive season, so people have been excited and curious about A Merry Little Christmas. It's been a nerve wrecking experience for me because, as a new artist, I took a big risk doing something that's never been done before.

You have quite a following in Mzansi, with many people waiting to hear of an album release. Are there any chances of this happening soon?

Yes! In 2015 I will be releasing an album. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but I hadn't found the right team to work with. I have a very unique vision, and need people on my team who won't encourage me to sound like someone else, which is what has been happening in the past. I'm very grateful that I've finally found that group of people.

What are some of your favourite songs off AMLC? 

It's hard to pick one because the're only five songs and each one is special to me. Ubusuku Obuhle (Silent Night), is a completely new arrangement and the timing of the song is very different from the original song. We also added percussion to it, and sounds more South African. I rewrote O Holy Night and titled it 'Ngcwele Ngcwele', and people are in love with it. I'm very proud that. I love the vocal arrangements of 'O Come All Ye Faithful' and 'Little Drummer Boy' as much as I enjoy the smoothness of A Merry Little Christmas/Ukhisimusi Omuhle.

What other projects are you working on?

In 2013 I wanted to release music, but ended up on The Voice of Germany. In 2014 I wanted to release an album, and ended up on The X Factor SA. So, right now, I'm just focusing on marketing A Merry Little Christmas, and am already preparing to go back to studio early 2015. I want to release my album in the summer, so around June/July. I write and arrange all of my songs myself, so I'm focusing on completing all songs I started and working on vocal arrangements so I don't waste time in studio. I like to be prepared when I go into studio.

Have you considered returning to South Africa on a permanent basis? 

I was in South Africa for about 3 months this year, and I loved being with my family, so naturally I considered going back to South Africa on a permanent bases. However, I don't want to come back to South Africa and be one of the crowds. I want to come back when I can make a difference. There's so much social work to do at home, and I want to come back when I can have a major impact and change things. I'll come back permanently when I can have my own talk show.

What is your idea of an 'authentic' Mzansi Christmas? 

A braai. I hope that in my lifetime I'll see a Mzansi Christmas with no fake snow in shopping centers or p'or old black men dressed in hideous, 100 degree Father Christmas costumes. I love that whenever I'm in South Africa over Christmas we go to church in the morning and then come home and my Mom and I cook a huge meal with the men braaing outside. Yes, I'm the one responsible for cooking Christmas lunch at home. I love that we don't sit at the table but everyone dishes up and goes sit outside because it's so hot. That's what an authentic Mzansi to me.

What are some of your biggest dreams going into 2015?

I want to perform at a musical festival in South Africa. There's nothing that compares and is more fulfilling than performing at home. I pray that this will happen for me.

A Merry Little Christmasis available for streaming on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nonhle-beryl/sets/a-merry-little-christmas and for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Kleek and Amazon.

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