After having first gained national recognition with her stellar appearance on the hit single, “Bad M*#@!” with Bulo-man 5ive 4our Bwalya Sophie Chibesakunda’s now storied ascent into music began to unfold.
The now Lusaka-based Capricorn, born in the ’80s in the sweetest town south-west of Lusaka, Mazabuka in the Southern Province, Bwalya as she is known to her sewn core and as Bomb$hell Grenade professionally has since gone on to release some very successful solo entries and has done hit record collaborations with well known Zambian musicians like Dean, Ruff kid, Wezi, Cleo, King illest, Kantu, Nyemba, Kaladoshas, Mic Burner, Mumba Yachi, Kekero and many others. She has also collaborated with Sizer A Milli a Nigerian artist to make her a recognised brand in Africa while boldly securing a coveted, not to mention very well deserved, position in the annals of Hip-Hop, her-story has been an integral factor within the confines of the fabric of urban music for the better part of the past decade.
Bomb$hell a nominee at the Kwacha Music Award 2018 Best Female Artist category is an Entrepreneur, an Activist, a Brand Influencer and currently make the trio hosting Queens Of Lusaka, a talk show about social trends making headlines.
Bomb$hell has a corporate partnership with network service providers, MTN, Zamtel and Airtel. These strategic partnerships have made her the ideal choice for brand partnership with global brands targeting Zambia and Africa.
Bomb$hell is recognised by MTV Base as one of the best female African hip-hop queens.
HypeMagazineZambia caught up with the super talented, very sexy, Bomb$hell, to talk about her journey in music and much more. Read the full interview here…
Hype Magazine: What made you pursue your own career in music?
Bomb$hell: Music is in my blood, music is in my body, I feel it all around me, uh coming from a background of people that love music. I grew up with my uncles who loved rap music. They loved to dress me up like a hip-hop person, I would wear an earring on the one side and an X on the other. They made me listen to the likes of Run DMC, DMX, MC Lyte, you know the old school cat. So I grew up around people that loved art. So it’s in my blood it’s growing up with it that made me love music. As kids when asked, what do you wanna do when you grow up? My friends will be like I wanna be a Pilot, Doctor and that kind of a thing, but I always said I wanna be a star, and my signature has a star in it. So my uncles played a huge role in me pursuing a career in music and the sky is the limit. That’s just what it is.
Hype Magazine: What’s your favourite Bomb$hell song to listen to and to perform?
Bomb$hell: My favourite Bomb$hell song is “Backshot” I released it last year. The song was produced by Magician of Crystal Ball Music. I always look forward to performing that song. Then just when the beat starts playing I love the way the crowd goes crazy. Mine is definitely “Backshot.” I have more favourite songs, including “Same Ol Me” as well by So Good Records featuring Mumba Yachi. It’s a soulful song it speaks about my life and about who I am behind the camera. For me when I hear that song it makes me cry my heart out. There a lot of people out there who feels like when one person is in the limelight, then you forget about your day 1 niggas. There are more favourite songs coming up that will be dropping soon.
Hype Magazine: What do you want people to get from your new music?
Bomb$hell: I have kind of mixed up the whole genre of Rap and Dancehall together. I want people when they hear my music, when they hear my voice they should just know it’s a happy time, its time to “fukunyuka” spend that money on your drinks and have a good time, feel good, feel life. With the current situation we experiencing, like the coronavirus you start to realise that you only live once, life is a very strong gift from God so when people hear my music I want them to know that they are blessed they are beautiful. I may not have said it in a song but I feel the music should touch your soul. So with my genre of dancehall and Hip Hop mixed together which is more just like a piece of dance music, I want people to dance, I want people to feel happy, I want a sad person feeling like life is crazy it’s taking them down, I want them when they hear Bomb$hell say damn life is actually good let us celebrate. So my music is about celebration.
Hype Magazine: As a songwriter, where do you actually draw that inspiration from?
People, Places and Things.
Bomb$hell: I have a team of creative people that I sit down with before we write a song, it’s not just my brain, that goes around it and hit the nail on the head, I can come up with the whole song, ideas, words and everything but I still sit with my team, so it’s all teamwork.
Am always in the studio and we come up with scenarios and those scenarios create inspiration. Like, look at my situation I earlier spoke about, one of my favourite songs which is ‘Same Ol Me’, came out of that situation, I was trying to tell people who I am, who feel that I’m different now. So it’s just different scenarios.
