NYLON NINETEEN

Moonchild Sanelly On 'Phases' Album, Astrology & Memes

The rising South African singer and musician is eyeing global domination.

Moonchild Sanelly is more than her rap sheet of achievements. Over the last few years, the 34-year-old South African artist has risen to the top of the international scene, identifiable by her signature head of teal braids and bold and brash anthems of female sexuality and empowerment. On Friday, the music and dancer releases her second album, Phases, which she’s calling her most intimate project yet. “I go through my dark side, I go through my whimsical side, I go through my playful or whimsical [side],” she tells NYLON of the album. “It's basically shades of the moon.”

The 19-track album still holds its fair share of thumping confidence-boosting bangers but also gets into her insecurities, a result of creating this album during lockdown and having more time to explore her feelings. You can hear it on single “Over You,” her bouncy break-up song that admits to being lonely and crying — though still ends on a note of triumph: “'Cause the day I thought I'd never get through/ I got over you,” she sings. It’s just the Sanelly way. “If I'm vulnerable, it ends with me being in charge and taking myself away from something that is negative,” she tells NYLON. “The end is always going to be empowering.”

Now, Sanelly is courting global recognition with no insignificant help from previous collaborations with Wizkid and Beyonce and her close affiliation with amapiano, South Africa’s clubby and distinct style of house music that’s gained traction on an international scale in recent years. And her eyes are on a bigger prize still: “I'm going for the Grammies. I’m going for change,” she says.

Before that happens, get familiar with Sanelly early by reading on to hear the singer’s own thoughts about astrology, memes, her favorite movies, and more.

1

What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?

Scorpio. Yes, I believe in astrology. I’m a typical Scorpio, super intense, full of imagination and desire.

2

Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?

Yes. I've seen a ghost, so I believe!

3

What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)

Cognac and Red Bull. I don't get hangovers but if i did, I’d drink a “Moonmosa” to cure it. It's something I invented this year at SXSW: tequila and fresh orange juice.

4

Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?

Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Rihanna.

5

What's the weirdest snack that you make?

Blue mashed potatoes.

6

What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

Verbal diarrhea...

7

What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?

When I hit someone with a mic for touching my bum and a lot of South Africa said I deserved it. I read the comments.

8

Describe your worst date in three words.

No conversation, broke.

9

If you could be in any music video, what would it be?

A Drake music video for some crazy ass shaking.

10

What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?

Maxwell. I was dancing with a boyfriend living my aunt's dreams live to his music.

11

What was your favorite movie as a kid?

Chucky. Is that bad?

12

What's your favorite meme/internet joke and why?

The doll with the hair that's super f*cked up cause I be like that once a week.

13

What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?

J.Lo's Versace green dress.

14

What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?

A vibrator.

15

What is one question you never want to be asked again?

"Where do you come from?" Because it's so Googleable, you can incorporate the information within a question that is about discovery.

16

What is your go-to sad song?

Doja Cat - “Been Like This.”

17

What reality show would you most like to appear on?

Beyoncé's reality show! (Keeping Up With The Carters??)

18

What is your best beauty tip or trick?

Don't be like me, actually wipe your makeup off before you sleep. I had to buy brown pillows

19

What is your favorite pair of shoes that you own, and why?

Leather chunky boots. Stage-safe and sexy AF.

Phases is out 6/10 via Transgressive Records.