The first time we came across Jordie Ngala’s soothing voice was through one of the hottest songs to ever come out of BW titled ‘Golesedi’ aptly produced and engineered by DJ Chef Gustos. The 22-year-old and 3rd year Network Security and Computer Forensics student at Botho University is fast carving her own golden niche in the cutthroat music industry and has set her ambitions beyond the usually short-fused lifespan locally.
Born and bred in Mahalapye, Jordie started her schooling at Nthomphe Primary School before proceeding to Mowana Secondary school. The nomadic Ngala was later transferred to Orapa albeit shortly before heading to do her Form 4 at Good Hope, where she didn’t last as she was immediately transferred back to Mahalapye where she completed her Form 5 at Madiba Senior School.
It was after Madiba that Ngala packed her bags and came back to the capital city, Gaborone. Like any first timer in the city, she found the hustle and bustle of Gaborone quite vexing but she remained resolute to stamp her own authority unperturbed. #BotswanaUnplugged recently had a chat with the talented yet humble vocalist to find out what makes her tick…
When and how did you discover you had this amazing talent?
Well, ever since I was a kid really. I remember vividly growing up as a little girl that I loved to sing. I even had my own songbook where I’d write my own songs and also memorized people’s songs too. I was very good. By the way, I would learn a song in seconds and usually my mom would get mad at me. Anyways, when I got into my teen years I started singing in the church praise and worship team as both a lead singer and backup artist.
Going into my twenties, I went to varsity and I started feeling heavily inclined to take my passion seriously and I did exactly that without looking back. I grew up listening to an assortment of different influential artists.
So it’s safe for us to assume your biggest break came with Chef Gustos. Please explain …
Wow! Where do I even begin! So apparently, he heard a voice note of me singing for a mutual friend and he thought I was really good so he decided to source my number and text me and he did and he asked me to sing anything random and I composed a song on the spot, he was sold and immediately asked me to do a song with him and I agreed. He immediately sent the beat and we talked about the concept, and I wrote the song 2-3 days and 4 days later we met at the studio and started recording the song.
So you’re not only a vocalist but you’re a songwriter too. Can we expect the album sooner?
Right now my focus is to push the single ‘Golesedi’ and myself too. I’m workingon a few singles of my own so that I can give people a sense of what kind of music I do because this feature with Chef Gustos has people assuming I am a House vocalist only but that’s not the case. And since I’m finishing varsity next year it will be fair to everyone for me to work on the album next year at least.
You are still young, how do you balance your everyday schedules?
It’s really difficult balancing varsity and music. I won’t lie. I remember year one when I started putting in work at the studio recording and stuff and I would get home after hours and that would cause tension in the house and somewhat affected my results too because I had at some point neglected school.
I almost failed and that for me was a wake up call to say, ‘balance or focus on one thing at a time’. That’s when I made a personal decision to put the music on hold until year 3 leading towards year 4, at least push school then that’s when I’ll do music full time in future. My manager wasn’t happy with this decision because they felt like I’m delaying my destiny and I’m causing stagnation in my musical talents but I made them understand that I wanted to get my degree and from there nothing will stand between me and my dream.
Great decision you made, so where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Well in 5 years’ time besides making gang money, oh man there is a lot I want to achieve really. I want to be a big brand that’s recognized worldwide. I also want to perform before huge audiences, have gang collaborations with the biggest names in the music industry as a whole; from beedub to the rest of the world. Above everything else, I want to carry my own weight in this industry, carry my own weight as an individual artist to help build our music industry as Batswana because we all want to see the industry grow.
I personally think it doesn’t make sense to have gang talent in a country such as ours and it doesn’t match the growth of the artists and the industry itself. So yeah, in 5 years’ time I want to look back and see my footprints aloft, and as long as it’s my mark and be able to tell my kids this is what I did in contributing significantly to the growth of the industry.
The music industry is definitely not for the fainthearted especially our womenfolk, how do you manage?
It’s no secret that females in this industry are taken lightly or for granted if I may say.Most of the time when people approach me to do some work for them I refer them to my manager. People like taking advantage of us artists and this is not right. Some think women are soft naturally so they feel I can’t voice out my concerns and unfortunately I do it all the time.
Others assume just because I am a female I can’t maneuver my way through the industry by myself with the help of my team without necessarily getting involved in dodgy deals or whatever and it annoys me when I can’t get credit for all the positive moves I make by myself.