By Amir Bagheri
Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Boity; a South African Musician, Entrepreneur, and a Mogul in the making.
In this interview, we talked about Boity’s childhood, Grandma, Music, and early adulthood.
Amir: Firstly, thanks for sitting with me.
Boity: It’s a pleasure.
Amir: I’m really excited about “4436”. Which is the name of your new EP. I was reading on the internet that it is the house number for your grandmother’s house in Potchefstroom.
Boity: It is that yeah, it’s the house number of the house that I grew up in Potchefstroom.
Amir: tell me about your grandmother.
Boity: She’s the love of my life. She’s incredible. She’s like well… she raised me. I am literally the woman that I am and I would like to believe that I am a great woman because of her. Yes. I was raised by her. She is… She’s really like angelic, but not in a dead way. Like, I mean… like a… like I can’t fault her. She’s just too good. So yeah, that’s my Grandma. She’s incredible. She’s still in Potch’ right now.
Amir: Has she had the chance to listen to EP?
Boity: Not yet but she knows some songs from the EP; actually, her favourite is “Own Your Throne”, purely because she loves the fact that I keep saying I’m a queen and she loves it. You know, she’s so proud of that. She’s part of the fact that I believe it… and I don’t know… I guess to a certain extent it makes her feel like she’s done enough, you know? That I’ve gotten to this point in my life where I believe that I am a queen.
Amir: Own Your Throne- it’s a tagline that I think you’ve used for some years now. I think the first time I came across it – and this might be a bit controversial so you don’t have to respond to it – was in the time when you were very serious, and also private, but a little bit public, about exploring this spiritual side in your life. And there was the whole buzz around you exploring within traditional healing. Did your grandmother play a role in that? Because that was the first time I think I remember you said “own your throne” if I’m not mistaking.
Boity: Okay. Well, maybe it was the time when I truly was in essence really owning my throne but the tagline… I came up with it and I feel like I was experiencing the lowest point of my life at that time and I was actually trying to dig myself out of this… kind of like depressive space, and “own your throne” for me… I started using it as a means of reminding me that I can rise, you know? like… it’s like you are trying to force yourself into believing that you’re this queen. So I started using it over and over again as a way to kind of make myself believe that I’m worthy of more than this rut that I found myself in but also as a means of reminding myself that I’m… I’m better than I think I am just because of this little small movement. So I started using “own your throne” from then and I think it just became a reality, almost, you know? I eventually did end up believing it and I started earning my throne. So that’s the tagline, but with regards to my spirituality and traditional healing journey… funny enough my grandma is… she’s a full-on conservative Christian. So this was me… it was a journey I walked on my own. Yeah, it wasn’t influenced by family. I think… it ended to be the other way around. I ended up influencing my family to join me on this journey. Yeah, but for me, it was… it started off as… I was trying to explore all the various things I could in the spiritual world that would make me feel like… I finally found that thing that’ll fill this gap, you know? I don’t know… I always felt like I had this spiritual gap that was not being filled by anything. And then I took that route of the traditional healing space and it was like an aha moment. I was like… ah fuck! This was it, you know? so yeah.
Amir: If I may ask one more question regarding that, I remember reading an interview on The Citizen where you said- from an early age, you used to have these spiritual experiences in your dreams. But as an adult, what was the moment that triggered you- like fuck! I should really pursue this. I should really, actually, look into it.
Boity: I don’t know because I didn’t really know about traditional healing. It wasn’t something I was exposed to. Like I said, I come from a Christian background. I was Anglican. So when it happened, it was almost like the person who was explaining it to me, was speaking to my soul, because I got it; not knowing that, that was the thing that I was waiting for. So it wasn’t necessarily like- I went and I heard about it. It was one moment where it’s like… it’s… it just felt like someone just spoke to something that I’ve been waiting to hear, you know? and it just felt like an aha moment. You can’t really explain it. You would have had to be there to feel what I felt. But I feel like that’s it, You know? It’s that kind of feeling. So yeah!
Amir: What was life growing up in Potchefstroom?
Boity: I’d say it was… It was beautiful. It was colourful.
Amir: Do you go back often?
Boity: Not often enough… not as often as I used to… and it’s annoying because Potch’ isn’t even that far; like an hour drive.
Amir: when I say “Potchefstroom” what feelings and emotions emerge?
Boity: I feel like happy, and child-like. Like child-like happiness. It’s like a… I just feel like when I see… when I think of Potch’ I want to walk barefoot, you know? It’s like freedom. So it just home; like the true essence of home. The place where basically you can just breath out and feel like everything is okay. Yeah… I think freedom and walking barefoot and just… just feeling like everything is okay.
