Catching up with Le Mpendulo…
She’s redefining the neo-afrosoul and jazz genre by adding a Ndebele twist to her music.
Wondering who we’re talking about?
Fresh off her national tour, Le Mpendulo has been scouring the music scene here and abroad.
We caught up with her to find out a little more about her time overseas and her music.
GI: How did the name Le Mpendulo come about?
LM: My full name is Lebogang. The name Mpendulo was inspired by a childhood friend – her name is Mpendulo. I ended up fascinated by the name and the people around me started calling me by it.
GI: You were born in Mamelodi, were you raised there as well?
LM: I was born, bred and I still stay there.
GI: You’re Ndebele and also write some of your music in isiNdebele as well, why is that?
LM: I was raised by my Ndebele mom so it’s a way of showing how proud I am of my culture. I work both locally and internationally so it’s a great way to educate people about our languages here in South Africa.
GI: Still on the topic of writing, what inspires and motivates you the most when you’re writing?
LM: Deadlines motivate me the most… but my own experiences also play a role. I also write with the intention of uplifting people.
GI: Neo-afrosoul jazz, is not a common genre, how did you decide on it?
LM: I’m largely influenced by my culture and upbringing so I try to fuse the modern and traditional together. I’m a modern traditional girl.
GI: Is singing something you’ve always done and planned to make a career out of?
LM: No, initially I though I’d be a dancer. Later on I realised I was good at drawing hence I pursued that and followed graphic design. Music, has always been something in the background for me but one day it struck me, and I thought ‘Hey, what if I did music?’ Then my church hosted a music workshop where they offered basic guitar lessons…that increased my love for music.
GI: The EP, Ijhada, was released in April, how has it been received?
LM: Very well and the feedback I’ve received has been positive. I even completed my national tour promoting it.
GI: You’ve accomplished quite a bit, tell us more about these accomplishments.
LM: My EP is doing really well, I recently got back from Atlanta, I’m growing in the graphic design industry and my music is receiving airplay on Ikwekwezi FM and Tshwane FM.
GI: The national tour which you recently completed kicked off at Jack Budha, why did you choose to kick it off there?
LM: I’m from Mamelodi. So it is home. I had to start at home before I could perform anywhere else.
GI: You’re also a self-taught guitarist, tell us more about that.
LM: I learnt the basics myself but I’ve also attended Saturday music classes for a year and I’ve received help from Ryan Peters.
GI: How did you feel when you got your first booking?
LM: As you can imagine, I was quite nervous but I also felt quite proud and encouraged. It also made me want to invest more in my craft.
GI: You’ve been part of the line-up at the Motsepe foundation event, the Grahamstown National Arts festival and at the Afro Marimba jazz festival in Europe, how did it feel to perform for such big crowds?
LM: It was an eye-opening experience and it really shaped my thinking.
GI: Who inspires you the most in the industry?
LM: I’m really inspired by Lira. Black Coffee and Bonang, inspire me as well.
GI: Which artists would you love to work with?
LM: I’d really love to work with Black Coffee.
GI: You’ve performed both locally and internationally, do you see yourself settling overseas someday?
LM: Yes! I’ve already stayed overseas for six months so it’s something I’d definitely do. My experience there opened up my mind and inspired me.
GI: How was you stay overseas?
LM: It was amazing. I learnt and grew a lot. I even had opportunity to record in Lil Jon’s studio and to have a photo shoot there.
GI: Would you prefer to make music here or internationally?
LM: I prefer making music here and internationally. It allows me to be relevant here, at home and overseas as well.