#WOMENSEdition: Put in the hard work, have a positive attitude. -Melo Mthethwa

#Zazise – In 280 characters (Tweet) introduce yourself.

Melo Mthethwa is my name. Melo, is taken from my full name Tumelo, a Setswana name which means Faith.I truly am a woman of great faith. It is faith and belief that keeps me going each day. I am a musician (pianist), singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, online show presenter, aspiring tv and radio host and actor, fashionista and philanthropist.

Working professional, mother, sister, musician – how do you balance all these and still have time to do handle the 4 C’s (Cleaning, Cooking and Child Care)?   

There are never enough hours in a day but somehow, I get everything done. I guess it is grace.  I cannot say it’s my own doing, because I too do not know how I do it. Most days I give myself a pat on the back but other days I encourage myself to do better the following the day. I find that writing a to do list helps me better manage my day as opposed to haphazardly trying to get everything done.

You are known as Melo and the genre of music you craft is called Motswako Soul, can you share more about your music?

My music is a combination of Setswana and English lyrical poetry on a soulful-jazzy melody. Motswako means combination or a mixture, Mafikeng and Setswana rappers have coined the term to represent hip hop that combines Setswana, English, and other languages. I express myself through a combination of  both languages as well as a combination of genres which include, soul, house, jazz, and gospel.

What first got you into music?

I started playing piano at the age of 6 at the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation in Mafikeng. I then honed my skills by performing at school events, (I was part of a few singing groups), singing competitions and at church. I later became part of a show called Xpressions, a popular music performance show in Mafikeng. At Xpressions, I began composing music and exploring different genres of music, which helped define my sound.

What is your creative process like?

Inspiration comes at any time, normally when a melody or words come into my head as soon as I can, I’ll get my phone and record this. Then I will get to my keyboard and start figuring out the chords to the melody I’m hearing.

Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?

John Legend because I love how he fuses the piano and vocal so melodically. Locally it would be Amanda Black, Ami Faku and Msaki.

Do you have any role models? If so, who?

No, I don’t have role models I have people I draw inspiration from these are people who have overcome difficult situations or who have despite the odds being stacked against them still gone on to become successful in their own right. The likes of Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey, Les Brown, Refilwe Phoolo aka Cassper Nyovest, and Black Coffee to name a few.

What is your favourite song to perform?

It’s a song I wrote titled Lord it’s You. He is the reason I am alive today.

What advice would you give to young Student Living women readers wanting to enter your industry or wanting to be Fempreneurs by building their own Fempire in the music industry?

Put in the hard work, have a positive attitude. You can never be defeated if you have persistence, are reliable and always be prepared. There’s a quote I love it says its better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to not be prepared and then get an opportunity.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

More females in music production, and just generally in leadership positions, not just artists.

What’s next for you and tell us about your single Naledi?

I have a weekly show titled Be Great with Melo Mthethwa which goes live on Facebook. The episodes are also available on YouTube. On the show I have conversations with amazing individuals who have found their purpose and are living a purpose driven life in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. I am also working on streaming performances and making more music.

How do you think South Africa can help in the fight against GBV?

By teaching and allowing the boy child to express himself..By focusing on nurturing the boy child and teaching him to be a good man, a good husband and a good father. Most times our focus is on preparing the girl child to be a good wife, mother and woman while neglecting the boys. They need guidance from a young age. We also need to stop making excuses for boys and letting them get away with anything just because they are boys. We are unknowingly teaching them that they are superior and that they can do anything they want when they want to. It starts with us creating a safe space for boys to cry and express themselves without feeling judged and without making them think its ‘girly’ and ‘weak’. They too feel pain.

Please give motivation and closing remarks to our readers.

You are created to be great; mediocrity is not an option. Despite the challenges go on and Be Great for if not you then who?!

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