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#MusicExchange: Neo Motsatse

The 2016 and 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Awardee, 19 year old Neo Motsatse, who was the star of last weekends show at the Soweto Theatre with Sipho Hotstix Mabuse will present Seasons, a Dorothy Masuka's songbook derived from Antonio Vivaldi's Seasons at the National Arts Festival in July.

Seasons is a compilation of Dorothy Masuka's songbook according to the seasons of her life. Songs are arranged symphonically without losing the quality of Masuka's work and are narrated in movements to depict the historical tempos of Masuka's life. Songs such as Magumede, Nontsokolo, Ndinje, Lendaba, Somandla, Khawuleza will feature in this musical tribute.

#MusicExchange: Neo Motsatse

Neo Motsatse  will be performing on 1, 2 and 3 July July at the Victoria Theatre. Tickets can be booked online via the National Arts Festival website.

I caught up with Neo prior to Saturday’s night performance with Sipho Mabuse.

When are you happiest?

When I’m on stage. Hands down. When I’m performing, nothing else exists, but my violin. All stress and worries go away and I just feel the music.

What does music mean to you?

Music is life. It’s everywhere you turn, it is the universal language. I personally wouldn’t be able to function properly without music. I listen to it while I’m getting ready in the morning, in the car, while I’m chilling. Life would be boring without music and I don’t do boring.

What drives you? Ego or humility?

I don’t really have much of an ego but of course I’m biased. And in terms of humility, to be honest, I’m not a saint, but I just try to make sure that the attention I get doesn’t go to my head.

Any funny moments on stage?

More embarrassing than funny if you ask me. There was one concert that I did in Bloemfontein during my Neo Motsatse 5 City Tour. My dress was a little bit too long but because it was such a beautiful dress I didn’t care. But while I was walking down the aisle towards the stage I slipped on a piece of the dress and fell backwards.

Your heroes?

I really have always looked up to Beyoncé. I know it may be strange considering she doesn’t play violin and we’re not in the same genre, but I just love how hard she’s worked.

What is your most treasured possession?

Of course my violin. I don’t own anything else that comes close to how I treasure my violin.

It’s your round what are you drinking?

Cola tonic and lemonade with a slice of lemon and ice.

Dream gig to do?

To perform with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. I briefly went to Vienna when I was on tour with the Bochabela String Orchestra from Bloemfontein and it was absolutely amazing. Vienna is considered the classical capital in Europe.

What makes you stand out?

I think right now what makes me stand out is that fact that I try to be inclusive with my music. I play the violin, and because of that many people expect me to play only classical. However I want more than Classical lovers to enjoy the music I play. I want teenagers, kids, and the elderly, everyone to enjoy it. So I play a little something of what everyone will enjoy. If it’s not that, it has to be my white hair.

#MusicExchange: Neo Motsatse
#MusicExchange: Neo Motsatse

If you were not a musician what would you do?

I would probably be a chef. I love food and ever since I was around the age of 10

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Sarcastically Funny

What is your favorite word?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Ever since I learned how to say this word. I’ve just never gotten tired of saying it.

Favorite Fashion Garment

I’m obsessed with shoes. But specifically high heel ankle boots

Top of your bucket list?

Swimming with sharks. I seriously want to swim with sharks before I die. And not the kind where I’m in a cage and it just swims around me. I want the real free swimming alongside a shark

Your greatest achievement?

I think my greatest personal achievement was having my concert Neo Motsatse the Concert at the Linder Auditorium. That was a milestone that I had wanted to achieve ever since I became serious about performing.

What do you complain about most often?

My number one complaint is that there is not enough time. It can be anything. Not enough time to practice, not enough to eat, not enough to binge watch shows on Netflix

What is your fear?

I have a genuine fear of disappointing my parents. I know being a musician probably wouldn’t have been their first choice, but they have worked so hard and been so supportive into making my dream a reality.

#MusicExchange: Neo Motsatse
#MusicExchange: Neo Motsatse

Happiness is?

Whatever you make it to be. I feel like it is so important in this terrifying world that we live in to be able to find happiness anywhere. Whether it be chilling alone and listening to your favorite song, or with your colleagues at work, but at the end of the day you should strive to find joy in something every single day.

On stage I tend to?

I tend to zone out a lot. If I know my pieces really well to a point where it’s muscle memory and I don’t need music my mind tends to wonder. Please don’t ask “well wonder where?” Anywhere and everywhere. It’s real strange cause I will get to the end f the piece and wonder if I actually played the whole thing because I was so caught up in my thoughts.

The best life lesson you have been taught?

“Talent is cheap.” Words from my late violin Professor from Cape Town, Professor Jack DeWet. He said to me the very first time we met that I had talent and he saw potential in me, but that doesn’t mean anything if I’m not willing to work hard enough to turn that talent into something real.

Do you do charity work and if you do –what do you do?

I founded and a Girl Empowerment Organization in 2016 called Girl Power. Girl Power aims at inspiring and guiding girls to find the power within and reach there highest potential. We work with girls aged 10 to 30 because we believe it is the best time in a girl’s life where she can learn and grow up into something incredible.

My mother and I both manage and run Girl Power with the help of my sisters, Teboho and Reitumetse Motsatse.

Wishes and dreams?

At this point, the sky’s the limit on my dreams, and there’s far too many to fit this page. But I will say that I hope to be performing for a very long time and reach as many stages as I possibly can, no matter how big or small.

Social media links

Instagram | Facebook

About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

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