Photography by Ezra Mokgope

Phola,Phola The Future Soul Prodigy from Cape Town

Super group from the 90s Native Tongues paved the way for hip-hop’s unity and over exercised the genre’s mandatory license for freedom of expression. With their open-minded songs they discussed race, sex and just having fun, muting the negative stereotypes that are associated with hip-hop.

In the same way the members of the Native Tongues have sampled jazz, soul and various genres to create new sonic platforms for their honest stories to be told through. Phola,Phola’s story is what’s relevant now. Her music which she dubs ‘Future Soul’, meets her predecessors by sampling the likes of Erykah Badu on the eloquent record “Pack Light”, taking the fervent hip-hop sound of the sample and leading it into the future by chopping it up with a strategic filtering of frequencies to give the song a hazy yet angelic feel.

With only two years of experience in producing music, Phola,Phola tells me how her city, Cape Town inspires her, “There seems to be a great appreciation for honest artistry in the sense that there is no pressure to create a specific type of art or music. People here kind of just do their own thing which ultimately makes for a super interesting and diverse music community but also a safe space in which one can freely explore themselves as an artist.”

Her astounding music production comes with relatable song writing as she tends to hop on the mic from time to time. On songs like ‘Rain’, the vocal representation of Phola,Phola’s  art through her lyrics directs us into her thoughts, dreams, lifestyle and anecdotes of her self-guidance as a young artist. She further articulates “I really just comment on the things that connect us as people, which is love, kindness, good energies, bad energies, hardships and struggles.”

Her stage name elaborates the connection to her choice of peaceful sonics such as soul when making music “my first name is Phola and it means to be calm. Being somebody who deals with anxiety, music is one of the things that centres me so it’s important to me to represent that somehow in my stage name.”

Phola,Phola is currently working on her debut EP and lets me know how things are going, “now (it’s) just a matter of recording a couple more songs and sending the project to post-production. I faced a few creative blocks along the way, as any artist does at some point in time. It has also been difficult trying to put everything together as an independent artist, because sometimes the resources just aren’t accessible, but I try to not let that hinder the creative process too much.”

For now, you can tune into her ‘future soul’ sounds on soundcloud or catch her live performances and viral freestyles on her youtube channel.

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