The Princess of South African music - Tholwana Mohale

While Tholwana Mohale's song Hollywood Guy is zooming up the music charts, The Beat got a chance to speak to her about how intimidating the music scene can be, her secrets and inspirations.

You are starting very young in the music industry, so how intimidating can the music industry be? It can be very intimidating. There are a lot of good artists out there, and you’re always worrying if you’re song will be as enticing to the public as another person’s song. I particularly felt that pressure ahead of the release of “Hollywood Guy”.

What did you find the most difficult when you started in the industry? Maintaining the balance between school and recording. I’ve also had to adjust to a brand new environment this year, having moved from my hometown to Johannesburg. We take things day by day!

Your single Hollywood Guy is scorching up the playlists. Tell us a bit about the single, what inspired you to write it and how you ended up working with FutureKings? There was a guy at my old school that I had a huge crush on. We were just friends but all my friends were rooting for us to get together. I didn’t tell him or anyone I liked him… I decided to rather express my emotions though my music. I was sitting in my room one evening and the chorus just came to me. I started writing the verses but I didn’t finish the song right there and then. The second half of the song is actually about someone new that I met here in Johannesburg! The track has taught me that sometimes things just don’t work out, but they lead you to better things. “Hollywood Guy” is pretty much about finding that special person in your life. I was set up with Ross & Alex from FutureKings via the label and it was a great experience working with them. I’m currently working on some more material with them and I’m excited to see where the partnership goes.

When did you first become interested in music? Well I’ve always been interested in music, but when I was 11 I started playing guitar and writing songs. It’s been the love of my life since then.

Can you remember the first song you ever sang and the first ever CD you bought? First CD I ever bought: Beyonce – Dangerously in Love, and apperently the first song I sang was Twinkle twinkle little star [Laughs]

Who are your music inspirations? Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Jimmy Nevis, Demi Lovato, Sia & ChianoSky.

What do people not know about Tholwana? I’ve done folk dancing before! *laughs* It was compulsory at my previous school and I was never too good at it.

What is next for Tholwana? More studio time, more writing, plus lots of gigs. I just wrapped up a gig in Drakensberg and have a couple more bookings before everyone goes on holiday in December. We’re working towards an EP release early next year and hopefully my debut album will follow from that. Watch this space!

Any advice to those who want to start out in the music industry? Be confident in your craft! If you are, you will succeed. Don’t doubt yourself and go with your gut!