She keeps the fire blazing and escalates the bar so high; She has worked with big names such as Heavy K and glued two degrees on her name. Meet Natasha Mabaso, a South African singbird as she shares her trail in music and how she juggles it with school.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Natalia Mabaso is a 23 year old full-time law student. I have currently held 2 science degrees from Wits University. I’ve always loved music from a young age, I played the saxophone and piano when I was in high school and always loved singing. I am an academic at heart but music is a huge part of who I am.
When did you start writing your own songs?
I’ve been writing my own songs since I was about 8. My mind is always buzzing with ideas.
Which among your songs gave you the hardest time to write?
Probably Uyeke where I’m featured with Heavy K, the pressure of working with such a huge name in the music industry made me very very nervous. Thankfully the song came together so perfectly.
Talking of Uyeke, where did the inspiration come from? How did the idea come about?
Well, I heard the beat at Heavy K’s studio and it reminded me of ‘another day in paradise’ by Brandy so I decided to incorporate the original melody lines into the verse to give people that feeling of nostalgia, I was very intentional about wanting the song to remind people of an old classic. The song is about love, well more specifically a woman asking to be loved, I think the soulfulness of the production needed the subject matter to something of a sweet nature.
How was it like working with Heavy K?
It was amazing, I was star struck at first but he is so humble and made sure I was super comfortable so it felt like I was working with an older brother. One of my best recording experiences so far.
You have 2 degrees on your name, and the third one is doing press ups already, how do you balance music and academics?
It’s actually not as crazy as most people might think, I use any spare time I have to finishing writing songs and then maybe I’ll record on a weekend and it does not take me more than 3 hours to finish a song. It’s really manageable. School gets very hectic sometimes but, that would be the case even if I wasn’t doing music.
Musicians such as Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera to mention but a few, dropped out of school and fully gave their energy to music, have you ever been in a situation where you feel like dumping academics and concentrate on music fulltime?
Absolutely not. I’m actually one of those people that genuinely love school, I love it just as much, if it not more than music. There is nothing more empowering than being educated. There are so many changes I want to make in society, as much as it is possible to do so as an influential musician, I would rather do so from a fully informed position with my degrees to back me up.
Do you sing in the shower?
I wouldn’t be a true musician if I didn’t (laughs), that’s where I give my best performances.
Which musician do you look upto?
In South Africa, probably Lira. She is the epitome of authenticity and grace. Internationally I’d say Beyonce, her work ethic is unmatched.
If you were to change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
I think there needs to be more respect between artists. I know it’s important to inspire some kind of competition between artists to maintain a high quality output of music but, it needs to always be accompanied by respect and humility. Diversity needs to be better celebrated, it shouldn’t be that everyone has to make the same kind of music in order to gain popularity.
If you were to collaborate with one of South Africa’s hip hop artiste who would it be?
Kwesta definitely. He’s just brilliant, he can turn any song into a hit song.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Make music for yourself, perform for yourself, whatever you do, make sure it pleases you first because if you try pleasing everyone, you’ll fail everytime’
This advice has made me a lot more confident in my musical ability, as long as I love what I’m creating I’ll appreciate the love I receive but most importantly, I won’t care about the negative opinions, those opinions won’t stop me from making music or make me feel like a failure because I know I would have created exactly what I wanted and that’s all that matters.
Lastly, there is a song you did with De Mogul SA called ‘thando lwakho’, tell us a bit about it.
This song is a beautiful wedding type of song. De mogul SA sent me the beat and I had an idea instantly. The song is basically a woman telling a story of how she met the love of her life, and how they arrived at the present moment of becoming one. It is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever written. Women really resonate with it.