By Grant Moyo Living on the spectrum, for the sheer challenges that she faces like any other female artist fulfilling her dreams in a broad-brimmed male dominated South African showbiz — from the word go — Deko Barbara-Jessica Wedi, known publicly as Rouge , braced herself for impact and boldly took the chances to stack a claim in the creative industry one day at a time.
Persistently expressing herself well with a great source of pride, it became hard for the public to ignore the potency in her power — leading to her well orchestrated rise to fame as a multi-talented award-winning rapper, singer, telecasting presenter and scriptwriter. Indisputably sealing a deal with international record label Warner Music South Africa, now Rouge is ready for a new era — with her eyes fixed on the planetary stage.
Rouge, who was born in South Africa to Congolese parents, realised her songwriting ability at the age of 12 and started rapping at the age of 19. After dropping her debut single titled Party — which was followed by the release of Mi Corazon, featuring rapper BigStar Johnson in 2014 — the multifaceted artist featured on South African rapper, singer-songwriter and record producer AKA‘s remix of the track ‘Baddest’.
Rouge’s well-executed 15-track debut album titled The New Era Sessions — with hit sounds like Dololo and Mbongo-Zaka among the musical compositions making up the body of work — debuted at number 2 on the South African iTunes charts.
Mbongo-Zaka, which features rapper and television presenter Nomuzi Mabena, affectionately known as Moozlie, became Rouge’s first ever record to top charts on all major radio stations across South Africa. Gaining momentum as a hip-hop knocker, before long, the facile act with bars was acknowledged by Creative-hiphop — a hip hop website — as one of six best female rappers in Africa, alongside South African rapper and television personality Nadia Nakai as well as Ghanaian rapper and songwriter Eno Barony. Rouge, who holds a degree in Drama and Film from the University of Pretoria, went on to premiere the short film for The New Era Sessions musical offering as a video anthology and drama.
The motion-picture show starring South African actor Atandwa Kani, Lesotho-born South African actress, script writer and entrepreneur Fikile Kani as well as South African actress, singer, dancer and presenter Denise Zimba, aired on MTV Base — a 24-hour music channel from Paramount Networks EMEAA. Rouge’s visual album went on to garner gongs at the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) for Best Micro Budget Film Award, and at the South African Music Awards (Samas) for Best Music Video of the Year.
Being a no stranger to both the radio airwaves and the silver screen, her on screen presenting credits include The Coalition on Vuzu TV — which was a South African youth-oriented television channel produced by M-Net for sister pay television platform DStv, ‘Remix SA’ on SABC 1 and Hall’s SA’s Competition #HallsOMFCC.
Now in the next chapter of her euphony career, Rouge’s emotional arousal has not waned. Her dumbfounding trip continues to earn media interest from all quarters, as shown by her newly inked global deal with Warner Music South Africa (WMSA).
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
Based in Hyde Park, Gauteng, WMSA is an affiliate of American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate — Warner Music Group (WMG) — which was founded in 1958 and is headquartered in New York City. Garth Brown, WMSA’s creative lead, self-confessed the record label’s new-sprung accomplishment.
“Rouge carries the aura of a star; she walks into any room and effortlessly becomes the centerpiece,” Brown said.
“We believe that there is so much more that she has to offer that hasn’t been tapped into.
“This new chapter embodies a bold and edgy Rouge, who is unapologetic about her superstardom.
“We as Warner Music South Africa are excited to walk the next chapter with the undeniably talented star.”
Setting her sights on the future — Rouge is letting her superficial flows amalgamated with punch lines, lyrical genius, easygoing delivery and infectious vocals do all the talking — while taking listeners on a sonic stroll that twists fluidly between melody and rhythm.
“I am so excited to join the Warner family. I already feel like I have an active team, who are a part of the new ‘Rouge era,” Rogue said.
“I believe with the backing of the right team; my eyes can now be focused on the world.
“People have been waiting for the music and it’s coming, with twice the punch.”
By winning the most prestigious awards in music, television and film, respectively, Rouge has already proven her heavy weight status.
Relying on her productive daily habits — choosing to follow the light, literally not allowing the distraction by this world to cloud her judgement — she is pressing the right buttons to stay far from procrastinating and tire kicking her 29 year-old self.
l Grant Moyo is a prolific writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist, who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society.
- Follow him on Twitter: @TotemGrant