I’ve been wanting to post this for a bit but been so caught up.
A couple of years ago, researching the legendary Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse for something – think it was tv show Afro Café – I came across a name: Mpho Skeef. Word was that Ntate Sipho had a daughter in the UK who was also involved in music. Interesting but, with no real access to her music, the fascination died before it even really began, until a few weeks ago when Put Me On It’s newsletter landed in my inbox with the following heading: PLEASE SUPPORT SUPER HOT SOUTH AFRICAN/ SOUTH LONDON SINGER MPHO!
Mpho, as the cliché goes, was destined to make music taking into consideration that, while her father is Sipho Mabuse, her stepfather is South African composer, poet, percussionist Eugene Skeef who has been in the UK since Mpho was 4. She too is a composer and songwriter and has been behind the scenes for some years now as music teacher and backing singer for artists such as Adele, Ms Dynamite and Natasha Bedingfield.
She is finally coming to the forefront with her debut album Pop Art on the Wall of Sound / Parlophone Records which has been home to artists such as Coldplay, Pet Shop Boys, Gorillaz and Tom Jones.
Her first single Box n Locks is making waves in the UK and, although it hasn’t broken into any part of the African market, it is a likeable song that serves as a great launch pad. It is infectious, catchy and fun while also giving insight into the challenges of living outside the boundaries (boxes) that society deems necessary. Mpho serves to have carved her way and it truly reflects her.
As cheesy as it sounds, Mpho (which means ‘gift’ in Sotho) is extremely gifted and is set to reach heights her talent deserves. And she brings with her a refreshing sound that breaks the monotony of the more dominant US music machine that often consumes our ears. Definitely looking forward to hearing more from her and perhaps even catching her on Mzansi (South African) stages in the near future.