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Mzansi born dancer Nqobilé speaks on touring with Drake and stealing Davido’s heart in If music video

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Nqobilé

Mzansi born dancer Nqobilé speaks on touring with Drake and stealing Davido’s heart in If music video

South African-born dancer Nqobilé Danseur introduced the UK mainstream audience to afrobeats dance when she reached the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2013 – and since then she has gone on to tour as a backup dancer on Drake and Future’s Summer Sixteen US tour and appeared in music videos alongside Davido and Maleek Berry.

Channel24 spoke to Nqobilé, who now resides in London, about growing up in Johannesburg and sharing the stage with the likes of Rihanna, D’banj and Stefflon Don.

‘I miss those carefree days’

Growing up in Southern Africa, in a small city in Swaziland and Johannesburg, Nqobilé says she had a “vibrant childhood,” before moving to the UK when she was 12.

“I was very much into my culture, and the popular music and sound back then in the 90s was kwaito – the inspiration to what we know now as amapiano. I was super obsessed with that style of music, especially with my favourite artist then Lebo Mathosa,” she says about her teenage years living in South Africa.

As a child, Nqobilé says, she was “super energetic” and enjoyed entertaining family and friends with dancing, singing and “goofing around”.

“I miss those carefree days, also when I had access to new South African music straightaway instead of, now, waiting to hear it once it’s reached this side of the pond,” she says.

Nqobilé most recently returned to South Africa in 2017 to shoot a music video, and she says the welcome was “incredible and truly overwhelming”. “I hadn’t been home since I left, so that trip was even more special for me,” she says.

 

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LEGEND. Happy Birthday @champagnepapi. MORE LIFE!! MORE BLESSINGS!! 🙏🏾 #DopestBossIveEverHad

A post shared by NQOBILÉ 🦄 (@nqobiledanseur) on


Although she now considers London home, Nqobilé says growing up wasn’t always an easy transition. “Back then, when I first moved out here, it wasn’t ‘cool’ to be African, and a lot of people saw Caribbeans as the norm. So imagine my South African accent with a twang and my unusual name pronounced with the strongest and loudest click sound. Oh, Lord!” she laughs.

“It was definitely a struggle,” she says, adding that she was bullied at school for being the “new Africa kid”. It led her to drop the “q” from her name to make it easier for others to pronounce. “I was either Nobile or Nnobiley,” she says.

“However, when I got into the entertainment industry in 2010 with two other African girls with unique names like me, I started to embrace and love my name. I actually fell so much in love with my name, especially because of its meaning and the fact that you don’t just come across a Nqobilé in your everyday life out here,” she explains.
‘I’ve had an incredible, exciting journey in entertainment’

Nqobilé has been credited with leading the afrobeats movement in the UK, and she admits they “have come a long way”.

“The afrobeats scene is definitely booming in the UK. We now have our first ever Afrobeats Official Charts. How crazy amazing is that? It’s so beautiful to see how the afrobeats culture has been well embraced and is now amongst other mainstream genres. I’m so grateful and honoured to have been a part of this growth and shift,” she says.

“Entertaining is what I’ve always loved to do since I was a child. I’m so thankful I’ve had an incredible, exciting journey in entertainment and continuously expanding in this field, with a platform where I’m also an inspiration to others. I’m very grateful,” she adds.

 

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VIBES @davidoofficial 🔥❤️ @ezinneasinugo you killed this entire set. Thank you girl!! ❤️🚀

A post shared by NQOBILÉ 🦄 (@nqobiledanseur) on

 

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VIBES @davidoofficial 🔥❤️ @ezinneasinugo you killed this entire set. Thank you girl!! ❤️🚀

A post shared by NQOBILÉ 🦄 (@nqobiledanseur) on


After Britain’s Got Talent, Nqobilé’s career as a professional dancer started to take off, and she says touring with Drake on his Summer Sixteen US tour was a defining moment in her career.

“I hadn’t been on tour with major artists, first of all, and to also have a full-on proper tour was definitely one for the books for me, a game-changing moment,” she says.

About being on tour with a big production, Nqobilé says: “Oh, boy! Tours are no joke at all.

“Luckily, I’ve never had to audition for a tour. The tour opportunity came organically from previous work I’ve done and fitted what the artist and team were looking for.”

“Rehearsals are definitely an important and major part of the tour process. That’s where we build the entire show. I love and enjoy the rehearsal stage because it’s humbling and inspires me to push more as a performer.

“The travelling aspect is probably my fave, honestly. I love seeing new places and spaces; it keeps me refreshed and inspired to create and, funny enough, most of my travelling has been through work. It’s beautiful how talents and being yourself can take you around the world.”


“I remain true to myself as an all-round performer”

Nqobilé has toured and shared the stage with artists from around the world, but she says starring as the lead in Davido‘s If music video, was a significant moment in launching her solo dance career.

-News24

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