Canadian-based Botswana musician, Trinity Mpho is back in the country and preparing for his performance at the upcoming and annual Hamptons jazz festival in Gaborone. The Afro-Jazz sensation left Botswana in 2012 to pursue a music career far from home. Was it difficult for him to adapt to a different culture? Was he welcomed? How has life been for him in North America? Too many questions but rest assured, Botswana Unplugged recently spoke with Trinity and he shared it all…
Good to see you, finally home sweet home. How are you holding up and how has Canada been?
Thank you. It is wonderful to be back in Botswana. I have received such an affectionate welcome from friends, family and fans. I have missed the beauty and the warmth of our country. Life in Canada has been great. The music community has embraced me and our music. I am proud to be bringing Botswana culture to North America. The winters are very cold but nothing a warm hat, coat and gloves can’t handle although I do prefer the sun of Botswana (laughs).
Speaking of Canada, how did you end up there?
I relocated to Canada in 2012 after releasing my debut album in 2011. My album was doing well and was well received. It was then that I decided I needed to spread my wings and take my art to the rest of the world. My focus was either America or Europe, luckily at that time Botswana and Canada had free visa arrangement and I made a decision to leave and fast forward to now, here I am.
You’re one of the few Batswana international artists, how simple and difficult it is to be a foreign artist?
As with all things; there are always challenges to being an artist in a new country. Canada is very multicultural and therefore allows artists from different countries to shine. Even when I sing in our language, people relate to the music. Of course with so many diverse styles of music in the market one has to be diligent about promotion and working to break down the genre barriers. It has been a privilege in Canada to have had the opportunity to play with musicians who represent so many different nations from around the world, many of them from other African nations. My experience in Canada has enhanced my music and given me a broader understanding of our world as a global community while all the time remembering that I am proud to be from Botswana.
You are said to be gearing up for the Hamptons jazz festival…
I am very excited and honored to be playing at this year’s Hamptons Jazz Festival. I will begin rehearsals shortly. The show promises to be spirited, lively and very entertaining. My manager from Canada is coming to Botswana for the festival (her first time) and I will be very proud to be her guide through our beautiful Botswana.
Locally, there seem to be a few fake managers for lack of better description and you tell me, you have a manager, what role do they play and please your relationship?
My manager, Sandra Whiteley, helps to keep me on track to being a musical ambassador for Botswana. As my manager she deals with contracts, publicity and the business of music allowing me to focus on the creative. However, she does not only manage me, but she also directed my video for Soul Haven. She is an award winning film maker and a very good friend.
Is music sustaining your livelihood?
Music has always sustained me. It is what I breathe and my reason for living. The 50th Botswana Independence celebrations are coming (Vision 2016), I am sure you following the local charts. Have we done enough in as far as the creative industry is concerned etc.? I am happy to see arts in Botswana on the rise. It is so thrilling to be entering this year of celebrations. As the arts and culture of Botswana continues to grow, I think the government will react in a favourable way by giving more support to artists and assisting them in making Botswana culture an international sensation.
2016 is here, what can Batswana expect from you, are you working on a new project, when is it coming out, describe it?
I have begun work on my new album. As you know, January 1, 2016 was the launch date of my new video and I will be releasing my new album and another new video by mid-2016. My new album will be more progressive and will reflect all the experiences that have affected my life and growth as a musician.
How did you spend your festive?
I spent most of my time with family. I have missed them dearly, more specially my mom and part of my time was dedicated to my supporters as well as reaching out to my home village’s cultural events.
We are looking forward to your performance at the star-studded Hamptons jazz festival?
For sure, I can’t wait too!
- HOW TRINITY MET HIS MANAGER!
“I met Trinity at The Abandze Embassy, an intimate recording studio and cultural venue here in Toronto, while he was rehearsing for a show at the very prestigious “Musideum”.I was really taken aback with his music and his stage presence, enough so that I had bought a ticket to see the performance. The evening proved to be delightful. Following that performance we ran into each other at various cultural events and began talking. I love his music and Trinity’s dedication to his art inspired me to take an active role in his career. As a professional musician, Trinity is conscientious, creative and always working to please his audiences. When we shoot the video for his song “Soul Haven”, Trinity was easy to direct because he trusted and embraced my creative concept. Our Director of Photography, DF Whiteley, was also happy with Trinity’s ability and personality on camera. Trinity is a true joy to work with and a very dear friend”. – Sandra Whiteley.