As part of the running, In My Words series profiling creatives and artists alike on the Unarine Ramaru Youtube page, we got to sit with Pretoria based singer-songwriter Refilwe Sediba, known artistically as Kgau Lepara. Our conversation ranged everywhere from her creative process, identity, experiences, and more.
Born in Soshanguve, grew up in Mamelodi, Went to Reitumetse Secondary School, and now fully embracing her talents as a performing musician. We get to learn more about Kgau, below are some of her quotables from our conversation.
Many refer to life as being of purpose. So ideally let us start there, what does Kgau think about purpose…
“- it’s important to have purpose in life. My purpose, God has given me [as] a gift that is bigger than me. I think I’m focused so much on using that gift to give back. I don’t focus on my gift as something solely for me, I look at it more as something that I have to give to others. Because music is healing, you know, so it can never just be my own thing.”
“Music is healing” she says, and even further music is art. Here is her definition of art.
“Art for me is an escape – at one point in my life I was caught up in a lot of mess and music, which is a form of art, became my escape. Art really became a safe space for me to be myself, speak my truth, own my truth and to not be scared to try things that are out of my comfort zone. Because [with] art you need to push yourself to that extent, you need to reflect the times. Someone needs to listen to what you’re doing and understand and resonate, you know. So art as an escape becomes my love language as well.”
Now on the day, Kgau rocked an afro hairstyle hard to go unnoticed. So we asked the question, “Do you consider your hair as art?”
To which she answered, “…of course, it’s a form of an expression and art is an expression”
“My hair is my crown more than anything I look at it like that. And I think also like it’s contributed to me as a person because it took time and patience for it to get [grown] like this because it’s been like six years. So it really took a while, it taught me a lot like identity as well. I’m proud to have hair that defies gravity, I’m proud to like when someone looks at me the first thing you notice is she’s African you know. So it’s an identity thing, not a trend really but more me than anything.”.
Other expressions of art?
“I doodle, I love doodling… I used to [do poetry], but I [also] used to love writing short stories, that used to be my thing.”
… What stopped you?
Speaking of music, Kgau singles out TekniQ’s Journey Across The Ocean as a song that feels like home. When asked on her musical inspirations, she mentions the names of Erykah Badu, Thandiswa Mazwai, Simphiwe Dana, Miriam Makeba and even more excitedly she says…
“…Amy Winehouse, I love Amy Winehouse. Actually I draw most of my inspiration from her. At some point like I tried to mimic how she delivers songs on stage.”
Even further, “There is a song by Amy Winehouse titled ‘Round Midnight [I wish I wrote that song] – it’s a perfect, beautiful song, perfect.”
You know what else is considered expression? Colour.
“My favourite colour is grey. I have quite a few actually, but like grey is my main go to colour.”
Ah, I swear these things write themselves. Personality, Let’s speak personality traits!
“[I’m an introvert – I used to be shy] …my social battery runs out very quickly. Not gonna lie. But it’s different when it’s work. But I think I have phases more than anything.”
Apart from music…
“…apart from music. I love my family. I love literature. I love being service to others. I’ve kind of gotten to a point to where I live outside of my own needs. I look more like how can I help? How can you be of service to others?”
Family, “I’m from a family [where] I’m the youngest of four. I grew up very sheltered – I think that’s why my family means so much to me, you know.”
“[So] usually if I find a beat that I like, before recording I play it for my nieces and sometimes my nephews if they are around and like I use whatever they come up with. If I hear anything catchy that they make, I use it. Their opinions actually like matter a lot when I create stuff and they know my single word for word. So yeah, I think my nieces are the fans that matter the most to me, their opinions matter so they play a huge role in the music.”
And to end it off while we still talking about family, how’s about the family member with four legs and a tail!
“Chloe! She’s turning three in November, ke godisitse! She was a few months old when I got her and she’s been with me since, my baby girl. Chloe is full of drama [though], I can’t take her anywhere. She barks at everything, so o sharpo mo gae!”
Sounds like the right tune to end off, check out some more from the conversation below.