Meet the multi-talented creative MJ Wemoto
MJ Wemoto is an easygoing music person that likes to explore their creative limits. Mostly well known through his music and Moto Moto Music where he hosts the African Album Review and Moto Moto Podcast. You will find great music from across Africa. Be sure to have a listen.
Mj got into music in the early 2000s while in high school.“I got into music around 2002 while still in high school. A friend of mine called Martin who lived in the same street got me to record some jingles on his laptop for a Radio 3/PowerFM Zimbabwe DJ called DJ Hence. From there I made music quite a fair bit until about 2009 when I quit. I was going through a lot at the time and music wasn’t really taking me anywhere so it made sense to let it go. I was a radio DJ for a year or so before I discovered podcasting. The new story is ProGIsTheName begged me for YEARS to get back to music which is how MJ Wemoto the musician was born in 2020.”
The Moto Moto Music website started off as a music podcast called Moto Moto Podcast where MJ played the most unexpected combinations of African music from all over the continent. “I’ve always felt all the big channels and platforms never truly represent the music scene. They show you what will get them numbers in a particular region. The chances of someone from Togo hearing a Zimbabwean song and vice versa are slim, let alone on the same playlist/show because African music is highly filtered – think Arab Africa, Lusophone, Francophone, Anglophone etc.
Which Moroccan artist gets played in Burundi? None, probably. I simply wanted to change that. I eventually stopped that podcast after getting frustrated because it kept getting taken down from some platforms. Being a tastemaker in music is a selfless gig that’s underappreciated. I was tired of fighting the system. Moto Moto Music has become much more though – an African music podcast hub and my independent label to release music.”
When it comes to music influences, the musician marvels at music from a vantage point so whenever he hears something good, he gravitates towards it. “Even when growing up I was everywhere: Kwaito, R&B, Pop, Zouk, Boomba, Hip Hop, Rhumba, Dancehall, Urban Grooves, Coupe Decale etc so it all influenced me big time. I listened to everything I was exposed to and my appreciation for music grew as I got older especially after realising there was a much bigger music world than the US, South Africa and DRC.”
His songs are inspired by good beats and something he can vibe to. “I tend to get a lot of ideas while just randomly listening to a wide variety of music. I couple that with a lot of experiences from real life whether it’s my own story or a friend’s or something I’ve heard before. Then I just run with it, but vibing to music is the most important element for me in my regular process right now.”
For someone new to his music, he recommends you start with, “Patchi Guy and Yapera – they give you 2 very different sides of me.”
From all the music he has reviewed, MJ Wemoto enjoys plenty of it. Music from Nelson Freitas, Josey, Karun, Dip Doundou Guiss, Shan’L, Hillzy, Jizzle to name a few.
The highlights of life as an Artist and Podcaster: “As an artist I’d say making inroads into markets like Jamaica and France with Patchi Guy, my song with Lil Maro. I wasn’t ready for that but I like it. Shoutout to Kaysha for introducing me to him. I’d add releasing my debut EP “GCHMA” (Get Comfortable Having Me Around) fully produced by my brother ProGIsTheName, we spoke about making music for years even as kids. We are doing it on our own terms which is a bonus. Doing a song with both my brothers, the other being SicoZW who is also into music, is up there for me.
As a Podcaster there are so many! Having at one point the most popular Zimbabwean podcast before podcasting was even cool shaped so much for me. That period in my life when I did Radio Kunakirwa with my bestie Chyll was crazy and also a blessing. When the Moto Moto Podcast was nominated as one of the 10 best music podcasts in the world at the People’s Choice Podcast Awards 2019 was a mind-blowing experience and a validation of the work. Garnering over 150,000 streams for my album review of Wizkid’s Made In Lagos album is a good feeling and getting the Tastemaker badge on Audiomack. Ultimately, the biggest highlight from podcasting is the genuine friends and connections I made because of it.”
MJ’s favourite artists/producers to work with, “Hard to choose honestly. When I think of producers, without a doubt ProGIsTheName has been an amazing producer to work with especially as the first producer I released my first singles and project with as MJ Wemoto. He has the best range with such a diverse skill set and it matches my style because I enjoy making all sorts of genres. It helps that he’s actually my brother too *laughs*. Lil Maro has opened me up to markets I have no business being in and you’ll see with our upcoming releases how unique a combo we are. One of the best experiences I had with a producer was connecting with Thanel Matic from Zambia and I can say the same for Wrappz SA with whom I have a banger with called Dubai.
In terms of artists it was amazing working with my friend from Namibia, ML on her Money Music album. The whole album is such a class act. It was an honour to be on the same songs as talented people such as Millicent, TRK, BlvckSmyth and more.”
As for the ones he would like to work with in the future, “I would say Cherrie, Sami Dan, Sha Sha, Kaysha, DJ Tarico, Vicky R, Moonchild Sanelly, Marc Antoine, Manal, Zameka, Josey, Singuila and Waithaka.”
The soundtracks to his life:
Dolly Parton – Jolene
Leonard Dembo – Nzungu Ndamenya
Lost Boyz – Me & My Crazy World
Singuila – Ma conscience
MJ Wemoto – Vari Rude featuring SicoZW (Produced by ProGIsTheName)
Nelly and Kelly – Dilemma
Sean Paul – We Be Burning
LS – C’est Mieux Comme Ça
The advice MJ would give to his younger self, “Don’t try to grow up too quickly, enjoy your youth and learn as much as you can. Keep on being hungry for things you are passionate about. Take different risks, more risks, just not highly costly ones.”
The top songs in his playlist right now:
Waithaka – Looped In My Feelings
Spice – Go Down Deh (feat Shaggy and Sean Paul)
Chris MB – Ntu dekone
Kaysha – Billie Jean
DJ Obza and Leon Lee – Mang’Dakiwe
To get in touch with MJ Wemoto:
Pick your poison: https://link.motomotomusic.com/mj-wemoto
My email is [email protected]
MJ Wemoto wants to be remembered as somebody that shifted the music industry in my own way and a man that took care of those he loved in every way he could.
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