Like for instance, now we have coronavirus, people are suffering, people don’t have work because we have to practice social distancing, that too can inspire lyrics to a song.
Hype Magazine: What is your favourite part about this line of work? And, why?
Bomb$hell: I love what I do, it’s a dream come true it’s something that I have followed from my heart. Even when I wake up and am tired and I have a performance, just knowing that am doing what I love gives me strength. It’s something that is God-given, so I have opened my gift from God and I have embraced it and am making good use of it. It gives me joy that I am following what God gave me. Being in the studio and creating magic and then the DJ plays the sound and people dance to it. Magical, that’s my favourite part.
Hype Magazine: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Bomb$hell: I look at the young people when being asked this question. First foremost my advice is to go to school, get your education. If you have a gift from God, no one can ever take that away from you. So get your education sorted out and then go and pursue what your heart desire. Rome was not built in a day and music does not just come on a silver platter. You have to work hard. Go out there and show the world what you got. I didn’t reach where I am this day by just sitting there. So God first, work hard, get your education and follow your heart.
Hype Magazine: Now I think one of the amazing things about your craft is that it’s so versatile, and it’s kind of a mixture of all genres. With that said, which Bomb$hell can we expect to get on the next project?
Bomb$hell: Okay thank you so much. Am recording an album right now. As I said, I don’t want my music to stick to one person only. I want people to dance, it’s all about dance. We need happiness, it’s important for mental health. With all the mental issues going on around in the world, we need happiness. I want people to hear my music and feel happy, there is a lot of things that I say in my rhymes that people can laugh about like did she just say that……
My next project is all about dance, it’s a whole mix of genres of Rap, Dancehall, Garage, Kwaito, Amapiano. It’s a whole mixture it’s like “fisashi” I want to have the ear of everyone out there. That’s why I will have Bemba, Nyanja English, heck we can even add some French, Spanish and Portuguese. So my next project is a Dancehall it’s a Rap, House and Amapiano in Nyanja and Kopala all infused in one element. Title of the song is called “FUKUNYUKA #KWASA KWASA”
Hype Magazine: You’ve been in the music game for over a decade now. During that time, I’m sure you’ve seen the evolution of it as well. So, how do you managed to stay creatively sharp and true to your sound, even in an industry that tries to force you to conform to the so fickle and ever-demanding new-age wave?
Bomb$hell: Yeah I have been in the industry a minute for sure! But yes I have seen the evolution like the hell everything has changed during the time, I mean we are not yet recognised on the international platform but people are working towards that, we are all working towards that. Like I said the sky is not the limit and look at how the new school has also come in and they are really pushing because of us. I think we are in middle school. There is the old school the middle school and the new school. The middle school has like paved way for so many to see that you can actually pursue a career in music because way back when you do music people used to look down at you and say why are you doing music…and I can see Zambia in a few years time walking those BET streets. Our artists will rock those stages soon. There is always the negative part, about how we are not united as Zambian artists, I pray we get to be united. We getting there though.
We got a better look now. The difference is there, the engineering of our music has improved, our dress code… The Kopala sound has really graced us with a whole new beat. So we are getting there.
I work with a team and in that team, there is a new-age wave person, his name is Killa, he has a new sound, he also brings his magic to my songs, his abracadabra, so we mixed ourselves together with the new school plus my dancers who are also new school. I mean everyone has a say on how we deliver a good piece and I believe in teamwork, I have a listening ear because not every negative comment is bad, some are educational they are meant to build you. That’s how I keep up with the new-age wave – teamwork.
Hype Magazine: You’ve had an impressive amount of success. However, I can imagine that, through living the lifestyle that you live, a lot of pressure comes with it. One of them is to keep up with other artists who are in this for competition, How do you deal with such pressure?
Bomb$hell: Thank you so much for the compliment, I’m still working on it, I’m pushing to go higher.
So when it comes to competition well there will always be that in the music industry but for me, that is a waste of time because I believe my road to success is different from the next person. I don’t believe in that, we have different arrival times. I compete with myself, I look in the mirror and the woman in the mirror is the person I compete with. I compete with the last song I dropped, the next song I will drop has to be better, my last work and my next work. For me that keeps me sane because once you get yourself involved in the game of competition you can drown, that’s a whole huge sea out there. I focus on myself like I have my own kingdom and that’s the $hell Kingdom. The next person doing good I salute you, am gonna be there cheering you up in the front line. My success is different from the next person so that’s how I keep myself off that pressure.
