Moonchild Sanelly is often labelled one to watch, but this doesn’t quite capture what the South African singer, dancer and poet has already accomplished: she’s a serious phenom in Johannesburg (where she’s currently based), has performed at SXSW in the United States and has even collaborated with the likes of Die Antwoord, Gorillaz and, most recently, Ghetts, on the British rapper’s Conflict of Interest album.
One of the most distinctive, prismatic voices at the forefront of the South African house music movement, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Gqom” imbues her radical brand of electro-Afro-punk-Kwaito-pop with equally radical sex-positive messaging, especially on her 2020 EP, Nüdes, a celebration of sexual liberation and women’s empowerment. The queer-identifying multi-hyphenate is vocal about the importance of public discourse surrounding body positivity, consent, sex, and sexuality, particuarly in South Africa.
In 2019, the Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) native was handpicked by Beyoncé to appear on the music icon’s curated The Lion King: The Gift album, as well as its visual companion Black Is King, which saw Moonchild Sanelly collaborate with Bey herself on track “My Power” alongside Tierra Whack and Nija. If a personal co-sign from Beyoncé isn’t enough to signal Moonchild Sanelly as a global superstar in the making, we don’t know what is.
Text Erica Russell