Amir: let’s talk about early adulthood. Monash! Psychology and Criminology. Tell me about that. I want to know what was on your mind.
Boity: Well… the guy that I was dating it in 2007 before I went to Monash, he used to read these criminal-psycho books. So there was this book, it’s called The Halo Effect. I still remember it like it was yesterday and I remember being so… like I was so taken aback. And so I don’t know, it was like… the book swallowed me because I read about this woman and what she was doing. She was a serial killer profiler and I just remember… the fact that even now the story, till this day, it’s still vividly stuck in my head. Like I remember the book like… from page one till the end; how it was, how it unfolded, and how I created this movie in my mind and I just felt like I wanted to be this woman, you know?
I think that’s where the urge came from. It was from this… literally just this one book and I just… and then I started doing some research and I realised that there’s only two, you know in South Africa, there’s only two like profilers… female profilers rather. I was just like well… why can’t I also get in there, you know? And it was a… honestly it was a deeply rooted like… I didn’t even know if I would have been passionate about something like that. It just came out of nowhere. So I just decided that. It wasn’t initially what I was going to study, but Monash was not offering acting, drama, and fine arts. So my second option was this other sudden passion, which was being a serial killer profiler and then I decided to take psychology and criminology and it was such a… criminology I would recommend… even if it’s a six-month course, I would recommend every human being to take criminology because you learn so much about daily life things. It’s a brilliant subject and I would do it again if I could. Psychology… I’m really yeah… I saw flames and some of those other statistical psychology courses blew my fucking mind in the worst way. So Psychology was amazing, but if I could go back to psychology, it would only be for like… to become like a… a child psychologist. Yes! I would only go back for that.
Amir: So obviously for personal reasons you dropped out and there was the agency that you signed to, for your acting career, which started with an ad.
Amir: But then… this is something really fascinating to me. I don’t know how I can capture all of this together and now bring it to your EP. In a sense, immediately after that, you went into acting, you did a few gigs, from then your portfolio as a South African actress and personality kept on growing bigger and bigger. So there was this ongoing pattern of success which for a lot of South Africans doesn’t always happen. There’s always a moment of sunshine and then boom! darkness! right? But you’ve had this gradual growth and it’s been pretty much linear. And I’m always very much interested in those kinds of stories. And then what really confused me, was when you came out as a rapper. I’m not gonna lie. Everybody was surprised! And we were all talking about it, right? I remember speaking about it, specifically when I was invited to this other podcast and we were talking about how you became a rapper. And I’m not the type who generally categorizes rappers to “male rappers” or “female rappers”, but because the majority of people do, immediately after you became a rapper, you became the best-selling female rapper, first female rapper to go platinum, and for me, it was like – this is fucking crazy. You are still on that gradual growth and that linear growth on to who you becoming.
So, why music? why a rapper all of a sudden?
Boity: So with the rapping, like you’re saying, you were surprised so was I! It was… I’m not going to lie and be like… I’ve been planning this for the past few years and… no… it’s the way in which it happened. It always just feels like the universe was waiting for me to just try because it’s almost like… It’s something that’s been waiting to happen. Even though I didn’t know, you know? so yeah… but anyway… how it happened was… I just wanted one opportunity, one moment, to rap along with Nasty C. And literally, this is… I was like… this was a fan moment for me. It was me standing out and being like- Nasty, It’s my last episode of Club808. Can you make my wildest dream come true, and just rap with me?
Because I was like… my favourite verses are in his [Nasty C’s] Juice Back, and he was like – okay cool. And that moment was supposed to be it. It was supposed to be like – I did it, you know? And for me, I would always just go back to that video and watch it and be like, oh my God, I can’t believe I did this! I was on TV. So I was happy, I didn’t know it was going to eventually turn into what it is now, but we’ve got Nasty to blame for that because he ended up calling and he was like – Yo! you’ve got something, why don’t you come to the studio? And see what you could do? And I was like – hell no! It sounded ridiculous. I was like – I am not coming to the studio. I just wanted to do the song! Your song! You know? I like rapping other people’s music. I’m not saying I want to be a rapper! And then he was like – well, I mean if you want to try it out, I’m here. Then I think a month down the line, or two months later, I thought about it and I was like – Why not? Let’s see… well you know… it was like timing… you never know. It could be the universe saying try something and I went into the studio, recorded like three unreleased songs. No one has even heard them before, you know? We recorded songs and… He was like you’ve got something here… work with it. See what you can do. And I think when we eventually recorded… that was when I was like- okay, let me try. Let’s see, you know? Let’s give it a go and I think, him believing in me… just…. yeah, it pushed me into this little space where I was like… where I saw the possibility and I gave it a try.
