Naledi Boltina Ice Prince 'African King'

Image: Supplied

Artist Naledi Boltina features Ice Prince on new single ‘African King’

South Africa’s Naledi Boltina collaborates with award-winning Nigerian artist Ice Prince to celebrate black African love.

Naledi Boltina Ice Prince 'African King'

Image: Supplied

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the careers of South African artists upside down, but there has been a blessing amid the chaos for Naledi Boltina.

The singer dropped her single African King featuring Nigerian artist Ice Prince on 22 August.

The 27-year-old recording artist, actress and producer was born and raised in Port Elizabeth, but is now working and performing in Nigeria.

“I went to a boarding school in Grahamstown and took music and drama as my main subjects, so I think that’s where my love for entertainment began,” said Boltina.

Naledi Boltina was born to be a star

The meaning behind Naledi’s name – naledi is the Southern Sotho word for “star” – has always been something she planned to live up to.

 “When my parents named me Naledi, it was almost like a prophecy over my life, that I need to be a ‘star’, so it’s basically a calling,” she said.

At the age of 17, she received her “first big break” in the entertainment industry by playing the lead role of Rosa in the SABC short educational film The Lilies.

When it comes to her singing career, Naledi notes that it all started in church.

“That’s where I was able to learn to overcome my stage fright.”

Boltina was the Party260 presenter for Bay TV and a radio presenter on Bay FM and YFM. She also featured in the South African soap opera Rockville, as well as in Ferguson Films’ The Gift.

Naledi Boltina African King
Image: Supplied

The concept for ‘African King’

Aside from the song being very close to Boltina’s heart, she says comments from friends and family about her move to Nigeria influenced the title.

“Everyone has told me when I get to Lagos I will meet my Igwe,” Boltina said.

“We have a song called African Queen that everyone loves so much. I thought, you know what, let’s sing about kings.”

If you are unfamiliar with the name Igwe, she urges you to watch Nollywood movies. There is “always a king who is called Igwe” in these films, she said.

Boltina sees herself as a storyteller in her music and strives to write songs from lived experiences.

She said African King was an African take on a “fairytale love story” and celebrated “black African love”.

From Prince to King

She said collaborating with Nigerian 2013 BET Award winner Ice Prince was for a bigger purpose than good music.

“It is also a song that is anti-xenophobia,” said Boltina. “I thought the way I can work hand in hand with my brothers and sisters and show them support is by actually collaborating with them. I want to unite Africa through music.”

Ice Prince and Naledi had been friends since she featured as leading lady on his 2016 music video Excellency.

“When I touched down in Lagos, I was in studio and told him ‘please listen to this’. He was busy … I harassed him into listening.

“Two days later he sent me what he had recorded over what I had sent to him, as he totally loved it,” Boltina said.

She said they had previously recorded together back in 2016. Sadly, their producer’s system – Tatenda Terrence Kamera who wrote the original score for Netflix’s Blood and Water – had crashed.

“Our song was no more but I feel like it was probably part of God’s plan.”

Despite challenging schedules, the artist thoroughly enjoyed working with the “dedicated, passionate and talented” Ice Prince.

Gracious Nigerian welcome

Nigeria has given her a gracious welcome and Boltina celebrated her song reaching 10 000 plays on audiomack within days.

“The collaboration has brought about an audience that I have never ever expected and a market that I can only pray for.

“Right now, I am trying to have a moment and just take it all in. I am in awe and disbelief.”

What’s next for Naledi Boltina

Throughout her entertainment journey, Naledi is thankful to her supporters for keeping her sane.

She urges other hardworking artists to be patient and continue doing what they love. Hard work does pay off eventually.

“I have a lot of great stuff coming up.

“Please look out for me in some upcoming Nollywood movies!”

“I also have a great music collaboration coming up, the song is called Senseless with Skuki Va Va Voom.”

Future plans also include working with more African artists.