A breeze is sweeping through Mzansi’s entertainment landscape, and with a name that means ‘she who must be admired’, Miranda Mokhele is on a meteoric rise to the top.
lessed with a smooth, captivating voice, smouldering good looks, and an unmistakable playful spirit, she’s set to take the music world by storm with a first single that promises nothing but timeless, authentic, afro, jazzy and urban sounds in her own unique brand of soul.
No stranger to the entertainment field, having bagged appearances on SABC 1’s Tshisa, Mthunzini.com, E-TV’s Rhythm City, SAB1's Sokhulu and Partners, Soweto tv’s Ziyamporoma as well as SABC 1’s new youth Programme Walala Wasala she is already being hailed as Mzansi’s next big thing.
This comes as no surprise, given that at 24, nothing can get this fresh-faced, go-getter down; “I am in this for the long run. I firmly believe that God does not bless one with a specific talent for no reason at all, but to fulfil a purpose. That’s why I bring truckloads of positivity and a newfound resilience which this industry seems to lack”, she asserts.
She certainly doesn’t mince her words either, which should come in handy as this self-proclaimed bookworm pens her soon-to-be-launched debut album.
“Although my musical influences differ depending on the mood I’m in, my goal is to always make the songs as universal as possible - without losing my Mzansi roots of course! Being born in a country with such a rich tapestry of culture certainly has its benefits in this regard”, she quips.
Raised in the quiet town of Jaggersfontein in the Free State, Miranda Mokhele grew up with music practically running through her veins. Born to Gunter Willie Ammon, a German immigrant and Cecilia Malifu Mokhele, life was certainly not easy - particularly when her mother died at Miranda’s tender age of only a year and a half.
This demanded some major adjustments, as Dad, who was based in Johannesburg, now had to take care of her by himself. Without the help of a nanny, her father took her to work with him everyday, where his colleagues took turns in babysitting, and little Miranda honed her skills as resident ‘teababy’ and artist.
It wasn’t all bad though as father and daughter revelled in Dad’s specialty - eggs and pancakes, and laughed at their often futile attempts to tame her wild afro.
When her father finally enlisted the help of a reliable nanny, Miranda was taken back to the Free State, while he worked in Johannesburg. Miranda soon fell in love with music in her second Grade. Listening to the Grade four students singing ‘Koloi Ena’ in the school hall, she was mesmerised. Walking back home, she would mimic their steps, wistfully thinking about the day when she could be old enough to join them.
Adamant that Johannesburg was not the place for his young girl to grow up, her father enrolled Miranda as a boarder at an art school. As fate would have it, her hidden talent was waiting to be discovered...
When she moved to Lady Grey Arts Academy in the Eastern Cape, she would hang around in corridors, once again mimicking the choir’s classical recitals. In yet another twist of fate, she was overheard by the choir headmaster, and invited to join.
Never happy resting on her laurels, Miranda soon became a choir soloist and voice group leader. Passing her light music singing exam with a distinction was the turning point in her life. Now firmly rooted in her pursuit of a career as a musician and actor; Miranda matriculated and enrolled for her B.A. degree in live performance, majoring in music at AFDA.
“After I matriculated, I knew I wanted to study music but because of financial reasons I applied for a Bcom law degree instead. I soon realised that I would be making a mistake and registered for a B.A. degree in live performance instead”, she explains.
Writing songs and teaching herself how to play the guitar, however, was an instant escape mechanism, she confesses. This, coupled with her first performance at University was her first real glimpse into how much she really loved music.
With musical icons such as Mama Miriam Makeba, and Lira as her inspiration, her goal of becoming South Africa’s next musical sensation, is no pipe dream.
“At this point in my career, I’m committed to learning all there is to know about this industry. Music should be timeless; I’d like to be known and remembered as a lady of soul - a performer who tugged at the strings of the heart of the audience and got people grooving to the soulful sounds of her voice”, she says.
Looking to the future, Miranda has taken on yet another challenge in the form of an acting career. Under the mentorship of Gaenor Becker, who has taken her under her wing and is teaching her the traits of the acting business, Miranda is cutting her teeth as a children’s acting agent where she secures acting jobs for children – if not herself!
If her zest for life and relentless determination is anything to go by, this songbird’s is one to watch as she prepares for takeoff!