Amir: When you were recording, you were still not sure about this music thing but was there a moment where you were daydreaming like – fuck, I really hope this happens! Was there a moment where you were like – I want to have this rapper dream-life come true.
Amir: So was it a surprise to you?
Boity: No… No. No, it wasn’t. I don’t know… like… a lot of my friends weren’t surprised actually when this rapping thing happened. Because [they say] you are always the person on the bus or in the car or somewhere, and you’re rapping along to every single song, word for word. Like we’ve watched you perform for us all the time. So those are the moments that I’m just like – you don’t take them seriously. you just thinking… no… rapping to Jay-Z or to whoever… and you’re thinking that you just doing it because you’re… it’s dope… It’s cool, but I didn’t know I was tapping into something that would eventually turn me into this, you know? So, like I said, my friends weren’t surprised. But there were many moments where… even when I’m MC’ing… like I remember it was Casper’s Fill Up, I was an MC and I remember getting on stage and rapping one of his songs and feeling the crowd respond to me rapping. It’s a different feeling and those things stay with you. So I guess I can’t lie be like – no, I never saw it. like yeah, of course, I had moments where I was just like it would be so fucking cool, but I didn’t know it was… it would be so fucking cool to get to an EP and album and getting a record, you know? Like with a record label. I didn’t know it was there. I just thought even if it’s one song… I would have been satisfied.
Amir: You also opened for Migos, alongside Nasty C. What was that like? I want to know about that.
Boity: Yes, so that was before all that. Which is fucking wild. So, Nasty had signed to Mabala [Records] at the time and Mabala was the one who brought Migos in. So he had the opportunity to open for Migos as well. So he had the opportunity to be on stage and he was like… let’s get on and just do one song. He just he mentioned it and I was like, are you sure? is it possible? He was like fuck yeah! I’m sure they won’t have a problem with it. And then, he, even like… there were like dancers… he prepared like dancers and I was like yo!!! What the fuck!! And I was just like, you know what… I’m not gonna squander this opportunity and I’m not gonna… I feel like he was… he believed in me so much. I felt like it would be a middle finger to him to actually, not give myself that chance as well.
So he was like, yeah get on stage. You’ll get a chance to feel what it’s like, you know? And to see if this is really something you’re willing to do. And I did… and it was so strange. I couldn’t see… what the fuck… it was… the lights were so bright and I didn’t have my glasses on… but I got on, and I think people were just…. firstly confused, but they were cheering on because the main thing was like is that Boity? and for me? I just went with it. I just went with the energy of the crowd and I was like… it’s a moment.
Amir: It’s really interesting because a lot of people do know, and do think, that your rapping career, more or less, started alongside Nasty when you guys did “Wuz Dat?” and you went platinum and all of that. But it looks like, or at least to me, it sounds like he had more of a role to play even in terms of performance, in terms of just pushing it…
Boity: He had the biggest… look from the get-go… I don’t want to always make it seem like I want to mention him because I feel like sometimes it makes me feel awkward, you know? but I always mention the fact that… I am a 100% sure that this wouldn’t have happened if he had not reached out and pushed me… and God… that was my first Studio experience and all the songs I did prior to that were preparation to Wuz Dat?.
What came after… I was really comfortable because he gave me his time which is… you can’t…. like… it is someone’s time! You’ll never get that back! And he gave his time! His studio time. His intellect. His creativities. He just sat there with me and he was like – record another one. I’ve got another one. I’ve got this beat. I had… He’d stand there with me when I’m recording it. He’d be like, do this… make the sound… It started with him. That’s for sure.
Amir: That’s amazing. This is what I want to say before I move on to a few more questions. I mean, I’ve always had an immense amount of respect for you. Again because of your gradual growth within everything that you have been doing. But, what I’ve come to realise, and this is quite common not only in South Africa but I think globally as well, is how… let’s say people like you and I, people who are now in their 30s, kind of established. And then there’s this younger generation of people who are actually doing phenomenal things. And we know it! But oftentimes what I see is that it creates quite a bit of tension between the older ones and the younger ones. And oftentimes we don’t want to give them the credit in which they deserve. And the reason why I say I respect you so much more now is that you are giving… you know… Junior [Nasty C] that credit. despite him being more or less 10 years younger… and you seeing the talent in him, him seeing the talent in you, and both of you are creating such good music… and both of you giving that credit to each other for it. I mean that’s a lot of courage! Not many people do that. And I do want to tell you that… that’s a very noble thing to do.
