Songbird flies solo and soars to new heights

To get to this point where she is a signed musician and on the brink of a promising career, Maseng Maanwane, 25, had some shackles to break.

She was finally set free to chase her dream of singing when she finished school and went to study music at the Central Johannesburg College.

Throughout school she never showed her true singing colours. "I was reserved, no one knew I could sing. But I knew that I loved music," she says.

So she registered for music performance in 2010 and found the course to be not what she had in mind. "I realised my love was not really there and so I took a break. I went back to apply for music vocals and I enjoyed the course that included vocal training and things went up from there," she says.

She studied up to N6 but didn't graduate as she stumbled upon a hurdle. Maseng, from Kagiso on the West Rand, says she couldn't do practicals as personal things got in the way. Those included how her church disapproved of her secular music choice instead of gospel music as she was in the worship team.

"It was so difficult for me. I couldn't understand why when I have so much love for this music yet it was seen as wrong.

Sometimes you can receive so much love from your church but some people might keep you from reaching your dreams.

"I would also record music with different people and nothing would happen. It would just sit in the computer. I was so tired, but I still knew my moment would come."

Maseng's life took a turn for the better at a beauty salon while she was doing her hair. Her hairdresser introduced her to Modise Kgomo, founder of On Point Productions, who at that point was looking for a female vocalist to sign. She featured on Jankie's single Village Girl .

"We kept working together. I think I was under evaluation. I'm always willing to learn."

She was finally signed in February last year and worked with Encore, the Tswana balladeers, on their debut album, featuring on the track Lekwalo.

But now Maseng is ready to venture out on her own. She has a hot new single titled Mi Amor that was written for her by Gunshot Fakes (formerly known as The Arrows) that she sings in English with a Spanish chorus. "It's a lush lounge love song about adventure and a love you're willing to fight for.

"I've been waiting for this moment for so long. It's my time now. Encore is there for guidance and they have paved the way for me. It's quite a journey, it's been quite a journey.

"My album is gonna be lit and hot. So far 70% of the album is done with Gunshot Fakes. I can't wait for the world to hear it. The rest will be with Encore."

Maseng says her eyes are fixed on superstardom. "... that's where I'm headed. Not even the sky is the limit."