LESOTHO-BORN songstress, Maleh, says she is living her dream in headlining the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) alongside international artists such as Tamia.
Maleh, whose real name is Malehloka Hlalele, is billed to perform at MACUFE’s popular Divas Concert on 9 October 2015 at The Dome – Old Grey Sports Ground in Bloemfontein. The Divas Concert line-up also includes South African starlets Lira, Ntsiki Ndzume, Bucie and Grammy Award-nominated Canadian singer-songwriter Tamia.
The 30-year-old Chimsoro hit maker told the Weekender from her Johannesburg base this week that it was an honour and privilege to perform at the festival which launched the careers of many artists over the years. Maleh said the cherry on the cake was the opportunity to rub shoulders with her childhood idol Tamia.
“I grew up listening to Tamia and was inspired by her music. I never thought there would come a day when I would share the stage with her,” said Maleh, who was born and bred in Maseru West.
“I am looking forward to performing at the show, which shows that my career is in an upward trajectory.”
Speaking about her musical career, the Neo-Soul and Afro-pop singer said she is spurred by passion for her craft and the support she receives from her producer. Her debut album Step Child won a 2013 South African Music Awards (SAMA) award in the Best African Adult Album category, with her 2015 offering, You Make My Heart Go, clinching a similar gong this year.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the muso, who took time to conquer the cutthroat South African entertainment industry.
“I have been in the industry for years, and if I was doing it for fame or money, I would have given up a long time ago due to the challenges I have faced,” said the muso, who forayed into music at the age of 18 as a member of the Afro Pop group Kaya.
“However, singing is a passion for which I am truly dedicated. So I never despaired in the lean spells of my career.
“It is hard to survive in this industry. I was fortunate to meet former Jazz musician, Fundile Mdingi, who also happens to be one of the best producers I ever met because he has had a great influence on my music.”
Asked about the source of inspiration for her music, Maleh said: “I write songs from personal experiences, and I look at issues from a woman’s perspective since we face many challenges. I also use music to encourage the youth to pursue their dreams, while also telling stories of love.”
She said her love affair with the Mountain Kingdom is unquenchable, although opportunities to visit were few and far between owing to a hectic schedule.
“I always feel honoured every time I perform in Lesotho. However, due to my busy schedule, I take advantage of those few opportunities to take a peek at my beautiful and mountainous country,” said Maleh.
“The last time I was in Lesotho was in November last year during the Ultimate Music Awards, and my wish is to see myself on a stage in Lesotho before the end of this year. The support I get at home is awesome.”