Boity: I appreciate that. Thank you.
Amir: Your new EP has nine tracks. tell me all about them. What are you trying to achieve with the EP? Because we have seen your singles. They have been all immensely successful. This is the first body of work we are seeing musically… tell me about this body of work.
Boity: I needed to put out a body of work… firstly it was time. So that’s reason number one. It took a lot of courage to be like – fine, fuck. So yeah, it’s for me. It’s like I wanted to use all the knowledge… courage… Yeah… All of that I’ve been acquiring while I did the features, etc, and put in all of this in this project, you know? So I feel like I sounded my best in the EP and that’s what I wanted to put across. I feel like I’m now in a position to kind of prove that… okay… I can rap and I can do this, you know? I’ve been doing everything I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing it because I love doing it. I’m doing it for me. I enjoy it, but there was a little bit of a pressure that I allowed myself to experience with regards to the EP to be like, okay, you have to… be kind of… show them that you can do this. And you have to do it… like you have to give it your absolute all… so for me, that’s it. I just wanted to out-rap myself in the EP and I wanted to put that across. So the main thing is… the body of work is to show that I can. I’m now mentally in a position where I want to stay in the game. So I had to put out that work to be like, I think I deserve a position.
Amir: What’s next after the EP?
Boity: What’s next… I can definitely confirm that there’s something else coming and it’s completely different to what I’ve done thus far.
Amir: Okay, so you are gonna surprise us again?
Boity: Yes, people are gonna be like what the fuck is wrong with you? stop it!
Amir: I’m excited.
Boity: So am I. It is really cool and I think it should be out in Feb  if I’m not wrong.
Amir: That’s my birthday month.
Boity: You are a Pisces. Cool! Pisces are fucking fantastic.
Amir: Thank you. I appreciate it. This whole astrology shit… my people invented it…
Boity: Your people?
Amir: The Persians…
Boity: Oh really?
Amir: So yea… I do somehow believe in it. I do, from a biased point of view… But then there are days where I’m like… well…
Boity: I believe it, in a sense of like…. the way they explain personalities and how people get along, etc… that side of it. Not the next week looks like this shit is gonna happen.
Amir: We were talking about your next thing…
Boity: Oh, yes. Yes. So in February, yeah, it should be releasing… launching… whatever… Yeah, there’s still more from the perfume side… like we’re going to… that’s going to evolve more and more.
Amir: Now one of the personal questions. The thing is, you are active on social media and in a good way, you don’t get tiring because… I do get tired of a lot of people and social media. You are active, but you being active oftentimes creates a question in people’s mind – holy shit, Boity is doing so much all the fucking time.
What is your every day look like? without the work? If you actually had to go on a sabbatical for a week, what would Boity do when she wakes up?
Boity: Absolutely fucking nothing. You know, the way I get so busy nothing sounds like freedom at this point. On my days off, honestly, I really just sit in bed and I’ll get up and make myself some breakfast. I’ll think about showering… will see… it’s not even… sometimes, it’s not even an option. I just want to do nothing and I want to do nothing without feeling guilty, you know? Because I feel like, we’re so inundated with so much work and so much this and that, just staying off my phone even, that is part of the nothing, you know? Getting off the phone and just being… playing with my dogs, read a book, or watch a great series… something… something that just makes me feel like, I am blazing around. That for me… guilt-free lazy days are a dream for me.
Amir: You mentioned you enjoy reading. Any favourite authors right now?
Boity: I just started reading “A Return to Love” again, by Marianne Williamson. It’s one of those books you have to return to.
Amir: One last one. A lot of young girls look up to you Boity. Are you comfortable in the role model figure that somehow people have presumed you into? and I’m so sorry for asking you this question, but I think it’s an important one.
Boity: It is important, yeah. Look, it’s a bit of both. I’m comfortable because I’m honoured and it’s like, okay great. But also it’s like… it’s a mental pressure because you always have to be thinking like, okay who’s watching? Who’s not? Whose parent is going to say- aaah!! How dare you do that to my daughter? So I’m stuck in between doing what the fuck I want and considering other people’s children. But also, in between that, as well, it is an honour and privilege. People are like… they put you on this pedestal. So, ultimately I think it’s a good responsibility and I think it keeps me in check without me even trying because you are always considering who’s watching. But yeah, I include myself in this.
Amir: Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me. Yeah, and I think the most important thing is for people to realize that no matter who we are, even as role models, we are still flawed human beings.
Amir: And if you can accept that, then this role model figure thing becomes a lot easier to navigate around.
Amir: But Boity, thank you so much for talking to me.
Boity: Thank you! This was the best, actually!