Moonchild Sanelly - real name Sanelisiwe Twisha - releases her long-awaited second album Phases today via Transgressive Records & Gallo Record Company. The trailblazing South African musician previewed the album with “Strip Club” ft. Ghetts, “April Fool’s Day (Makahambe)” and “Cute” ft. Trillary Banks.
Forming a sonic foundation that veers between Amapiano, Gqom, grime, pop, house and R&B while showcasing her vocal talents on more downtempo songs, Phases’ 19 tracks document the varying chapters of a toxic relationship and subsequent freedom. A double album, the first side is a journey through the relationship with production reflecting those different moods and aspects of her personality; the second side, meanwhile, leads into a clubbier amapiano space.
The tracks on it, she says, are a way of empowering all different types of girls and promoting respect for women: “Over You” finds strength and power in breaking-up with a cheating ex; “Strip Club”, featuring Ghetts, flips the male-led narrative, instead putting the woman in charge. “I want people to relate to the stories I’m telling,” she says. Moonchild Sanelly has become well known for unapologetically spreading her message of female empowerment: “liberation for women, in the bedroom, in the boardroom, knowing your power… I need to be heard by a lot of people”.
Carrying South Africa along with her has long been important for her, too, and it’s something that’s reflected on Phases, as she is joined by two of the country’s most exciting rappers: Blxckie on “ULi” and Sir Trill on “Soyenza”.
Collaboration has been core to Moonchild Sanelly since her award-winning debut album Rabulapha!, having not only dominated the gqom and amapiano scenes in SA but with her international hits and collaborations with Wizkid, Beyonce (featuring on “MY POWER”), Gorillaz (“With Love To An Ex”) and Ghetts (“Mozambique”).
Phases is a highly collaborative record, too, with production and guest features from Sad Night Dynamite, Wesley Joseph, Xavier Thomas (Débruit), TOKiMONSTA, HOLLY and Aramboa.
The album’s title takes on a multitude of meanings: via the range of genres covered across its runtime, the different sounds and styles that it encompasses and the personal journey that Sanelisiwe Twisha has taken to get to this point. But, for Moonchild Sanelly, it’s more literal than that: “I think that, with this album, I’ve managed to piece all the different parts of me together, because I’m known for different things in different parts of the world. I think you get to know me better with Phases - all the different sides of me.”
Moonchild Sanelly will perform at in XOYO in London this Friday, 17 June and take to Glastonbury Festival, Somerset from Friday, 24 June till Sunday, 26 June.