"Ke mala maleele ke lala ke ikhunne, ke runne matsetse mo pelong." He is already making waves with his hit song, Mmamotse and fans cannot help but shout the praises of 24-year-old Mmadinare artist, Motlha Mompe whose journey started long before he shot to fame.
There is a Setswana saying that ‘Ntsanyana ya maitaya sebatana e bonwa mabotobotong’ and indeed Motlha’s love for music started when he was seven-years-old. He traces his life in music as having started after scooping the coveted prize in the My Star singing talent; pocketing P100,000 in cash in the year 2015.
“I joined to gain recognition and I can’t say I was in it for the money,” he told Arts & Culture. He said he did not believe in himself then, but the people’s love and support convinced him otherwise.
Motlha said between now and that time, when he vivaciously performed Sia’s hit song, Chandelier in the My Star finale three years ago, he was in a period of polishing himself.
“I was trying to look at the industry from my own angle and learn from the artists who are already there,” he said.
The talented songwriter was quick to emphasise that there was a time when he dabbled in kwasa kwasa in order to keep himself busy.
“I get bored when I don’t sing,” he said. At first he said there was no big purpose because he would get into a studio, record a song, and then send to people via WhatsApp. Motlha, who is synonymous with singing in the vernacular, said he was good when it comes to the subject at school. “If I happen to venture into the outside market, I wanted to sing in Setswana and promote my culture and be different from other artists. Not just normal Setswana, but deep-rooted Setswana from our forefathers,” he said.
He said when his producer, Suffocate asked him to work on Mmamotse, he depended mostly on his skill as a songwriter. “I can tell a story in a catchy way,” he said. Motlha said because he was raised by a single parent, especially his mother, Mmamotse was meant to embrace women. “Mmamotse o bonwa mantlwaneng, you can see what kind of woman a girl will turn
Motlha was quick to highlight that they have already finished working on the album and are just waiting on the management’s approval. “The album is called African Native and is dominated by Setswana lyrics with only one song being English,” he said. In the album he has featured ATI, Yvonne and Soul Culture from Open Mic Productions.
Commenting on people comparing him to Han C, Motlha said he thinks the comparison comes from the fact that they are almost the same age, same voice and similar ability when it comes to singing in Setswana.
“It will be nice in the future if we worked together because I believe that the music is not for us. We do music for the people. We do music to heal people and encourage others. My wish is to work with everyone who has the same vision,” he said.
His manager and producer, Suffocate said the launch of the album will be on May 26, 2018 and the budget is about P500,000. He said Motlha has a deal with Open Mic Productions in South Africa. “They shot Mmamotse video and they arranged Motlha’s recent performance at Supersport’s Thursday Night With Marawa and YoTV,” he said.
“Open Mic is a leading production company in SA. They’re taking care of his marketing internationally and they are willing to invest in him because they believe he is the next big thing,” he said. Suffocate said the Mmamotse video was shot by Karl White who made videos for big artists like Cassper Nyovest, Sands and many more. Suffocate said they are still yet to find the name for the type of sound, which Motlha is singing. “He is three-months-old in the industry and he has done a lot by penetrating the Botswana and SA markets.”