Considered as having the potential of a Miriam Makeba or Sibongile Khumalo, Zoë Modiga didn’t choose music, music chose her
Words: Bianca Agenbag
Carving out a name for herself as a soulful songstress characterized by her fearless, playful, and poignant personality, Zoë has already shared the stage with some of SA’s most celebrated artists (Gloria Bosman, Matthew Gold, The Kiffness, Lira, Ladysmith Black Mambazo etc.), is a regular at prestigious music festivals (Aardklop Festival, Artscape Youth Jazz Festival, UCT Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival) and secured the top 8 spot on The Voice SA after stunning judges with the powerful rendition of Hozier’s Take Me To Church…. All at the age of 23! With a fan base growing by the day and raving reviews all round for her debut album “Yellow: The Novel” Zoë is definitely one worth watching!
When meeting her it becomes clear that the young artist has the ability to light up a room! She carries herself with lighthearted grace and spreads happiness wherever she goes, living life by the following lyrics:
Her arms stretch wide
To receive life
And her roots go deep into the black earth
Wild strength and she blooms
– “Blue Rose” Lizz Wright.
Of course, we had to get to know her a little better…
The Wire: What are you up to right now?
Zoë Modiga: Right now I’m in an interesting space of finally having my debut album. “Yellow: The Novel” out and trying to get as many hands on the music as possible.
Tell us more about who Zoe is?
Zoë is introverted, passionate, spiritual, quirky, sensitive and a glorified weirdo, really.
How did studying in a creative hub such as Braamfontein influence you?
I appreciate schooling in Braamfontein. I was exposed to some of SA’s best theatre houses and established, influential people gave talks at school all the time. It really helped my dreams
seem a lot more tangible, and to top it off, there was always a supply of constant inspiration… and crazy people.
Where did your interest in music start?
I’m not too sure. I just remember being taken to go watch the South African theatre production “Iphi Ntombi” at the Alexandra Theatre as a kid and I’ve been told I couldn’t stop imitating a lead actress from that show. Guess, I was brainwashed early on. Thank God.
How would you define your sound and who are your musical influences?
I don’t really like defining sound, but I can say the album has an African, soul and jazz influence. I draw inspiration from everything.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
I would like to collaborate with Nakhané (he knows this), Thandiswa Mazwai, Ringo, Asa… the
list is endless.
Most memorable career moment?
So far, doing the opening for the 2010 World Cup was surreal. I don’t think I have felt energy like that before or since.
Who makes you totally star struck?
Laura Mvula. I was performing alongside a jazz band called “TRC” at the Cape Town International Jazz Fest this year. I tried to talk to Laura and chickened out because it became too intense to put a simple sentence together.
What T.V show would you love to make an appearance on?
Any sitcom, local or international. As for performing, any show that will have me.
What song sums up your life?
Lizz Wright; “Blue Rose”.
Name three things you cannot live without?
God, music, family.
What is something no one knows about you?
My car’s name is Nina Simone because she is an ultimate inspiration.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
YELLOW. Yellow is the epitome of happiness to me. A world without yellow is a very gloomy place to live in.
Which other talent would you most like to have?
Being able to lick my elbows would be great.
If you were to die and come back as a living person or thing, what would it be?
I’d like to come back as a pink jellyfish. I read up about them being immortal. If it’s true, I definitely want that.
What is your most treasured possession?
My guitar and keyboard.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I have no idea, maybe you could tell me. I love all people and they all experience me differently. Let’s go with “warm-hearted”, for the sake of answering the question.
What is your wildest fantasy?
I have those all the time. But right now, I would like to be able to teleport and be in many places all at the same time.
What word/ phrase do you overuse?
“That’s a vibe”
What is next for Zoe?
Zoë is just focussing on being a beautiful human being to herself and to other people and accomplishing all her goals. Stay tuned 🙂