RISING South African star, Sho Madjozi says she turned down several offers from some record labels because their offers were unacceptable.
Without mentioning names, the rapper told the Weekender this week that she turned down the offers because some had little reward for her while others were “old fashioned”
The singer spoke to the Weekender this week in the run up to her performance at Setsoto Stadium at the Lesotho Times Fanfest scheduled for 3 November 2018.
She is part of a hefty line-up led by legends Oliver Mtukudzi and Tshepo Tshola. Other artistes on the line-up include AKA, Kwesta, Thami, Amanda Black, Nasty C, Lerato Kganyago, Lady Zamar, Trompies and several others.
The Huku hitmaker said there were several South African big names who had rushed to sign contracts but are now regretting because of the warped terms.
She said up to now, she is yet to sign any deal with record labels and she does not regret it as some of the labels are now bringing revised offers.
“I have turned down several offers from local record labels,” Sho Madjozi said.
“I did not agree with the terms when the enquiries were made so I stayed put. I know big South African artistes who signed contracts which I cannot even accept. Some local stables offer a regional deal which is so old fashioned where your music is only distributed in the region and when you go oversees you cannot find your music.
“While I am still considering some new offers, my advice for artistes is it is better to stay without signing any contract if you can. One has to try as much as possible to survive before they commit to any contract. The artistes must ensure that they use social media wisely and market themselves.
“Also, when one is in a position to delay signing, it is always best not to sign,” said the 26-year-old.
The singer said she is now getting enquiries including from international record labels because of the hype that she has created with her social media presence.
She said even the South African record labels which had offered her unacceptable deals initially are now coming back with revised offers.
“I am getting plenty of enquiries right now with revised offers instead of just a house and a regional distribution deal.”
She said however, some artistes are forced to accept unfair deals by their circumstances.
“Some artistes do not even have money to survive. I was fortunate that I was not that desperate and I was coming from a privileged position. I did not take any such deal because you will find that you can have four great albums but your earnings remain the same as stipulated by the kind of deal that one signs.
“I say I was in a privileged position because I have access to studios and producers. I also used social media platforms like Instagram which made me so popular,” she said.
A poet and a writer, Sho Madjozi started off writing music for other artistes. She however, was encouraged to start singing by fellow rapper Okmalumkoolkat whom she had approached to be his ghost writer.
“I noticed that I could rap better than some of these guys and I approached some to become a ghost writer and in 2016 Okmalumkoolkat challenged me to rap.”
When she braved it, she released Dumi Hi phone (which is Tsonga that can be translated to mean I got popular through my phone) in 2017.
Her latest hit Huku, released earlier this increased her popularity.
The rapper who raps mainly in vernacular used Swahili on Huku, a language she learnt when she was in high school from 2008 to 2010 in Tanzania where her father worked for Oxfam.
While she is an inspiration to many young artistes of her age especially women, Sho Madjozi conceded that when she started it was difficult for her pastor mother to accept her path. Her mother pastors at True Vines Church in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
The artiste however, says her family has accepted her lifestyle.
“I am a carefree person from the village who is interested in having a good time. I love travelling and finding waterfalls.”
She also said she also takes comfort in the fact that she can now take care of herself and does not have to live with her parents.
Fun loving as she is, Sho Madjozi said she has big dreams for her Limpopo community which include bringing industries to ensure that young people have access to economic activity.
She said she was disheartened to see several people leaving the Limpopo Province for Gauteng where they struggle to make ends meet staying in townships and often return only return when they are sick.
“I want to build some really cool stuff in my village. Everyone in my village goes to Gauteng but if there was some economic activity in my village people would stay. Instead they go to Gauteng and only go back home when they are sick.
“If there were any industries and some economic activities they would not leave.”
The singer also expressed disappointment at the manner in which female artistes are treated as opposed to their male counterparts. She said female artistes have to work five times more to make it.
She said despite the fact that the duo of Lady Zamar and Shekinah and herself are currently enjoying a lot of airplay in South Africa, event organisers still do not bring all three on the same stage but can afford to book multiple male artistes who sound the same.
Sho Madjozi encouraged fellow female artistes to ensure that they always fight for more female representation at different gigs instead of just celebrating selection of one artiste.
The rapper said she is also working on her upcoming album titled Limpopo Champions League which is due before the end of the year. The album, she said, will carry tracks in a variety of genres including gqom, hip hop, global pop and dance music.
“With the album I want to prove that I can make it on my own. People do not realise the amount of work that female artistes put in. There are several artistes whose music is so good and their effort is instead credited to the popular DJs with who they work.”
Turning to her forthcoming performance in Maseru, the singer said she feels blessed to be part of the line-up.
“It is a blessing for me to be performing alongside artistes like Oliver Mtukudzi whom I grew up listening to. To think that just two years ago I was broke tying to write for other artistes. I do not take it for granted. I would actually love to make a song with Oliver Mtukudzi,” said Sho Madjozi.
Born Maya Maya Wegerif on 9 May 1992, the singer has featured on Okmalmkoolkat’s Ngiyashisa Bhe and Gqi and also on DJ Maphorisa’s Probleme.