Our favourite Moghel Bonang Matheba recently shared a tweet sharing what we could rightfully assume are regulars on her playlist; a string of artists she would like to witness at a festival - and on that list was a name you might not know - Mpho Sebina. The Mochudi born lass is a neo soul songstress revered in every corner of entertainment and I recently had a chat with her about her upbringing, career and what we can expect from her going forward.
Tell us about your childhood. What was it like?
My mother named me, Mpho ( A Gift) because I am her second daughter and she deemed it a blessing. I was born in 1989, July 18 in Mochudi , Botswana. Raised by my single mother, in my early years , who then remarried in 1998 to my step father a lawyer for the Botswana Defence Force, who then introduced me to my 3 step brothers and 1 half brother. The first few years of my life were quite up and down , with my parents divorce, I moved from living with my birth parents, to living with my sister and birth dad to then moving in with my single mother and then moving into a home with my new brothers. I was a wallflower growing up , in the household as well as in school, never really expressing myself and still have a hard time doing so .
What was your introduction to music and did how you become an artist, did you go straight to singing/producing or did you start off breakdancing or something? Who were the earliest people you can recall helping you along the beginning of your journey?
Thankfully I had amazing music playing around me growing up. I have this one aunt who was totally in love with Bob Marley and Reggae culture which trickled down to my ears and heart as well. There was another aunt who introduced me to Miriam Makeba, I remember my cousins and I having “Pata Pata” the Album on repeat , my dad had the Mbongeni Ngema “ Sarafina- The Sound Of Freedom” Album which i absolutely love. I have an older sister , 6 years my senior, whose music selection influenced me the most, firstly Mariah Carey and then a whole lot of hip hop, soul, kwaito and R&B from Method Man to Amel Larrieux to Boom Shaka. When I started exploring music on my own I fell in Love with Sade at “Lovers Rock”. That was a magical moment for me! “King of Sorrow” is one of my all time favourite songs. I resonate with her and her music style a'lot.
My musical journey started with the love for it , from hearing it all the way throughout high school. When I got to university , in Malaysia, I met a guy who owned a studio and we became friends and I would record covers at his studio , that’s when the thought that I could pursue music started popping up in my brain, i started to explore writing and it's In Uni where I wrote my debut single “Loves Light” At that moment I was listening to a song by the “BLK JKS” titled “Tselane”. the music was so beautiful I was inspired to write and Loves Light came out. At this point I had dabbled in a few studios back in Botswana but I hadn't found a place to call home. I graduated , moved back to Botswana and was studio hopping until a very good friend of mine KEB introduced me to Favi and we’ve been making music ever since! Somewhere along the line i decided to quit my job and pursue music full time.
How has your approach to creating music changed from the time you started til now? And your sound?
My creative process is heavily influenced by beautiful melodies and my personal life experiences. I’m still in that same realm.
What's the most important lesson you've learned thus far about being in the entertainment industry?
Still learning! Learning to fight to be heard and stay strong in my voice and opinions! But just Have everything in writing and signed!
Do you have any plans to expand your creative aspirations? Breakdancing? Directing? Photography?
I love art and creating and I’d love to go into dance , film and fashion one day! I was meant to study fashion after high school but decided to go the Business route. I would love to produce my own music one day too.