In Conversation with: Pearl Natasha
I am young woman just trying to live my life to the fullest. Cliché maybe, but true. I sometimes say I feel like I have lived multiple lives already, because I love with my whole heart, laugh with my soul, eat till my belly’s full and I try to never go to bed angry. Pearl Natasha, the musician – she’s a deep thinking, lover who tries to explore the many ways to tell the people in her world how she loves them.
What is proudest achievement?
To date – I would have to say, still being alive. We live in a world where we’re reminded every day as young black Africans that we are erasable, that even though the shackles of slavery have been lifted – our minds are still captive. Our governments don’t want us to succeed. Our fathers and brothers, control our universe. As a black, African woman, my chances of success are statistically minimal and yet here I am. So, every day, I am proud that I am still here. That even though this world wants to remind every day how worthless I could be, I am still here. And I have no plans of leaving anytime soon.
How did you get into music?
My parents were singers. My father was Earl Waungana – a Zimbabwean singer and guitarist. My mother was a singer in bars around Harare. I never actually met my father, he died before we could meet – but my mother sung to me every day and when I was old I enough I sang along. Now I sing, and she watches.
I remember watching Brenda Fassie, Tuku, Mapfumo – the greats I remember being on my uncle’s shoulder during Nomakanjani, telling my mother that one day I would be on that stage one day. One day, when I was 16, I started singing and writing and it all clicked. The world started to make a little bit more sense and since then, I’ve been writing, singing on stages that let me. Releasing music when my bank account agrees with my dreams and telling my story through my songs.
Did you have a mentor or someone you looked up to when you started your music career, if so who?
I don’t really know. I want to say that I do, but I don’t I’m a loner. I’ve been surrounded by people at times that I would consider mentors, but hindsight is 20/20 and one person told me that be prepared for everyone around you to use you. I’m not a complete sceptic, however I laugh now when I think back because those words forewarned me of the same person who spoke them.
What impact have they had on your career?
Well at one point, I thought, this is it. I’m doing this, like, really making music. Living the dream. I was on TV, radio – the whole 9 yards. Then one day, I got on a plane and never looked back. So how have they affected my career? They haven’t – not in the long run anyway. Everything I am doing today, is because of my work and my music.
What do you hope people will take away from listening to your music?
I hope they enjoy it. Honestly, I want them to feel something. The new song, ‘Moved On’ – with this one I want people to feel like they can liberate themselves from the bullshit they’ve been caught up in. You know, it’s so easy to let negative people be parasites, and I want people to feel like they can free themselves from the parasites.
As an artist what is the most important thing for you when making a track?
That I believe what I am saying. I can’t write about something I don’t feel, ‘cause I promise I won’t sing it. Making music is my way to chronicle my life, to write my own story. So, I have to be authentic, I have to be me.
Which one of your songs is your favourite?
It’s a sign of things to come.
What do you get up to when you are not making music?
When not making music I’m usually found with my nose in a book. I just finished Chinua Achebe’s works recently and I am currently reading a book on Kofi Annan. When I’m not reading, I’m playing with my dogs and drinking wine.
Where in the world do you wish to perform one day?
Honestly, one day I want to perform in Mbare. You know, my Shona’s not great and maybe my stuff won’t translate, but one thing I took away from being back home was that if you want to really test your music – perform for people who are not afraid of telling you exactly how good/bad you are.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
I feel like life has beat me up and spit me out several times by now. Honestly though, I think life has taught me that one day, my eyes will close for the last time, so until then, I have to be present.
Name your favourite places to perform
I love intimate gigs – when you can feel the crowds’ heartbeat. Those are the best gigs. I’m not fussy though, I’ll perform on the corner of Samora Machel if anyone wants to listen.
Which song would you say is the soundtrack to your life right now?
Lizzo's Truth Hurts - the first line, "Why are men great, til they gotta be great?" gives me absolute life!
Which artists would you like to work with and why?
I just worked with JasonDus on 'Moved On' and I have a few interesting collaborations coming up actually. I'd love to work with Sauti Sol - they're my dream collabo, I love Polycarp's guitar work.
What can we expect from you in 2018?
Music, content, visibility.
Who are your top artists right now local and international and why them?
Top artist for me at the minute is Takura and I would be shocked if anyone disagreed. He's just soo authentic and sooo good.
Internationally; Macklemore, Lizzo, Janelle Monae, Solange - they're all inspiring.
If you could give up anything for a year what would it be and why?
I would give up procrastination, because that stops me from getting anything done.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who lived life to the full.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists?
A career in music can be anything; from singing in front of gigantic crowds to singing in a nursery school. You can write songs for TV or write songs to sing to your friends. A career in music can only be one thing though; it can be whatever you make it.
You will be the biggest obstacle in your way because your decisions, your ideas, your actions – they all affect the result. So, think fast, act slow, try hard and believe – believe in yourself above everything else because for a long time, you will be your only fan – so be your biggest fan.
Social media handles/music links
Facebook - www.facebook.com/PearlNatashaMusic
Twitter - www.twitter.com/PearlNatasha
Instagram - www.instagram.com/iampearlnatasha
Soundcloud - www.soundcloud.com/PearlNatasha-doherty