Lockdown’s been tough on the entertainment industry. But it didn’t stop Ms Cosmo. Instead, she’s turned it into an opportunity, and is shining a light on rising talent too.
Strong. Powerful. And proudly South African. These are the words Ms Cosmo uses to describe her new single, Baningi. Really, they’re fitting ways to describe herself.
This club DJ, music producer, radio presenter and podcaster from Fourways is proving to be a formidable force in the entertainment industry – and she’s all about lending a hand to rising female stars.
She says the message behind her latest single is ‘that women are a force to be reckoned with and how fierce we are when we come together’. Uniting local, talented women is just what she did on this song as it features Sho Madjozi, Dee Koala and Nelisiwe Sibiya.
‘I wanted to make a proudly South African song that spoke volumes. I’ve worked with Sho Madjozi before, so it was seamless to do so again. I’ve always wanted to make a song with Nelisiwe Sibiya because of how rich her voice is and it carries the Zulu power through the lyrics and her vocals. Dee Koala is the new kid on the block who’s shaking things up in hip-hop and taking names. The girls are extremely professional and have the same vision in mind.’
This clear vision among the artists was key, especially when the Covid-19 restrictions meant they couldn’t record together in studio – which Ms Cosmo says would have been the best bet to create synergy and an organic vibe. Yet she says, ‘I think the girls all had the same ideology on what we wanted to create with the song.’
Baningi is Ms Cosmo’s fourth single, and she explains her music has evolved from her first song, Connect … which amassed a brilliant 1.5 million views on YouTube. ‘As I continued with Ay Baby and 88, I started to find my sound and consequently started singing on my singles to showcase myself on my songs.’
She’s built up her career since she first took DJ lessons back in 2010. ‘I got a great opportunity to join YFM in 2012 as part of the YTKO weekly feature. That catapulted me into the industry. Soon after, I joined Channel O in 2012 and 5FM in 2013.’ Since then, locally she’s opened for the likes of Kanye West, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz and Chance The Rapper. ‘Internationally, I played in Dubai for an Africa tour in 2018 and in the UK in Birmingham.’
True to the message of her latest song, this multi-talented artist is determined to show just how women are a force to be reckoned with by giving them the platform to rise. This is how SHE Social Event came about. The acronym ‘SHE’ stands for Sensationally Heralded Entertainers. The aim: To give women a big stage to headline.
The event was planned for this year but the restrictions on events due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant it couldn’t be held. But Ms Cosmo’s not one to back down from a challenge. She viewed lockdown as ‘an opportunity for introspection’ and says ‘it proved that adaptability is key’. So, the DJ simply re-imagined her idea by launching the SHE Social Podcast on YouTube to chat to women in the entertainment industry – and to put faces to names. ‘Women are fierce, strong and powerful, and I wanted people who watch to hear from them directly.’
It’s not just about those who’ve already made it. ‘The women I wanted to feature still needed a voice and a platform to be seen in their various places. The podcast gives those women an opportunity to share their stories and insights on why they are in entertainment or the arts.’ She’s loving the conversations … and, as everyone has a different experience, she says there’s always someone to relate to one of the stories. ‘I loved my conversation with Amanda Black. You get to see a real side to her that you wouldn’t typically engage with through her music. She’s fun and lighthearted. I also enjoyed the interview I did with the girls on Baningi as we got to share experiences together about women empowerment and it was the only four-way interview.’
YouTube’s not the only platform where you can catch Ms Cosmo … she uses her social media to allow her work to speak for itself. ‘I try to add a personal touch through my captions and the pictures and content created for my fans to get to know me on a personal level as well.’
She also let us into her world … and she’s a downright northern suburbs girl, having lived here since she was six years old. ‘It’s been a part of me since childhood.’ She went to Bryanston Primary School before Bryanston High and she graduated at the University of Johannesburg with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance. First, she stayed in Sunninghill then Lonehill and Sandton before moving to Fourways in 2013. ‘I love the convenience of having everything available in Fourways. I’ve always said that this area was built so that people wouldn’t need to leave.’
When she’s not producing music and podcasts, revving up the airwaves and playing at gigs, you’ll find her brunching with friends. For a food-meets-drinks vibe, her favourite spot is Gemelli. She loves to hike and play netball, and then kick back by binge-watching TV. But travelling is one of her favourite things to do. ‘Any reason to jump on a plane and explore a new place, I’m up for the adventure.’
Despite 2020 being ‘hard but eye-opening’, Ms Cosmo feels upbeat about the new year and has an exciting project in the works. ‘Let’s stay positive and work through the hard times with the glass half full!’
Details: @MsCosmoSA on Twitter and Instagram, and SHE Social Podcast Ms Cosmo’s YouTube.