Exclusive: Getting To Know Thato Jessica

She keeps it real with us

By  | May 20, 2020, 01:28 PM  | Thato Jessica 

Tswalebs recently got the opportunity to interview award-winning singer and songwriter Thato Jessica about her music and more.

Here's what she had to say about her music career, moving to South Africa and other artists he would love to work with.

Take us through your sound transition from Christian Hip-Hop to soulful R&B?

I joined X-Caliber In 2011. I was the only female vocalist in the group amongst 5  other males. I was 17 at the time, this was my introduction to the music industry. Our group was faith-based in that we would share our belief in God through our music. I loved being in the group and developed a strong love for Hip-Hop. At some point I wanted to share other valued life experiences aside from my faith, like love, heartbreak, social issues etc and when I went solo in 2016, I felt it was the right time for me to experiment and express with my music. I have always loved RNB growing up, I remember my first CD was by Alicia Keys, and so I was naturally inclined to make RNB music, and this time it had a lot of hip hop influences from the group.

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Speaking of transitions, how does a Bachelors in Architecture holder become an R&B superstar?

Growing up as a creative child, I knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to be creative and innovative as a career. Architecture was that choice. I was fascinated by the idea of creatively designing spaces for people. At the beginning of my degree studies, I had always been juggling music and architecture. Midway into my degree I had decided that I wanted to pursue music but I couldn’t just leave my degree because I come from a family that takes education very seriously. I had to finish what I started and not just for my parents but for myself. After I graduated late 2017, I began to pursuit music.

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How does a young creative convince their parents to allow them to pursue music instead of Architecture?

I think finishing my degree gave my parents some form of closure when I decided to pursue music. For them it has always been about securing a future for myself. By the time I finished my degree I was already married, and the decision to pursue music was now upon me and my husband. My parents respected this and have since understood what I want to do with my life.

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What does Thato Jessica do when she is not making music?

When I’m not making music I enjoy making fine art, I love to paint ,I love to design ,I love to be creative in different areas, some of these areas would be fashion designing, graphics and anything that allows me to be create. I’m an all round creative and that’s what really makes me happy.

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  1. Music wise, how has your on-going move from Botswana to South Africa been like?

Moving into a new country has been exciting and scary. Exciting because, I am finally doing what I love in a city that is able to give me the platforms I need to progress as a musician and scary because I have never lived in a big city before and adjusting to this way of life sometimes a bit daunting. I still travel a lot between the two countries so I still get to see my family often. I’m meeting amazing people in South Africa who are making this such a beautiful experience. I’m truly thankful to be here.

  1. Tell us about your experience of being a Motswana singer/songwriter being feature in South African media over the last few weeks?

The past few weeks have been amazing, I’m truly thankful for everyone who has shared my story and invited me over to their platforms. What is it truly humbling experience, and I’m excited for what is to come. I have hope that through this more people can discover my music. South Africa sets the tone for the entertainment industry in many parts of Africa and this has brought me closer to my dream, to reach Africa.

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  1. You have shared stages with musical giants like Lecrae, Salif Keita, and Cassper Nyovest, what has been your most surreal moment?

  2. One moment I will always cherish and remember was the first time I picked up the mic and got to sing on stage. I remember how quiet the crowd was when I walked on stage, That was the first time I felt and knew that singing is what I’m meant to do, this was in 2011 when our group was the opening act for Lecrae’s African Unashamed tour.

  3. Favorite local artist outside of the Hip-Hop and R&B scene?

    Definitely, Black Coffee. From his unique sound, authenticity and humble personality, not only is he a fave but also someone to look up to.

Who would you like to work with, both locally and internationally?

Locally I would love to work with, Sjava, Black Motion, Sun-El, Nasty C , Sho Madjozi, and internationally, definitely Wiz kid, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole,  Chris Brown (maybe) & KELLY ROWLAND! Love her!

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What is your take on the current music scene in Botswana?

Botswana’s Music industry is still growing, there are a lot of talented young musicians there, only I feel we lack in the number of platforms for artists and in terms of RnB and hip hop, the market is smaller compared to South Africa.

What to read next: Thato Jessica goes international

Main Image Credit: Instagram/@ThatoJessica