Moonchild Sanelly – real name Sanelisiwe Twisha – is gearing up to release her long-awaited second album next month. Phases will be released via Transgressive Records and Gallo Record Company on June 10.
She shares the new single and music video for “Cute” featuring Trillary Banks. A straight-up empowerment anthem, Moonchild explains, “The song is about bad boss bitches with big dick energy who look fly while they’re running their shit. We can be cute, so our power might look unthreatening, but don’t be fooled, we’re powerful and we’re here to fuck shit up!”
Trillary adds, “Recording the track was a cool, fun experience. I love the Two Inch Punch production. Meeting Moon in person was also great, we were able to go to a gig, vibe at the studio, do some shopping and discuss visual ideas. What a crazy but cute 24 hours.”
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.”