I met musician Berita through a former client of mine who is also a musician. We were getting ready to launch his album and during a strategy meeting he mentioned that he had shared the stage with Berita when she was just starting out in the industry. I thought that story and their history deserved to be told. So we arranged to meet her in Joburg in order for us to pitch this idea we had in mind. That was the first time I met her. She is as warm as she appears to be, very kind and obviously talented. She has taken so many bold strides in her career that have paid off well. I definitely believe she is a Marigold woman. Here’s my interview with her.
1. Congratulations on your SAMA nomination and win. How does it feel?
Thank you so much. I am very excited and I feel very honoured for the acknowledgement by the South African Music Awards. Having worked in the South African music industry for almost a decade now I am very excited. I feel blessed. I feel like the SAMA came at the right time. It comes at a time where I have really defined my path as an artist and my path in the South African music industry so I am very excited and very honoured.
2. What has the journey been like since you became an independent musician and also an Entrepreneur.
My journey has been amazing in the music business. I recently posted pictures of my 4 albums. As I was listening to my songs the last couple of days I realised that with each album I continue to grow. I continue to work on my song writing. I continue to grow my voice and delivery as well. I continue to grow my sound. I really enjoy making music.
The decision to be an independent artist and to also be a business woman was a natural progression. Having worked in this industry for 9 years and also having realised that the industry is shifting. We are now in the digital era. There are more opportunities as an artist. I really enjoy the freedom that being an independent musician allows me. I also enjoy the freedom to run an organisation like W.O.M.B ( the Women of the Music Business) a non-profit organisation which is a pan-African women empowerment organisation. It was formed to support and elevate women across Africa in the music business. I believe in my community and I am very excited about the work that we are doing at W.O.M.B.
When I came to South Africa I came to study and I secretly knew that I wanted to be a musician. I came with just a guitar and my suitcase. I think that I had a dream. I knew that my dreams would be realised. I loved music. I had a dream to sing with my guitar and sing my songs and I knew it was going to happen. I really knew it. It’s one of those things I was really sure about.
4. What keys or strategy do you use when collaborating with other artists on your albums?
When it comes to collaborating with other artists, it has to do with the artist. How they carry themselves as well as the music and the sound. A lot of my collaborations from the past have been unassuming. One of my favourite ongoing collaborations at the moment is with Amanda Black. I have known her for a very long time. At some point we were neighbours. Although we were not close back then, there is a history we share. So when we collaborate it’s really genuine. It’s organic. I have also done a lot of collaborations with DJs. When “Thandolwethu” first came out, Oskido remixed it and introduced me to House Music. I didn’t know anything about House Music. Since then I have worked with Mobi Dixon, Da Capo and Black Motion. I resonated with their sound. I was able to work with them. In my album ‘Songs in Key of Love’ I collaborated with a lot of artists. I worked with Bekezela. I worked with Mo T from MiCasa. I also worked with Bongani. I really enjoy collaborating and creating beautiful music in studio.
B U L A W A Y O
— Vusa Mkhaya (@VusaMkhaya) November 25, 2021
5. You had a close relationship with the late legendary music icon Oliver Mtukudzi? What would you say to him today?
Yes it’s true. I had a very wonderful relationship with Bab’ Oliver Mtukudzi. I was very fortunate enough that when I first started my career I met Baba Oliver Mtukudzi. From that very instant he took a liking to my music and my style. He invited me to Zimbabwe to join him at Pakare Paya Arts Centre many times. I got to perform at his solo festival. I also travelled around South Africa with him. I also travelled the SADC region. We travelled together for quite a bit.
6. What do you miss the most about him?
I miss his gentle spirit and his love for the community. He taught me that your music and what you do can come together. For him, he made music that was about uplifting the community and he ran a community project at the Pakare Paya Arts Centre. Watching him doing what he loved most I really learnt a lot. I miss him. I feel like he went home too soon.
