Millicent Reneilwe Shilenge, professionally known as Milly Landaba, is an Afrosoul/Gospel musician who is making her mark in the Mpumalanga music industry. Her artistic journey began in her church choir at the age of 13 as part of her upbringing, since she grew up in a musical family. She continued on to perform with local bands as a vocalist, leading to what has now become her career in music. She has become a force to be reckoned with in her genre and she intends to be a breakout artist worth noting.
Her first official single, released through Ark Entertainment Studios in 2018, was titled ‘Ubuhle Bendalo’. It is a beautiful ode to love which depicts the feeling of experiencing affection in all its glory from a significant other. She states, “Music must speak to your soul, so creating a sound that everyone can connect to is what makes me love this genre so much. Afro soul allows me to express myself with no boundaries, I can create my own sound and interpret the way that I feel without fear of judgement.” It has been a long road from the introduction of her sound in the music scene to this day. She expresses that her journey has been both amazing and scary, “I have learned to much about this industry such as how to brand myself, survive and also exercise patience and determination if I want to go further.” Through embodying these lessons, she has grown to become the fully realized artist that she is.
Her latest body of work comes in the form of self-titled extended playlist, ‘Milly EP’. “This EP is about motivation, love, unity and raising awareness. Essentially a ‘feel good and get ready’ project”, she reveals. The highlight of this EP has been her preeminent single ‘Womandla’, which has received recognition for its powerful message and dedication to uplifting and empowering the African woman. Unsurprisingly, it happens to be her favourite song. She declares, “For me ‘Womandla’ will always hit home because it was inspired by the woman who raised me, my mother. I learned how hard life can be for women and how magical they are for thriving regardless. They keep on loving and moving forward despite the challenges they face. That’s why I believe that women should be crowned daily. My goal with this song is to always remind a woman of her worth and to share with her a message that will never leave her heart.”
Even though she has made notable progress in her career, she notes that one of the biggest challenges she faced was related to being a young woman with nothing but a dream and no money to fund it. “It was so difficult to find people who truly believed in my talent and willing to invest in it. It took a very long time to put myself out there! A lot of opportunities did come my way, but they often came with unpleasant connotations in the package, I had to wait.” Seemingly waiting paid off for this artist as she was able to finally meet a team of individuals who purely believed in her talents and vision. She has partnered with STE music, an organization affiliated with award winning musician, Pretty Mhlongo, with whom Milly Landaba has had the honour of sharing the stage.
The highlight of Milly Landaba’s career was her performance at the USA meets Africa global event in 2020. She got the opportunity to perform her singles ‘Womandla’ and ‘Zithande’ on a stage viewed by audiences of queens such as Felicia Mabuza-Suttle. Following this showcase, she was announced as one of the African artists with a bright future on that platform. This made her proud of her craft and served as affirmation of the trajectory of her career. To young upcoming artists who may be experiencing some lows she would like to say, “Keep the dream alive no matter what. Envision yourself being far from where you are now. Be positive, but most of all, work hard for your success.”
For the future, Milly promises more music, brand awareness and campaigns focused on the progression and support of young women. She has arrived and is ready to share her talent with the world!