Words: Bianca Agenbag
With an electric look and a very distinct sound, Moonchild Sanelly demands attention and telling by the buzz surrounding her name she is getting it. Just who is this blue-haired bombshell?
She’s a local celebrity and not just for her musical achievements. She’s the kind that will be sipping on a beer and smoking cigarettes, mid-morning, no fuss.
After moving to Jo’burg in 2011, Moonchild has become quite a feature in the city, and more specifically in the cultural hub of Maboneng where she resides. Everyone knows and loves her, from the local ice cream vendor to regulars in restaurants and passers-by on the street.
She’s bold and unapologetic and as an artist, she isn’t hesitant to speak her mind while simultaneously trying to open the minds of others. She’s passionate when she speaks about her aspirations to educate through music. And has faced many a radio station refusing to work with her or play her music because of this.
Moonchild deals with very serious issues through her music style (sex, eating disorders, political injustice and social ills) and explains that it is because she wants to teach people. She calls herself a serious topic tackler, and full of shit, but promises to package this to you in the sweetest wrapper.
One can definitely see what she means in her song Twitter, which deals with the twisted nature of human relationships through the advent of social media, through telling the story of a bird buying airtime to talk to his crush instead of just flying over to say hello.
When it comes to her sound, you will hear that it is completely different to anything that has previously come out of South Africa. Described as “cheeky pop that blends Afro-Futurism with electro-synth delivered in Xhonglish”, we will simply say it’s alternative, yet versatile and pulls a wide variety of music lovers- and back this with mentioning that her debut album, Rabulapha!, was nominated for Best Alternative Album at the 2016 South African Music Awards.
On being nominated for a SAMA, she gets quite serious, and said that although it is very rewarding to get nominated for this award after years of struggling in a male-dominated scene it still feels like a bit of a sympathy pat on the back and that she’d rather see South African artists value themselves more, especially the women.
While Moonchild is definitely holding her own in a male-dominated music landscape, she is making it her mission to have South African female artists value themselves. She encourages every one female artist out there that they better start valuing themselves, that it is the only way everyone else will.