Hype Magazine: When it’s all said and done when you are done with music, how do you want the world to remember Bomb$hell?
Bomb$hell: I want people to remember me as a person that never gave up, when many looked down on her when people underestimated her, she still strived, I want to be remembered as a person that believed in herself, I want people to remember as a person who believed in her country, a person who survived all odds when people called her names threw stones at her, I want people to remember me as a person who made lemonade out of lemons that she was given. I want to be remembered as that hardcore rapper that was down to earth and a God-fearing person. I want people to remember me as a fighter that fought for the bliss of the girl child. I want to be remembered as a person that believed that the young generation is the future and I want to be remembered as a person that made a difference in the music industry in the country and the world at large.
Hype Magazine: I assume when you take your time the creation of the songs are really meaningful. A few songs that have stood out to me are “Backshot,” “Illest Alive,” “Xbass,” “The Burg, ” “Same Ol Me,” and oh my.. you did things on “They Don’t Know,” Are there any that really stood out or were important for you?
Bomb$hell: “Mutima Wanga” and “Kondo” featuring the Nigerian artist Sizer Amili stood out for me. “Mutima Wanga” was something different that I have never done before, certain people accepted it, while a few didn’t like I say am one person who loves to weigh whatever negativity that comes my way, whether it’s educational or it is just straight-up hate. For me “Mutima Wanga” is a meaningful song, it’s a song that I will dedicate to say my husband when am getting married. So yeah “Kondo” too. I recently went to a concert in Kitwe and fans was still asking for it, thanks for the songs you have mentioned but I have many songs that will drop and will stand out too.
Hype Magazine: Speaking of creativity, you’ve been doing this for quite some time now. What keeps you motivated to do more and expand?
Bomb$hell: The world is always revolving, I keep evolving with it but it does not change my belief, I still keep my identity. The new music does not change my identity. When I drop my album there will be hardcore rap. Look at Beyonce she has evolved, Jay Z and Lil Wayne as well they have evolved but kind of stayed true to their roots. To evolve with the world but stay true to the roots.
Hype Magazine: You have a feminine sense in the way you dress on most of your pictures and very unlike hip hop. Do you ever think of creating a Bomb$hell clothing line in the future?
Bomb$hell: Well slowly but sure we have been doing them but people just don’t know that I am behind them. But yeah I have been doing that slowly and yes in future I would like to have a Bomb$hell Clothing Line. I love to dress up. If you have noticed the hip-hop dress code on the women’s side has of evolved. Back in the day ladies would dress up in the baggy jeans and stuff like that but you know you don’t see many rappers doing that nowadays. If they do it, they will kinda add some sexy look to it. So like I said we have evolved with it but you stick to the roots. I may dress up very lady like it’s like-un hip-hop like you say but there is always an element that adds hip-hop. Like right now I have been doing these cornrows from Bomb-Braids that’s the place I get my cornrows done, Bomb-Braids. She actually named my cornrows after me Bomb$hell cornrows. That is hip-hop! Cornrows are hip-hop. Cornrows are African. Cornrows are rooted in Africa, rooted in hip-hop. So you see as much as I can dress up all ladylike which is in me I still add hip-hop to it. You get it. I mean look at the way Da Brat dressed up and the way Nicki dresses up today, it’s not the same. It’s not like I am doing it because they do it, it’s in me and it’s just part of growing up. I can’t always be in baggy jeans. I have my days where I am wearing baggy tracksuit pants, a hat, a big top but I add on heels because this is a tomboy in heels. I grew up a tomboy but I am a tomboy in heels now because I am a woman, I am a lady and I am a mother. So all these things I need to be able to be… where somebody can read that and say that ok she is dressed in baggy pant, she’s wearing baggy tracksuits pants, she’s sagged them, she has a hat on but still gats heels on, there is a woman in her. So that is how it is and without a doubt a Bomb$hell clothing line, those are things that have been done it’s just that probably one day I can let it out proudly and say this is my line but things like that have been happening already. You know what I mean.
Hype Magazine: This month we celebrate Mother’s Day. Any special tips on what to do during this time especially that everyone is trying to stay at home and adhere to the need for social distancing?
