Mwanjé is the new storyteller worth telling your friends about. Her Afrofuturistic visuals and genre-fluid music that touches on alt-R&B, neo-soul, jazz, and spoken-word poetry proves she is not just another cookie-cutter artist on the rise. And with the release of her debut EP, Seasons, there is no better time to delve into her journey.
“I’ve always loved and enjoyed music. I began singing at the age of 6 and made an effort to be involved in anything that involved singing and performing,” Mwanjé tells EUPHORIA. After being born in Botswana and raised in Zambia, Mwanjé realized music was her calling by the age of 13. “I was inspired by powerhouse vocalists such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion. African icons such as Brenda Fassie and Mariam Makeba. Performers such as Beyoncé and Janet Jackson and all-around creatives such as FKA Twigs, Sevdaliza, and Solange,” she says. However, Mwanjé knew she couldn’t turn her vision of being an artist into much of reality back home. For this reason, she quietly put it on the back burner. “Nobody made it to the level I aspired to, so I silently held onto that dream until I moved to Australia,” Mwanjé explains.
At 19, Mwanjé moved to Melbourne, Australia, as an international student. From there, she was able to expand her idea of what an artist is, beyond the musical sphere. “Witnessing the different creative mediums, opportunities, and resources that existed in Melbourne through experiencing my sister’s journey sparked an undeniable desire to follow my dream,” she says. “I realized that every day was an opportunity to create and live within art. There is inspiration everywhere.”
Mwanjé loves all expressive outlets: fashion, beauty, art, theater, and art direction, all of which find ways of being expressed in her work. In addition to pursuing all her artistic desires, she is a student studying for a degree in a completely different field. “I also have a deep love for psychology and mental health,” Mwanjé mentions. “I’m currently pursuing my psychology degree and plan on being a part of a mental health initiative for African/Black communities.”
Her breakthrough single, the heavenly “Wildones,” released with her sister, Sampa The Great, dropped at the beginning of the year and featured a nature-infused music video. Inspired by Mwanjé’s desire to carve her own path, she had no hesitation about featuring her older sibling on the soulful track. “Sampa and I grew up singing, dancing, and acting together. Collaborating has always been so natural and I’m on a lot of her music doing backing vocals,” she explains, adding, “Once I finished making ‘Wildones’ and sought out her input, she fell in love with the song and asked to be on it. It was very natural.”
Mwanjé’s second offering from the EP, “Call 2 The Diaspora,” explores a lot of “shed trauma and misconceptions that often prevent someone from living their most beautiful life.” Delivered with yet another breathtaking visual, the video was encouraged by her need to tell a story that represented the various subject matters, all while being fluid, poetic, and cohesive. “[The song] celebrates aspects of my culture, and expresses African mysticism in a more positive light,” Mwanjé says.
As both a visionary and a songwriter, Mwanjé’s creative process can vary. She admits to preferring writing songs in a room by herself but states she has “gotten the chance to write amongst other musicians and I’m looking forward to doing that a lot more.” While in the middle of penning those stories, Mwanjé can occasionally picture what she wants the imagery to look like. “Music and film are beautiful mediums that transport you when combined, I think my appreciation of both allows me to naturally place my music in a setting,” she explains. “Sometimes, I’m fully present in the process of writing or the message I’m trying to convey.”
Seasons, the debut EP from the emerging star has been many years in the works, with songs first penned over three years ago. “It is an introduction to the world of Mwanjé, where cycles, flows, and evolutions are constantly at work,” she says. “This is a reel of experiences that created this version of me and I’m so excited to share it with the world.”
Where does Mwanjé hope to see herself in a few years? Collaborating with international stars and touring the world with her band. “I’m looking forward to merging different creative mediums into my music and the way I present my art. I’ll keep pushing for progress, growth, and have that reflected in the qualification work I put out,” she shares.