Zoë Modiga born and raised in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, is the quintessential artist who represents the present and future of South African music. Drawing from the human experience, identity and storytelling, she creates a distinct sound to communicate a modern, evolving African story without loosing its essence.
As a lively, transcendent performer with a background in classical and jazz training, she is known to enchant audiences into another world while having an evocative individualism in fashion and imagery.
Zoë is an independent artist, releasing her debut album, “Yellow: The Novel” and her sophomore album, “Inganekwane," under her label Yelloëwax. She is celebrated with nominations such as: Best Jazz Album and Best African Artist for the South African Music Awards (2018), Female Artist of the Year by the VN Streaming (2020), Best African Jazz Artist at the All Africa Music Awards (2021), Based in Music Awards (2022).
She has been honoured with the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition (2015) and awards such as the Mbokodo Award for Music (2019), Mzantsi Jazz Awards for Best Jazz Contemporary Album, Best Newcomer in Jazz and Best Jazz Song (2018), Dopest Album Cover of 2020 by African Design League.
The impact of Zoë’s messages has materialised with her being the cover girl for renowned British-based publication, Songlines UK (2020) and a proudly South African publication, Botaki Youth Magazine : Women’s Edition (2020). She also makes an appearance on Netflix series, "Savage Beauty" (2022).
Despite the global pandemic she has been able to spearhead virtual performances throughout the year, collaborating with the likes of the Credo Mutwa Foundation, Redbull, PUMA and Goethe Institute to name a few.
Her enthusiasm for unorthodox music education has moved her to collaborate the department of higher education and training, in partnership with the department of science through the initiative called, "The Heritage Careers Expo”. In championing workshops, she has been able to mobilise conversations around heritage, identity, storytelling and music to inspire and empower young minds from various demographics and socio economic backgrounds.
Zoë has performed at celebrated festivals in South Africa such as: the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Durban Jazz Festival, Oppikoppi, Rocking the Daisies, Afropunk, Redbull Music Festival, Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, Joburg Film Festival, Fete De La Musique, Blooming Sounds, Mzansi Fela, Basha Uhuru Festival, and many more.
Internationally, she has played at the North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), Africa Festival Hertme (Netherlands), MTN Bushfire Festival (Swaziland), Africadelic and frequents world tours with a music collective she collaborates with called, “Seba Kaapstad”.
She has participated in Somi’s Salon Africana series (New York) and production, “Dreaming Zenzile” (New York/Utah) — a celebration and reimagining of Miriam Makeba’s life.
True to her pan African activism, she has partnered with allies, university students, academics, war survivors and artists, with the support of the African Union for the Silencing the Guns campaign. This is a pledge for peace, aiming to address the issues of war and civil unrest in Africa.
Zoë has collaborated with some of the worlds finest musicians including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Johnny Clegg, Abigail Kubeka, Thandiswa Mazwai, Simphiwe Dana, Madala Kunene, Louis Maholo, Tshepo Tshola, Wynton Marsalis and many more.
An authentic, compelling artist challenging the status quo, Zoë Modiga is steadily creating an immortal legacy of cultural impact through music, fashion and storytelling.
PHOTO BY: TATENDA CHIDORA
PHOTO BY: TATENDA CHIDORA