‘I have no target audience. I believe my music is an inclusive sound.’ – Zoe Modiga


Over the past few years the singer-songwriter has been part of celebrated festivals such as Joy of Jazz, Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, Oppikoppi, Rocking the Daisies, Bushfire and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival.  We chat to her about her break in the music industry and being part of the Red Bull Music Festival.

When and how did you start music?

Music has always been around me – from making silly play songs as a child to joining the junior choir in primary school. I was often seen as a weird outsider at school, I found myself being quite deliberate about music as an escape and a coping tool. I grew to appreciate my gifts and was privileged enough to study classical clarinet, jazz and singing.

Do you come from a musical background? What influences you?

I come from a very academic background. I am influenced by human experiences and I think if you pay attention, there are beautiful things to find in anything. Right now I’m finding that my heart is opening up to women that sing from Mali.

Please tell us a little bit about your music, what is your sound like?

I released a debut album called Yellow: The Novel in March 2017. Being the producer, composer, songwriter and arranger gave me the freedom to truly express myself at exactly the point that I was at. This has given me wings and allowed me to share stories about life; heartbreak, self-belief and knowing we all occupy this earth for a reason, in the hope that it gives more wings to the listener. My sound is influenced by jazz and soul. I have been overwhelmed by how people have related to the stories and the experience of this piece of work. It’s quite beautiful when what we think are crazy ideas have people that just get it. My people just get it, and I'm grateful for that. 

Who is your target audience?

I have no target audience, I believe my music is an inclusive sound and message. From what I've seen in my shows, “demographic” is a fancy word that usually does not hold any value. I want young minds, I want old souls, I want anyone that wants to embark on a memorable journey. I plan to be timeless. What’s amazing is that I have found a fit with Red Bull. I’m performing at the Red Bull Music Festival next week and I am just blown by how they view music and the spaces in which they facilitate and give life to this ideal. Viewing music as an expansion of mind is so beautiful for me.

Are you currently working on anything? If so, when can we expect it?

Yes, I am prepping for the Red Bull Music Festival, where I will be performing on Tuesday, 03 April 2017 at 73 Juta Street from 18:00. I’m extremely excited to be performing on such a big stage (80 artists) celebrating music alongside very homegrown talent. I am also working on something that will be an extension of Yellow: The Novel but this particular project will thrive in secrecy for now. I am excited to share it when it is ready for the world. Stay tuned.

You’ll be performing at the Red Bull Music Festival, please tell us more about that?

I will be performing at the Red Bull Festival sharing the stage with the soulful Langa Mavuso for a tribute concert that pays homage to those before us. Which I am looking forward to. I mean, what you will find interesting is that the festival will celebrate the different facets of the past, current and future musical spectrum. So, we will be going down memory lane as we say to those before us, “thank you, we see what you've done, we are because you were”. As the saying goes, if you don't know where you come from you can't truly understand where you are going. I’m excited for fans and myself to go to Kwaito Night! The fashion, Trompies paying homage to Lebo Mathosa. WOW! All the classics, the fashion. I am excited!

What does your collaboration with Red Bull mean for your career?

I have come to learn that Red Bull connects and celebrate different genres of music, storytelling and culture in a unique and compelling way. So, for me collaborating with Red Bull means building an alliance with a dynamic, worldwide brand that believes in good music and I can only be happy and fulfilled by that.

What can fans expect from you from the festival?

I will not be doing any music from my own catalogue but I am excited to take people on a trip with my good friend Langa Mavuso. This will be beautiful because people will experience a then and now excursion through ambient music history with a glance into the future of South African music. Langa and I will bring everything we have in us and I am sure it will be a soulful, nostalgic experience. Not one to miss!

Photographer: Tatenda Chidora

Stylist and Art Designer: Neo Mofammere 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24