IN celebrating local women, Fever’s Phindile Shozi chatted to versatile songstress Nonzwakazi Siphokazi Maphumulo about her love for music. Who is Nonzwakazi Siphokazi Maphumulo? Nonzwakazi is a 26-year-old Afro pop singer who resides in Durban. I was born in Esikhawini, went to primary and high school in Esikhawini and came to Durban to study at UKZN — Howard Campus. I am versatile, have a bold personality, am positively influential, and am a hard worker. I hold an Honours Degree in Industrial Psychology, but I love music with my life and I also do opera and classical music. PS: Tell us about your journey with the Clermont Choir. NS: I joined the Clermont Choir in 2011, when I came to Durban, and it gave me many platforms when I was a soloist. As time went by, the choir’s versatility made me realise that I can try out a solo career. I am still part of the choir and if I am not on stage with the choir, I am behind the scenes. I am always there, no matter what, onstage or offstage. PS: What encouraged you to stand on your own? NS: I am a leader, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and go beyond the platforms the choir provides. I have been writing songs for quite some time, but I wanted to spread my thoughts to the world. I always knew that when the time was right, and when I have matured enough to be a solo artist, it will happen. And it is now happening. PS: What inspires you? NS: I wanted to release songs that speak to every person’s identity and pride. I wanted to give people a taste of who Nonzwakazi is. When you listen to my singles, you will hear the African rhythmic patterns that I love so much.I am inspired by women empowerment and a love of culture and tradition. PS: Tell us about your songs. NS: Phakama Mbokodo is an inspirational song that is dedicated to all the women all over the world. Women are so busy with powerful positions and being mothers and motivators. Phakama Mbokodo is a song that you can listen to after a long day, or before you go and do that presentation in the boardroom. “You [are] the fire, you can do it, you can lead”. Igugu Lam is a very rhythmic song that talks about loving and embracing culture and tradition. It’s a song that always reminds you to never forget who you are and where you come from. PS: Are you looking to releasing an album? NS: I will be releasing my album next year as I am currently working on it and I need to make sure that I give people a great work of art. In December, I will release my third single, Awung’deservi — which translates to “You don’t deserve me”. PS: What challenges have you come across in your musical journey? NS: In my music journey, challenges I face include time-management. I am always working on managing time well, and this goes with understanding there are things that you cannot do.When you are an upcoming artist, you get pressured into accepting everything [bookings] that comes your way and that results in clashes, which make you look unprofessional. I have learnt, and I am still learning, to manage my time well.Another challenge is interacting with people who do not respect your craft. People would get in touch with you and book you, but will tell you that they are giving you exposure. As an upcoming artist, you can get confused and wonder — I need exposure, but how long am I going to do “exposure” gigs. It’s just a challenge we all face. Hopefully, as the brand grows, my career will get the respect it deserves. PS: How did you overcome these challenges? NS: By understanding the importance of giving myself breaks in between busy weeks, and handling my diary well. One thing that keeps me going is the amazing support I get from my parents and my close people. Their support just keeps me going, even in tough times. PS: What is your message to others? NS: Be a go-getter. Be a woman who is able to approach women who are great influencers and just ask them how they made it. Do not sit at home and wait for things to come to you — 90% of the things I do, I had to hunt relevant people down and pitch my brand and that was it. Whatever positive thing you want to do, just start.