Leomile on her musical pursuit to know love

As we get ready for yet another amazing show at the Market Theatre Lab on 6 May, we caught up with one of our guest performers, Leomile. Find out more about her music and what a music festival curated by her would sound like.

Who is Leomile Motsetsela and what is your work about?
The thing about not having an alias is that I never know whether to focus on the name “Leomile” in the context of the interview or in totality coz that Leomile Motsetsela is the sum total of so much. Anyway, I’ll isolate. I am a storyteller focused at this moment on creating through singing, song writing and performance of my creations.

Firstly I want to say that most of my work on this first album was not very intentional and so I am as much a student of it as I am the teacher. My work is about the pursuit to know love. I observe, reflect on and retell the human experience (mainly my own) in an effort to heal from all the things that alienate me from the truth – love. As a young black, African woman there are a lot of systems working to perform this alienation so my work has multiple themes like feminism or decolonisation but all in an effort to re-learn love.

What 3 words would you use to describe what you imagine audiences experience during your performances?
That’s a tough one. I’d rather say what I would like them to experience: Happiness, healing and love

Last year you launched your debut album, Pula-molomo. Tell us more about the album; what’s its sound and who did you work with in its creation?
Pula-molomo means an offering and is a display of goodwill and peaceful intent in the Basotho culture before one engages an important conversation. The conversation takes place between the listener and I on the issues I mentioned before and it’s a magical miracle creation because of all the constraints that were surrounding its creation. The 13 track album is in Sesotho and English and while I prefer it to be genre-less when I have to I call it Afro-fusion (Or the new Gospel). It’s has a distinctly African identity because of language and some of the guitars but it’s got a Jazz influence and layers and layers of other sounds.

I wrote and composed on all the songs although on some like “Faro”, “Song for Pulane” and “Mamela”, I co-composed with Ntate Thabang Noosi, Kenridge Rambau and Zelizwe Mthembu; all very talented and creators outside of my space.

If I only heard one track from your Soundcloud page, which song would you like it to be?

Geeesh, that’s a bit difficult. “Lerato le Felile”. It’s a heartbreak tune but it’s difficult to hate and it’s relatable and easy to sing-along to.

…now of course there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t listen to a lot more than just this one track. Listen to more of her music here.

Who has had the biggest influence on you as an artist?
Julia Cameron. I think her book “The Artist Way” really helped unlock my creativity. I suffer from serious impostor syndrome and it reassured me that I belong and that I’m not conceited in my creative efforts at a very crucial time in my creative career.

What has been the most challenging aspect of pursuing a career in the arts?
Hands down being an independent musician! It’s not easy to be the face of your business. People try and exploit you because they assume you’re desperate.

If you could curate your own music festival. What would you call it and which bands/musicians would be on your line up?

I can’t tell you the name because then someone might steal it before I get down to actually doing it 😉 Is the line-up African or just like the whole world? Okay, I’ll keep it African for the sake of sanity. This is so difficult I’m questioning if I even like music at all.

Leomile

Umle

Msaki

Thandiswa Mazwai

The Brother Moves On

Kommanda Obbs

Morena Leraba

Yusuf Makongela

Cortina Whiplash

To be continued…I can’t think right now

What can the Word N Sound fam expect from you on 6 May?
An outer body experience if I have anything to do with it 😛 And if I’m being modest, the stripped down show which is me and 2 guitars. It’s an intimate experience of the music because I can emote more and have much more space to play around. The bareness gives more emphasis to the lyrics which I think a poetic family like Word N Sound will appreciate. Truthfully, we hope to serve love and healing – that’s all.

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