7. Tell us about your W.O.M.B project and how can artists get involved?
The W.O.M.B is a non profit organisation. It is a pan-African women empowerment platform. It’s a space for conversations. It’s a space for technology. It’s a space for programs and tools that elevate and empower women. We have hosted 2 programs now, namely Finance for social enterprises and community leaders specifically on how to manage their businesses. We believe music is special. Women face different challenges in the music industry compared to men. Taking the time to have conversations on Instagram with different women in the industry made me realise we have different challenges in our journey in the music business. It’s nice to come together as a community and talk about these things.
8. You recently announced the dates of your album tour . What inspired that?
I always wanted to put together an album tour for ‘Songs in the Key of Love’ to celebrate my journey in music as well as to amplify the album. With the SAMA endorsement, I definitely think it deserves a tour. I believe the time is right. The tour was initially supposed to happen in 2020. We all know what happened in 2020. This is the right time. I am looking forward to performing firstly around South Africa. I am still looking at Zimbabwean dates. If you are in South you can catch me at a number of venues across the country.
Johannesburg – 19 December 2021
Durban – 24 February 2022
East London 5 March 2022
🧡Gqeberha – The Music Kitchen , 11 Dec
💛Joburg – Joburg Theatre, 19th Dec
💚Bulawayo- Zimbabwe Music Academy, 28 Dec
For Bulawayo Tickets are available at Bulawayo Chiefs Shop and Studio 10 at the National Art Gallery💃🏾
— Berita (@BeritaAfroSoul) December 9, 2021
Wow! That’s very difficult (Berita chuckles). I love so many different songs in the album. I can never choose one particular song. At the moment I can say ‘Yours.’ It is a song I really enjoy. I love the approach I took when I created the song.
10. What can fans or lovers of your work expect during this tour?
It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be about love, joy, music as well as being victorious. I think we have gone through a difficult year. It’s good to come together and just celebrate the life we have. We can celebrate love. There is obviously all the sing-along songs that I have written, co-written and sang. I am really looking forward to seeing all my supporters in one space just having a moment of joy and gratitude.
Is there a chance Amanda Black will be joining you on this tour or any of the artists featured in it?
There is definitely a chance that I will be supported by some of my friends and collaborators. Amanda Black joined me for the first concert that took place on the 18th of November in Pretoria. I am looking forward to singing with her. I recently joined her at her own concert at Emperor’s Palace this past week.
11. Please give your fans a sneak peek of a day in Berita’s life.
I actually started a Vlog on Youtube. You can check out my YouTube channel and get more content there. I am very particular about taking care of myself so my day involves a lot of healthy habits. I can start my day with a visit to the gym, meditating, journaling, prayer, praise and worship music and affirmations. I do all the works. I also eat very healthily and spend time on my music and some of the day-to-day management work that needs to be taken care of in the business.
12. What does Berita do for fun to unwind?
I recently discovered fun. To be quite honest, for the longest time I was not having fun. I play tennis every Sunday. I love tennis. If I wasn’t a musician I believe I would have been a tennis player, that’s how much I love tennis. It’s a sport I enjoy. I also enjoy spending time with family and people I love.
Ke December boss 😍 pic.twitter.com/GCnxHNjqtx
— Berita (@BeritaAfroSoul) December 1, 2021
13. I remember chatting to you about your pan African recognised brand. How is that coming along? In spite of Covid-19?
Brand building is a continuous exercise. I think more than that I am focused on my values as an artist. The work that I am doing speaks for itself. A perfect example is my SAMA award it’s titled “The best of the rest of Africa.” It recognises artists that are doing well in South Africa. In addition to that, it’s the work that I am doing with W.O.M.B. I make sure it’s pan-African. I am still keeping that pan-African dream in mind across all touch points.
You know what? That’s a very good question. I recently started reading Steve Jobs’ autobiography. I have to say I just love it. I read one chapter and I learnt so much as an entrepreneur, so I have to definitely say Steve Jobs.
15. Lastly what are you grateful for this year?
I am grateful for life, love, music and really taking the time to work on myself. I think I spent a lot of time for the past 9 years working on the music. What has been wonderful about this year is that I took the time to work on Gugulethu. Behind the Berita brand is Gugulethu. I took the time to work on that.