Yessonia: A neophyte in the music industry
BORN Sonia Shalukeni, Yessonia is Namibia’s latest break-out star and is ready to take the industry by storm. Confidente’s entertainment reporter, Jeoffrey Mukubi recently caught up with the sultry singer to talk about her latest single, titled Honeymoon Fudge as well as her mission to cement her brand in the Namibian music industry.
JM: Tell us more about your latest single?
YESSONIA: Honeymoon Fudge speaks to love birds. We are seven billion people on earth and are a conception of love and intimacy. Our population is really small and is affecting my business too and we don’t have the numbers and the buying power. We need to become a more romantic nation and hopefully as a result our population can grow. (Laughs) It's really dedicated to my partner on our anniversary month. I wanted to record a song that everyone can listen to and either think of their ex, their crush or their lover at the same time, making it a sexy club song.
JM: What type of music do you do and what is your target market?
YESSONIA: I'm still a diverse artist while finding what really works for me 100 percent. I realized I'm a very versatile singer, from RnB hip-hop to House and Afro-pop. I want to appeal to all ages and classes with different songs. I've got a song for every group. Some songs everyone will be able to relate too. I haven't done a personal or emotional song yet, I'll soon start writing songs that resonate with me as a person. So far I've gone into studio and recorded on freestyle general titles, nothing personal yet. When I start going personal the game will change forever. I will soon put my stories into music. I express myself better through writing and I'm privileged to have been gifted a voice on top of that. The world must receive that gift through my music. I'm excited for that personal song journey.
JM: Do you plan on releasing an album or are you focused on building your brand with the new song?
YESSONIA: Yes I should have an album ready come end of October.
JM: How did you overcome adversity when your family did not want to associate themselves with music? How did you cope?
YESSONIA: Now we no longer have a parents/dictator type of relation. I'm my own person now and they respect me and my decision. I've never been a problem child and have been that pillar for my family ever since finishing school. They trust my judgement, plus they want me to be happy and do what I enjoy too. There was really nothing to cope with from my end because I made them understand. I'm safe. I'm not into funny practices or substance abuse, which is what people worry about when you go into entertainment, I'm just happily singing, songwriting and performing. So my family and I are good – just people from outside always wanting to poison my parents, as if their lives or their kids are perfect. We good! They must check their lives.
JM: Tell us about your greatest fear, in terms of your journey as a young musician.
YESSONIA: That I become too big for myself to handle. (Laughs) On a serious note though, we have a tendency of dismissing fear as a weakness, but I beg to differ. Fear can keep you safe and grounded too, but it must be in moderate dose for balance. I really got close to not fearing anything, because in this industry I'm mastering my capabilities and I know that the only reason I don’t go all the way up is if I choose to be lazy. I'm the artist, I'm the brand and a lot will depend on me, while the rest will follow. Everything or every career one takes on comes with its challenges and I'm known to be a facer of challenges. I'm a big girl and been around to know and see the world. I don’t fear things like competition. I embrace it because it will keep me on my toes and allow me to grow. Yes, the journey is young and I'm confident but not arrogant. Success is not a destination but a journey full of contentment.
JM: Do you plan on having any performances in Namibia anytime soon?
YESSONIA: I've been approached for a number of institutes for performance quotes, but I put them on hold for now. I mistakenly once agreed out of being nice to be part of a charity event as a means of giving, next time though I'll give in other means. The venue and setup did not align with my brand. I enjoyed it thoroughly but I couldn't even post it. The cause and intent was good but it didn't do me as a brand justice. Point here is one needs to know what your brand is preaching and how people will affiliate your brand too, you can't just be all over the place because you can sing. Anyone can jump on stage.
JM: Anything else you would like to add?
YESSONIA: I'm really still working on establishing myself as a local artist. I have been performing outside the country on big stages and platforms, like AYlive, and I'll will be performing in Europe at the Africa Fashion Week, so I'm exposed to what it needs to be like. Don’t get me wrong, I'll be ready to give my Namibia nothing but the best of performances soon, when Gazza and King Tee Dee retire.