Moon­child Sanelly



The only way I know a song will be a hit is if I am able to feel it when I am danc­ing to the beats. If I can’t feel good in my body lis­ten­ing to the song, I don’t make it. Grow­ing up I learnt Latin Amer­i­can and ball­room danc­ing, and ac­tu­ally started teach­ing dance to peo­ple at a com­mu­nity cen­tre nearby. To­day I dance every­where: at home with my daugh­ter, in front of the stu­dio mir­ror, and ob­vi­ously on stage when I’m per­form­ing. At the mo­ment I am the sup­port­ing act for Die Ant­wo­ord on their Euro­pean tour, and it’s in­ter­est­ing to see how the Euro­pean au­di­ences love my moves. They get it.


I hear the crowd. I hear the con­nec­tion. I struc­ture my hooks by lis­ten­ing to how one part con­nects to an­other, and make sure that the writ­ing it­self doesn’t dis­con­nect from the sound. Also, the mu­sic that the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket has caught onto, like ‘Rabubi’, is about how the sound con­nects to some­thing like Spi­der­Man, which is uni­ver­sal. So I make re­lat­able sto­ries with a hook. I’m able to hear when a song is miss­ing some­thing. My at­ten­tion span is very short, and I can hear when some­one’s at­ten­tion will wane with a song. I want a track to make me do some­thing, and sound the way I want to hear it.


I started off study­ing fash­ion de­sign in Port El­iz­a­beth, and now I’m work­ing on my own line for the Euro­pean mar­ket be­tween record­ing my al­bum, so I draw the de­signs and cut the pieces my­self. Work­ing with my hands has al­ways been my first love; it in­spires my mu­sic and iden­tity as an artist. I also write by hand in­stead of typ­ing, which I think makes my mu­sic dif­fer­ent. My de­sign aes­thetic is some­thing that the big brands can at­tach to for spon­sor­ships, so work­ing with my hands has be­come an im­por­tant part of my busi­ness.


I be­gan singing even when peo­ple told me to shut up. In Port El­iz­a­beth, when I stopped danc­ing, my friends and I started this group called Babes Galz be­cause we loved Spice Girls. We used to bat­tle to see who would be Baby Spice. I added my own melody to the songs and then I per­formed at char­ity gigs that my mom found for me. It’s what got me here, to this place where I now per­form around the world.


My hair is Moon­child; it’s my im­age. Peo­ple started recog­nis­ing me right in the be­gin­ning when I was try­ing to get gigs as ‘that girl with the blue hair’ and to­day it has stuck with me. With­out know­ing what I do, you are cu­ri­ous about what I do be­cause of my hair. Brands were afraid at first be­cause it’s too dis­tinct, but now my hair makes brands edgier. It’s my sig­na­ture.


I think of all the crazy stuff I write about, which gen­er­ally hap­pens very fast. But my process is un­pre­dictable, and it de­pends on where I’m at. Some­times gqom can take longer, other times it doesn’t, but it de­pends on the vibe of the place I’m in. I’m a writer, so it means a lot to me that what my head is think­ing comes across in what I do, whether it’s mu­sic, fash­ion or just talk­ing to peo­ple. moon­child­sanelly

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