MASERU – Local songstress and dancer, ‘Mamajara Molapo, has her eyes set on a successful career with international acclaim.
Known as ‘Royal Jay’ to her throngs of fans, is an ‘Amapiano’ and ‘Gqom’ enthusiast, is aged 23 and originally hails from Sebothoane in the Leribe district; she currently stays in Maseru.
She began her schooling at the Leribe English Medium primary and high schools, going on to pursue her tertiary education at the Lerotholi Polytechnic where she studied office administration and management .
‘Mamajara released her debut single ‘Ha ele December’ and was featured in the hit collaboration ‘Skupu’ in 2019 – the song featured the likes of legendary ‘famo’ singer Puseletso Seema, Ntate Stunna and juvenile.
“I have always loved music. I grew up in a noisy environment where they always played some really good songs that I always wanted to dance to and later sing along.
I think that’s where I caught and discovered my talent; and I later started singing in church and in my school choir during events like schools farewells and casual days where I mimed and danced to my favourite songs,” ‘Mamajara recalls.
She look up to the likes of South Africans Nadia Nakai and Bontle Modiselle, but grew up hero-worshiping US singer and actress Jennifer Lopez whose moniker JLo inspired her stage name ‘Royal Jay’. ‘Mamajara would one day like to collaborate with Focalistic and Kamo Mphela.
“But I am now going to switch my name from ‘Royal Jay’ to ‘’MaTeng’ because I want growth…in the next couple of years I intend to penetrate the international market flying my countries flag high. I need a name that will drive a music fan to want to know where I come from.
So far I have performed in a lot of well-known events, the likes of Leribe’s famous event at Mokota-koti, I have been to tertiary events like the National Unversity of Lesotho Freshers’ Ball.
My fans can look out for my next coming single though I can’t reveal its name just yet because it is still in the making,” ‘Mamajara continues.
“Being in the entertainment industry is quite challenging, especially in our country. We need exposure, and recently I have seen a lot of upcoming artists producing and releasing a lot of albums and singles – a very promising feat.
But it dampens the feeling to realise that there are not many female artists in this wave, I know there is a lot of female talent in the country but a lot of them shy away. That is the reason why in Lesotho the entertainment industry is dominated by men,” she observes.
‘Mamajara says the Covid-19 pandemic has affected her in both a negative and a positive way.
“Negatively because events are not up for us to perform as that is where ‘Royal Jay’ gets finances to make a living, but also positively because staying indoors helps her to always be on the internet where she learns a lot of things.
It has given her time to go through and visit other artist’s profiles and see how they do things in their countries,” she adds.
“My family is really supportive, but like all parents to them education is still the key to success, they believe this is just a hobby.
They don’t see it as a career, even though they still allow me to do my music and dancing they want me to study and get a job of my qualification.”