Nosizwe has just released her latest single The Best Drug, part of her upcoming album In Fragments. The South African/Norwegian talks working with producer Georgia Anne Muldrow and more.
My name is Nosizwe. I am a singer and a songwriter; a mother; a loving – and difficult – friend; the youngest of five children, which means I am stubborn as hell and probably a lil’ spoilt too; a Gemini. I am a South African and Norwegian creative and activist.
What are your musical influences?
I guess influences aren’t necessarily the same as all the music I have loved and listened to over the years. Jill Scott and Erykah Badu have been significant in my growth. D’Angelo and Bilal are genius humans who have inspired and broadened my Universe… is that the same as influence? I’m thinking too hard.
I am still under the influence of all of them! Even when I disagree with them. Skin in Skunk Anansie felt like looking into my future, looking in the mirror!
Madonna made me vogue and dress weirdly.
I grew up on Miles Davis, Stevie, Aretha, Nina and Marvin Gaye. Nina quiets my soul. Madonna made me vogue and dress weirdly as a ten year old. Janet too! Betty Davis made it all possible!
Talib and Mos made rap mine and not a hand-me-down art from my brother. Lauryn Hill educated me and changed my hair. Beyonce made me love my fierceness. Ninja Tunes kept me going all night. Thandiswa Mazwai makes me want to sing in my mother tongue. My brothers in Madcon are my heroes. Recently, Kendrick. Oh, Kendrick. Oh. Kendrick. I could go on, honestly.
What’s it like to work in the music industry where you are?
It is… interesting? The soul scene is finding a much more established footing of late; there are many more of us taking up prominent spaces on the festival posters and club bookings. Norway is extremely digitised and it is noticeable how many younger artists are navigating their way around the traditional major label chase.
I came up the game the old-school way.
Shout outs to my label! I came up the game the old-school way, first as a backup vocalist, then performing A LOT in a variety of spaces. I am thankful for the experiences! And sometimes, working out of Norway can feel insular and isolated from the rest of the world.
What’s a night out like where you live?
Messy! Perhaps this is everywhere? I love to dance. I love it like, I love it.
So whatever happens before, whether it is a lol-night with my sisters in life, an exhibition with free wine or a burger-joint party, somewhere, not too close to the end, there is a serious amount of no talking just dancing, dancing. I don’t go out as much as I used to, but this dancing, thankfully, prevails whenever I do.
What has it been like working on your upcoming album? Who have you been collaborating with?
It has been trying! Challenging and heart-opening and painful and wonderful. Yoga in the studio, I guess. Georgia Anne Muldrow has produced the entire album, which I am incredibly honoured and excited about.
Georgia doesn’t just make music, she is music.
She is Magic! She has always been both a major influence and source of inspiration to me, so having been given an opportunity to make my debut album with her has been a major key in my life. Georgia doesn’t just make music, she is music. I know that sounds trite, it is hard to be descriptive about musical genius, I feel.
I have tried to write from an authentic space and not from the corner in my mind where I think about what people will think/say/and so on, and not to appeal to the imagined me, how I would like to sound, you know; smart and sexy and intellectual but non-abrasive.
I have had people I have called in panic; I have cried in the studio; we have gone into the details, in the seams of both the words, and the music; tossed things back and forth and taken our time, even when we had none.
I have an insane list of collaborators.
I have birthed a project I am proud of. And it would not have been possible without the incredible amount of people who have put their time and energy into this. I have an insane list of collaborators who have been kind enough to bless this project: Guilty Simpson, Kinny, Naima Mclean, René Mclean, Son of Light, Denmark Vesey, and that is not even mentioning all the incredible musicians who have been involved. I meeeaaan, faakkk. I am lucky and fortunate.
What’s the music scene like in Norway?
It is dynamic! It’s poppin’! Even though government regulations keep trying to shut great clubs down or minimise the time out one has to listen to music and radio stations are constantly streamlining to appeal to a younger market more interested in commercial music from abroad.
Incredibly talented people emerge anywhere.
Like dandelions, good music and incredibly talented people emerge anywhere and everywhere and there are always many of them! The music coming out of Norway these days is really great. And the scenes supporting all of us are wonderful.
What song do you listen to: (a) turn up to (b) feel sexy (c) pine over your ex
(a) I’m loving the new Alicia Keys, In Common! Hey gurl, hey! And LITE SPOTS from Kaytrananda! Ouf.
B) Suede by NxWorries makes me feel a certain type of way. Aaliyah’s Rock The Boat makes me dance all sexy in the cluuub. Sexy in private, is private! ha ha ha ha.
(c) I have killed Seu Jorge, crying to his music over an ex. The last one, I don’t remember what I listened to. Everything is black and blocked out from then. It is great to cry over good cry music tho. Very therapeutic.
Describe your brand-new single The Best Drug in three words.
Dancey, loving, music!