Gone are the days of sticking to only one form of artistic expression. Nowadays, musicians have various platforms and options available to them to spread their wings and showcase their many skills in showbiz. The opportunities are endless but with so much competition in the entertainment industry, lucrative deals can sometimes get dirty, causing some serious rivalry in celebrity circles.
But, managed correctly, branching out may not only serve as a creative outlet for an artist’s multi-faceted talent but may also prove valuable for their brand and career advancement. This move can help them reach a wider and more varied audience, generating multiple revenue streams and, more importantly, remaining relevant and at the top of their game in the industry.
We’ve put together a list of some of the musos who’ve managed to make a successful transition pursuing other interests within the industry and, in some instances, in unlikely places… Who knew they could do that?
Joao da Fonseca, better known as J’Something, was born in the Algarve in Portugal. His family immigrated to South Africa, where he later met Mo-T and Dr Duda, forming the hit-making house music trio Mi Casa. Their first two albums, Mi Casa Music and Mi Casa Su Casa, topped music charts and reached triple-platinum-selling status.
But amid the success of the group, J’Something had other ideas brewing. If you were to browse through his social media pages, you would realise that he loves to cook and eat good food.
In 2014, Something’s Cool (J’s creative agency) announced a cooking show titled Something’s Cooking on Mzansi Magic. This was followed two years later by What’s For Dinner? on SABC 3 – a partnership that extended into radio, print, cooking classes and a digital strategy.
Currently, he’s a judge on yet another cooking show, M-Net’s My Kitchen Rules SA, and launched his Something’s Cooking cookbook in November.
Between working on his music and shooting cooking shows, he also managed to partner with various brands as well as appear at Taste of Cape Town and the Good Food and Wine Show – and has recently opened his own restaurant, Something’s Cooking with J, at Time Square, Menlyn, in Pretoria. Besides that, J designed the South African Airways business class menu and is a regular feature in the media for his soulful recipes – cooking up great food alongside Mi Casa’s soulful vibes.
Unathi Msengana is a singer, actress, and TV and radio personality best known for hosting a show on Metro FM’s drive-time show with Glen Lewis (a show she left in early 2017) and for being a judge on M-Net’s popular reality singing competition, Idols, since 2011. But she has also spread her wings as a media entrepreneur and was the first African woman to voice a Walt Disney Junior character – on the TV show Doc McStuffins.
Over the years, she has collected a string of accolades. In 2003, she walked away with two awards at the Metro FM Music Awards, for Song of the Year and Best Dressed Artist. With two South African Music Awards nominations, she has also shared the stage with musicians such as John Legend and Youssou N’Dour. In 2004 and 2005, she was named as one of the Top 10 people in Media by The Star newspaper and as the Most Promising Woman in Media at the MTN Media Awards.
She may have recently left Metro FM, leaving fans shocked and confused, but her followers can rest assured that all is not lost as this multi-talented powerhouse is exploring new horizons. In a recent interview with Gareth Cliff on CliffCentral, Msengana confirmed she is now an author, with a book on health and self-acceptance due for release soon.
Anga Makubalo is a diversely gifted entertainer. He is a popular actor, model and singer best known for his starring role as MJ Memela, the son of the vicious Mawande, in the SABC1 soap opera Generations.
Makubalo, also known by his stage name Naak Musiq, is also athletic. When he was younger he relocated with his mother from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and, in 2003, was accepted at Edenvale High School on a sports bursary, participating in soccer, cricket, athletics and rugby.
He attended acting and presenting classes at Talent International and later became a part-time teacher at the same school, coaching and mentoring young people. In 2009 he studied contemporary music at Damelin in Bramley, being taught by the likes of Benjy Mudie and RJ Benjamin.
He made a guest appearance on the SABC1 show Mmino Mania in 2011, as a singer. From 2008 to 2009 he was a presenter on SABC2’s Hectic 9 Nine.
Having claimed victory for his team in the Tropica Island of Treasure reality TV show earlier this year, he has of late appeared in the crime drama Z’bondiwe: The Chase on e.tv and in SABC3’s Isidingo, and is currently in the popular telenova Igazi on Mzansi Magic. As if that weren’t enough, Makubalo recently announced plans for his own retail clothing line.