Rouge’s comeback era packs quite a punch

Sophomore album in pipeline

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Rouge has new music in the pipelines.
Rouge has new music in the pipelines.
Image: Supplied.

Finding her niche is something Rouge takes quite seriously. Even with a musical theatre and acting background, her wide range of artistic skills still helps her to stay at the top. 

Born Deko Barbara-Jessica Wedi, Rouge is back from her four-year hiatus with dual singles Summer Feels and O.T.T, which she dubbed her “comeback era”.

Having been busy working on new music and a film, Whatever It Takes, she recently graced the Miss SA beauty pageant stage in a true demonstration of women's empowerment, sharing in an electrifying performance with R&B sensation Elaine as well as fellow rappers Boity and Nadia Nakai.

We caught up with the Mbongo-Zaka hit-maker to chat about her colourful career.

How has your journey in the music industry been thus far?

My journey in the music industry has been interesting. I honestly cannot believe how far I’ve come, especially during a climate where women in hip-hop were not being noticed or respected for their craft. Fortunately, eight years later, the game is starting to pay females their dues.

Which moment in your life convinced you that being a rapper is your purpose?

When I made it to the finals of a rap competition I was the only female representing my university and this is only a few months after I started to rap. I knew that this was my calling.

Image: Supplied.

What are your career highlights?

Winning a SAFTA [SA Film and Television Award] for my movie New Era Sessions, as well as representing SA in Berlin in an all-female camp, easily one of the memories I'll never forget.

Which moment would you like to relive and why?

When I performed Rocking the Daisies purely because I love the energies of festivals. I love the energies of different people coming together in one place to celebrate our love for music.

Based on your catalogue of music, which song do you love the most and why?

My recent song Summer Feels because it’s easy on the ear and I didn't feel any pressure of being a wordsmith. Music is more about feeling than anything else.

Who is your muse?

Everything around me and almost everyone in my life. The entire world is my canvas in terms of the stories that I want to tell.

Who was your musical inspiration growing up?

Lauryn Hill. I loved her ability to sing and rap in her songs.  She wasn’t mediocre in both but more incredible, which is more mind-blowing. It inspired me to want to be the same, not to mention her incredible storytelling.

I'm also such a massive fan of Stevie Wonder. I would say he's my favourite artist of all time and I believe that he is the best songwriter as well.

I hope my music has the same longevity and legacy as him.

Image: Supplied.

How would you describe your type of storytelling?

I would say my storytelling is honest, fun, and distinguishable. I pride myself on the ability to paint a picture with my words and having supporters come to me and tell me that they knew exactly what I was talking about when I wrote that specific song. It's awesome.

What lessons have you learnt since being in the industry?

That everybody's journey is different. Those things that matter take time. Lastly, choose carefully who you have around you. They will play a big role in how easy or difficult this journey will be.

What's your next?

Currently, I'm working on my sophomore album L.O.S.T.  I'm very excited yet nervous because it's always so difficult to live up to the first album. I'm also working with an NGO [non-governmental organisation] called CRTVE Development, which focuses on social issues and using creators to tell incredible stories as well as putting money in creative pockets.

Everything is going to be about music from here on and I can't wait for the world to experience Rouge 2.0.

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