African Times’ THAPELO MASEPELA spoke to Kholofelo Maunatla, better known by his stage name Balesh Mau, a 27-year-old musician born in Limpopo and who had to set his priorities right
Thapelo Masepela: What inspired you to become a musician?
Balesh Mau: First of all, I believe one can never be inspired by something he isn’t, so would say talent inspired me to take that path.
TM: Tell me more about yourself, career and where you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
BM: I am versatile, too much involved in many things so its bit unpredictable to say I see myself in other field in the coming five years. I live by the day but always have something productive in my plate.
Mmhhh about me? I am more of an African house artist, a bit of hip hop and always willing to try new things.
TM: How many albums do you have?
BM: I can say I have one album under my belt, remember as an underground artist you always push through pain. When I was in high school I had a very promising album called “mopedi ka life” which consists of eight songs and since then I have been releasing singles.
TM: Who are your favourite musician and how do they motivate you in this industry?
BM: Growing up I looked up to Arthur Mafokate because he had songs which had their unique dance moves, I am a dancer as well and I always wanted to be like him when I grow up, but as times change, I have other fresh artist who inspires me daily . currently Cassper Nyovest is on top of my list and followed by DJ Sbu. They are not only into music but other businesses as well, they define me because I also want to engage in music and businesses.
TM: So, are you currently running any business, and can you explain more about it?
BM: Yes, I have a clothing line which I named after my stage name Balesh, which means “the master of an army”, so in my own perspective I would say I represent those who mater their own art, have faith in their dream and also eager to achieve them. Further, I sold 1000+ and counting merchandise and which was only on social media. That is a milestone for a small brand like mine.
TM: Do you sometimes perform in public and can you describe those events?
BM: Yes, I had three television performances this year which were a great exposure for me. I also perform as a local artist in festivals and also go from clubs to pubs. Lately, I’m focused on other media fields, but I also find it interesting.
TM: Do you have any musical education background?
BM: I cannot say I do, growing up I sang in choirs (school choir and church choir). I studied Media which my major subject was film and TV in that aspect music always fits in. I shoot music video for other artists, movies and TV shows, so music goes together with what I do on daily basis.
TM: So besides singing what do you do?
BM: I work as a camera operator for a TV station, I shoot shows, cover current affairs and events.
TM: How do you balance between work and personal life?
BM: It becomes hectic when you are not yet exposed to the industry, so obviously work will dominate that all. You have to set your priority standard so that you don’t end up starving. So, I believe once I’m more recognized will have to come up with a better way to deal with the situation.
TM: What has been the greatest challenge in life and in your career?
BM: In terms of music, getting the right recording studios, airplays and better offers are likely to be the challenges I face, I also need enough capital to work on new music, new design and better material. The challenge I faced with my life was losing both my parents. I was young and I had to be independent. I had to pay my own studies and my salary was not enough. I remember when I bought tekkies worth R100.00 (laughs) it was a downgrade because I used to wear branded and expensive tekkies but that motivated me to work harder and follow my dream, I never cared about the world.
TM: What are your future plans?
BM: As a foodie, I will be trying to raise money for an African food restaurant but I am aware that it won’t come over night so I don’t mind waiting for years to achieve that goal. On music, I will be doing some fresh music soon, I’m still writing a few songs and for the clothing brand I need capital to re-brand and sell something I can be proud to wear. Lastly to the people who support my hustle, thank you very much for believing in my craft, may the majestic ruler of the universe bless you more. Much love and respect.