Dope Saint Jude has been establishing her role in the South African hip hop music scene performing on international stages, making statements for social change, collaborating with major brands and representing Cape Town culture. Her career has gained momentum in the past year since her EP release, "Reimagine". We caught up with her ahead of the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival this weekend, where she will be performing.
What message and memorable experience(s) would you like to convey to the audience during your performance at the Basha Uhuru Youth Festival?
I try to give my audience as much love as possible. I share with my audience my journey and I hope that my story inspires others to pursue their heart's desires too.
Do you adapt your live performances based on the dynamics of the audience and location? Please explain?
No, I remain quite consistent. It would be inauthentic to change myself depending on my audience. Sometimes I read the audience and feel what they need, but I never adapt the core of my performance.
You performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival earlier this year, how does it feel to be associated with such a reputable event?
It feels good, but also very natural. While I feel very honoured to have been included, I have a very clear idea of where I am going and it was a natural milestone on my journey.
Your debut EP, "Reimagine" was released last year, what have you learnt about the reception and feedback process from your audience since then?
The feedback was quite positive. But I have learnt that people's tastes vary. I have learnt that my job as an artist is to remain as honest with my audience as possible.
Do you think the African audience have absorbed gender neutrality as a norm?
I am not sure. Within certain spaces it varies. I think that with social media visibility, it is an idea people are slowly getting used to.
What does the country's hip-hop genre lack in your opinion?
I think our hip hop industry is thriving. I do not think there is anything lacking. I would like to hear more rap in more of the many official languages of our country. On another note, the rise of Gqom music is exciting to me.
How do your identities as Catherine and Dope Saint Jude complement or differ from each other?
They are quite similar these days. They used to be separate, but because my career has grown so rapidly, they have become the same thing.
What has been your most vulnerable moment in your career thus far?
The passing of my mother just after the release of my EP. It was a challenging time for me both personally and creatively.
What should we look forward to from you in the near future?
I am working with great producers and hope to release a project soon. I have only just started my career, so I am feeling positive about the future!
Photography and Styling: Sarah Hugo-Hamman
Interview: Sesona Mahlahla