Flavourmag catches up with Birmingham based RnB singer 18-year-old Tshwarelo ’Relo’ Nhlapo to discuss her rapidly rising career, the recent release of her new single ‘Crazy Over You’ and her exciting impending music projects.
The talented South African born singer, who is making waves after relocating to the UK in 2008, was spotted and immediately signed by music producers Lenice ‘Dynamiks’ Murrain and Levi ‘KMD’ St Juste of Brumtown Hit Factory. The record label alongside Relo will be teaming up with upcoming artist JR Donato of Wiz Khalifa’s record label — Taylor Gang Records.
Levi KMD also joins the interview to discuss the label’s journey with Relo so far.
For those who don’t know, tell us who is Relo?
I’m an R&B and pop artist who is highly influenced by the likes of Etta James and Nina Simone. I’m very outgoing but I can be just as shy (laughs) and I love being out of my comfort zone!
You’ve just released a new single, Crazy over you, what inspired the track?
Well I was in the studio with KMD and he challenged me because I came in as a singer and not a writer, so he challenged me and he came up with the melody. I really had to dig deep and relate to the track and that’s how the song came about.
What has been the response so far since the release of the track?
Wow the reaction has been amazing! (laughs). Everyone one, left right and centre is singing along to the track and I really wasn’t expecting it. You know you put a track out and worry about the reaction but everyone likes it!
How has it been working alongside Dynamiks and KMD?
It has been amazing working with them. It’s really hard to find someone who believes in you and wants to help you make your dreams come true and they really believed in me. They really inspire me!
You have been studying with Birmingham Ormiston Academy, what are you studying?
I’m studying a BTEC level 3 diploma in music and I am in my final year now.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Wow five years time I would like to have a successful album, definitely singing and performing live.
What has been your toughest obstacle so far?
The toughest thing for me is not getting any sleep! I’m always working, if I’m not in the studio I’m at school and also sacrificing time with my friends. That’s the toughest for me; I’m always grinding and working hard.
What has been the most surprising thing about your journey so far?
Wow! Just the response from people after the release of the single, it has been amazing and KMD told me ‘Relo are you ready?! You’re not ready! Prepare yourself! (laughs) , the response has just been amazing.
You’ve entered into various national singing competitions, which one was the toughest for you?
It must have been the Festival for Stars final because we had to travel all the way to Scotland and it was just me and my mum and I didn’t have my whole support system there with me.
Apart from singing, what do you enjoy as a hobby?
I would say netball, I love netball! I think if I wasn’t singing I would have done it professionally.
You know we are going to get a bit personal now, are you single?
(Laughs) Yes I am single, but I’m so focused on my music right now but yes I’m single but not ready to mingle! (laughs)
What would people be surprised to know about you the most?
Actually they would be surprised to know that I absolutely love backpacking! I love travelling and I actually did it once last year even though at the time I was like ‘get me out of here’! I wanna do it again. I went to Thailand for four weeks! I was in a jungle eating nothing but rice (laughs) but it was fun though.
This one is aimed at Levi KMD, I’m sure you have many artists approaching you because of what you do, but how has your experience been like with Relo so far?
That she is a diva! (laughs) nah, well Relo knows what she wants and she knows where she wants to be. She knows her name and she knows where she wants to go. She is very willing and hardworking.
What made you choose her specifically?
When she came to the studio we booked a session and I knew she wanted to do music but I hadn’t heard her sing. So we booked a session and then when the session started I started to hear her vocals and I was like wow! And when we recorded ‘Crazy Over You’, her technical ability and her vocals were really on point, she’s going to get a big head now! (laughs). I’ve worked with a lot of singers and I would put Relo in the top bracket.
What current future projects are you guys working on at the moment that people can look forward to?
We are working on an EP for Relo, the single is the first thing to say ‘this is me’ so we are going to work on an EP but I’m also working with an artist from Wiz Khalifa’s label Taylor Gang who was recently signed. I’m actually organising collaborations between him and Relo. His name is JR Donato and he’s really about to take off.
To keep track with Brumtown Hit Factory and Relo follow them on Twitter: @officalrelo, @BrumtownRecords and Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshwarelo.nhlapo