Bomb$hell: Well traditionally we would always have celebrations. My mom, grandmother and aunties would come through and probably have a barbeque, but looking at the time and situation I might stay home and celebrate with my baby. Being a woman, a mother I am gonna spend time with my daughter and my mom. I think I will also probably take a drive to the farms. God has blessed me with the fact that my grandparents are still alive, so I can spend time with them. I love to hear stories from way back, you know what I mean, stories about what my grandparents used to get up to before independence because my grandmother was a part of that and I like to hear about what she went through. For me, it’s very significant to understand what she went through growing up, what she had done to survive as a woman and to be my grandmother as well as being a great-grandmother to my daughter. So I am just gonna sit down and just to listen to all those stories. I love those stories they never get old to me. I like it when she tells me, growing up in the village people used to call her muzungu because of her complexion. People usually ran away from her, so she spent most of her time in the church because they accepted her there, with the way she looked. And to everyone out there, if you still have grandparents alive, spend as much time with them as possible. It’s a blessing! And for those that do not have, my heart goes out to you. Celebrate their lives for those that don’t have grandparents or parents alive. And make sure you achieve your goals to make them proud and make them smile. Continue with their legacies.
Hype Magazine: This month we also celebrate African Freedom Day, Do you have any music artists that inspire you within our motherland, if any, who?
Bomb$hell: 2020 is just crazy and everything just has to stay back, pull back, and sit back. But yeah, I gat so many people that definitely inspire me. I gat the likes of Daddy Zemus MHSRIP. The Witch Band, I recently found out about them, my God that band, that was so many years ago but these guys rocked. They performed RocknRoll and toured the world. I think last year when I was nominated for the Ngoma Awards one of the guys from the band was there, I think the only one remaining is still doing tours and he is doing quite well for himself. Paul Ngozi definitely and Maureen Lilanda. The old school people paved the way for us and their music is so authentic. It’s something you can still listen to. Seeing my grandparents dance to it, that is just crazy!
Hype Magazine: What is Bomb$hell doing apart from Music, Entrepreneurship, Brand Influencing, and all the jazz…
Bomb$hell: There is the activist side, I wanna start routing for teenage pregnancies because that’s something that is very close to home for me. My sister got pregnant when she was 14 years old and I supported her from then and now her son is 7. When teenagers get pregnant, especially girls in rural areas or in the ghetto, they feel like life is over. Kids will stop going to school, so for me, I would love to get the word out there to say that if you find yourself pregnant it’s not the end of the world, but still, they have to abstain. Iam not saying they should go out there and have sex. The fact is that we are facing a lot of teenage pregnancies, but when this happens, not the end of the world for the girl-child. That should give the girl child more strive to want to go back to school and get educated so that they can take care of their kid. Yeah and so there for my little sister and helped her hold her head up high as she walked the streets while her friends talked about her and stuff like that. She still stood tall and now she is a graduate in Food and Nutrition. I would love to help other girls out there do the same and feel confident about themselves. Apart from that, Wezi and I are doing a No Colourism Campaign. This is talking about colour, there is always the thought that light girls have it their way. For us light girls we always going to be looked at as those who are mischievous or let me use this word, they always look at them as whores….. They are dull, they are slow. For the dark skin, they always look at them as the clever ones, or she’s not too pretty to do this, can’t do that. Our point for this No Colourism Campaign is to tell people that we are all the same. Doesn’t matter what colour you are, we are all the same. One blood One love…you know what I mean. I have also been part of the Road to Zambia ending AIDS with the USAID. Due to the coronavirus, we have not had any activities this year. Hopefully, there will be some after this pandemic.
So I have quite a lot going on. I am also part of those who talk about cyberbullying on social media. I have also been part of the No to Women Abuse Campaign. I have been doing quite a lot. I am also on a talk show with Diamond TV, Queens of LSK, I am a presenter on it. I am also a farmer just to sum it up.
Hype Magazine: Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Bomb$hell: Stay true to yourself, put God first, the sky ain’t the limit, believe in yourself, follow your heart don’t let anybody make you feel otherwise about yourself. You are beautiful, in whatever skin colour, you are a soldier, you are a God’s creation. Say no to colourism, no to tribalism, no to coronavirus by following guidelines, no to HIV, no to cancer, no to everything bad. Otherwise, stay true, put God first and always remember the sky ain’t the limit. The world is yours for the taking. No dream is too big for you. Hustle, hustle, hustle!
Stay connected with Bomb$hell:
Twitter: Mizz bombshell
Email Address: Bombdiamond @ y a h o o. c o. u k
•Dresses and Hats By Annique
•Photographs By Mirrors Photography
•MakeUp By Theo The Artist
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