Shooting For The Stars: Moonchild Sanelly

With Jazz in her upbringing (her mother owned a Jazz club), a fashion background, a zeal to be on stage, Sanelisiwe Twisha, popularly known as Moonchild Sanelly always knew she wanted to be an artist.

Born and bred in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, the muso moved after high school to KwaZulu Natal in pursuit of a fashion qualification where she also started performing at poetry sessions, hip-hop open mic sessions and anything that meant she would be on stage, entertaining. While at it, it got to a point where the poetry circles limited her and that is when she moved to Johannesburg to pursue greater opportunities.

Known for her trademark teal wool faux locks hair do, her sexually liberated lyrical content and high-pitched singing: branding and identity have always played a big role in how she presented herself.

After having experimented with many genres of music, Moonchild Sanelly realized that with her style of music, she did not quite fit in within the pre-existing boxes and with that, created a genre she called Future Ghetto Funk – an alternative electronic sound with elements of Tech, Funk and Afro-Punk characterized by big basses and Pop drums, delivered mostly in IsiXhosa.

This sound gave her music international appeal and made her a usual feature in the European festival circuit. The singer has toured internationally with Die Antwoord and has performed at SXSW (South by South West), Primavera and Coachella among many other popular festival stages all over the world. She has then toured the world with her music on her own and headlined at some of them. It was only when DJ Maphorisa’s ‘Midnight Starring’ alongside DJ Tira and Busiswa drew mainstream attention to her and her work. Soon after, her vocal contribution begun to be heard on the works of Shimza, Mo Flava and Heavy K amongst many others.

“Gqom was a natural progression from Future Ghetto Funk,” the singer expressed regarding the transition from her own genre to the popular one. Both the styles of music embrace chucky electronic basses and drumming patterns.

Often slandered in the media and on social media for her openness and female sexual freedom, the artist plans to continue the fight against women’s patriarchal sexual oppression in her music and beyond.

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