Having recently launched her EP Untold Stories, Hlengiwe Pearl is the underdog musician we should all look out for, writes Manosa Nthunya.
Hlengiwe Pearl – Untold Stories
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Aside from her terrific outfits and undeniable charm, Hlengiwe Pearl presented herself as a supreme vocalist with a knack for making good songs at the launch of her EP, which was hosted at The Glass Auditorium in Sandton recently.
Many will remember Pearl from her collaborations with Joyous Celebration and renowned artists including Sibongile Khumalo, Thandiswa Mazwai, Jimmy Dludlu, Simphiwe Dana and Judith Sephuma, to name but a few.
When we meet to talk about the solo journey she has decided to embark on, Pearl tells me that things have not been easy.
She’s struggled with financing and has often been disappointed by people who promised to help but didn’t.
Pearl is from Umlazi in Durban. She grew up there and knew quite early in her life that she had a passion for music.
She learnt she could sing while participating in her church choir, which is why she has been singing gospel music for much of her career.
With this new project, however, she has decided to change gears a bit.
“I struggled a lot with the decision of whether to stick to gospel or do something else. I knew that I was gifted and could do much more than just stick to one genre. The aim with this project is to be able to express myself in many ways,” she says.
Untold Stories is a project about love. The love for God, love in intimate relationships, love for her fans and the disappointments of love.
“I would like to be a mouthpiece for other people who are unable to express their stories about love, heartbreak and many other things,” she explains.
One can discern anguish in one of the standout tracks, Lutho. The song is about two parties involved in a romantic relationship realising that the relationship can no longer work and that something has to give.
While Lutho expresses the disappointments of love, the other tracks are about celebrating it. This is most evident in a song titled Busisiwe, which is about the joys and surprises that emanate when we find ourselves in healthy relationships.
“God has blessed me with an amazing guy. I wrote the song way before he came into my life. When he did, I thought: ‘This is the guy I was writing about,’” she says when asked about the inspiration behind Busisiwe.
She admits that she did not grow up in an environment where talents were nurtured.
“As black people, we are not groomed from an early age. We are not taken to the right schools to empower us for this business and, unfortunately, I’m one of those people. But where I am now – I feel like it’s a good start,” she says.