The feisty hustler out to get it all

Sonia Shalukeni hails from Swakopmund. When she steps into her alter ego called Yessonia, this 31-year-old entrepreneur transforms into an entertainer.

14 June 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Having performed in Angola, Nigeria at the AYLIVE comedy concert, doing songs with Top Cheri and Zimbabwe's KNG BL, and being invited to represent Namibia at Africa Fashion Week Amsterdam (AFWA), you can understand the heat.

In a sit-down with tjil, Yessonia shared that she has been invited as a performing artist at the 2019 AFWA under the theme Behind the Mask. AFWA is a prestigious fashion and cultural franchise that comprises an amalgamation of creative thinkers ranging from fashion designers, models and textile distributors, to artisans, culinarians and musicians. The event combines African culture with tourism by fashioning a collective environment where like-minded individuals can network to showcase collaborative ventures.

“I will be representing Swakopmund and its culture at the event in Amsterdam. I am super excited for it.”

Yessonia is expected to take the Namibian cultural heritage and fashion experience to new heights.

Being new in the music space, Yessonia added that she launched her music career to finally fully entertain her love for music. She identifies herself as an Afro-pop singer who is open to try out other genres. “I am a relatively new artist, I do Afro-pop but I am still experimenting with various sounds.

I joined the music industry to be part of the array of artists who have been putting Namibia on the map with their talent,” said Yessonia.

The singer mentioned that her debut single Muscle Up sums up the message she is trying to convey through her music. She said it was received well and she was content with the reception it got when she performed it in Nigeria. “Crowds normally react well to songs they know, but I was surprised by how they were vibing to a foreign song,” she said.

She describes her single Wakasikwa, featuring Zimbabwe's KNG BL, as a simple yet potent love ballad which is a perfect mix of Afro-beat, soulful jazz with Kwanyama and Shona accompanied lyrics. “I have another song with Top Cheri called Bring it on. My next task now is to get in shape so that I can shoot music videos. I look good but I have my body goals,” she added.

On themes she explores through her music, Yessonia emphasised that she is passionate about motivating women to be strong and independent, hence the title of her debut single Muscle Up. “My writing is spontaneous; I go to the studio, listen to the beat and write to it but the motive is to inspire women to do their own thing and get their money,” she said.

Besides music Yessonia is a linen shop owner and currently busy with her MBA at the University of Liverpool. She admitted that balancing being an entrepreneur, musician and student is a challenge but her hunger to achieve what she has set out for herself keeps her going. “It is really challenging coming from the corporate world. As a musician you have to look the part but it is not easy when you have business meetings in between because you do not want to rock up at a business meeting looking all gangsta or go to a concert with corporate attire but I will figure it out,” she said.

With a few singles out on various digital platforms including iTunes and Deezer, Yessonia announced that she is working on her debut EP. The majority of the project will be produced by Andrew On The Beat. “I am comfortable working with Andrew, I like his production style and work ethic,” said Yessonia. On the sound direction of the EP, Yessonia shared that she will stick to the Afro vibe and depending on the features, she is willing to delve into various music genres. “Right now my priority is preparing for the AFWA but I will be coming home in between that tour to shoot videos and complete my EP.”

As far as her musical dreams and ambitions are concerned, Yessonia summed up by saying: “I want to go all out with this music thing. I do not just want to come on the scene and do the whole 'she tried thing'. I am here to stay so look out for my EP.”


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