Going In Heart First
At the very beginning of her music video for ‘No Secrets’, the first offering of her solo career as PURE, Purity Mkhize speaks: I can go solo, I can be a mother, I can be this singular expressive being I’ve always been afraid of being, you know? So now, all at once, I’m starting to make peace with self, and it’s been good.
A Durban original living in Cape Town, Purity’s musical career has been a journey through both cities, that has seen her risk disappointing her family by choosing to go into the arts, going on to front bands Fruits & Veggies and The Pranks, and eventually coming back to herself as a solo artist.
In three chapters, she talks us through this journey, laid bare, from her early inclinations to perform as a child, to the self-discovery that came with becoming a mother, to her inevitable solo debut in the ‘No Secrets’ video, stripped of clothing and pretence. These are her secrets to life and the universe.
Chapter 1: The Beginning (Youth)
From a very early place in my life I remember clearly the feelings of wanting to perform or to be on some kind of stage. This obviously grew stronger with time and the urge to do something about it became more and more clear. My family has always found my career choice to be a bit silly, unfruitful (financially) and unwise. So I had to fight my way into drama school, all the way through it and out again. Music came along at a time where I was meant to make something of myself, when I had an opportunity to really show my family what I was capable of as a grown adult in the big world. Of course they had other plans for me which weren’t music orientated, and in their eyes I had let them down so much because I was following my dreams. But I persisted because I had no other choice, I had to see where this raging fire of ambition would take me.
When I started playing music it was like drama school finally made sense: to build my confidence and mould my voice for this! I went all in, heart first and never looked back. I know that following your heart might not always lead you to a gold mine but the happiness and fulfilment that comes with it is incomparable. There’s a significant moment when you make the connection between what your true purpose is, what your calling sounds like and where your heart is. It’s not something you choose, it chooses you! At that very moment you need to decide if you’re willing to take that leap or ignore your identity. It’s a tough one, for artists especially but for those of us who have taken that chance and embraced our calling, we are the true gods of our own journey.
Chapter 2: Motherhood (Rebirth)
There are so many things in my life right now that have fallen into place purely based on the fierce need to be the best human possible for this little soul of mine. Naledi has helped me to rediscover the importance of dedication, strength, love, patience, understanding and keeping the childlike energy within myself alive. The mother role can be so misconstrued; people generally assume that being a single mom is hell. Yes, it’s tough, being a parent in general takes a lot out of you emotionally, physically and financially. You find yourself stretching far beyond the corners of tolerance and compromise, landing back at a selfless point. But what really shapes the experience is the bond you have with your child, the collective energy that is created by that certain kind of magic present when you’re in each other’s company. It’s hard to describe. Some parents ignore this organic magic and fuel themselves with expectations and doubt because everyone wants to be the best parent. But the point really is to do the best you can and always connect with your youthful self through your child.
I never planned for most of this. Heck, I’m the most disorganised person at the best of times but the natural thread that keeps it all relevant speaks volumes and I’m learning to listen.
Her birth was a rebirth of myself.
Chapter 3: Going Solo (Self Realisation & Independence)
Music is such an emotional thing for me! Throughout the outfits that I’ve had the privilege to front (Fruits & Veggies and The Pranks), my entire outlook was based on being honest to myself through what I was creating. In that way it’s completely organic and ties up with the person I actually am to the bone. My life and my music are one interconnected force.
Going solo wasn’t something I planned on, it’s the way my life journey was taking me. Ten months ago a major shift happened, I stopped numbing myself with unnecessary substances which was a huge part of my social camouflage. For some reason I had this fierce desire to slice things from a different angle which naturally unfolded things for me musically because my state of mind sets the mood for my art. I think it’s growth! Accepting it with zero resistance and learning to listen to what your heart wants. So this project is a product of that growth and maturity as I understand it.
During this time of growth and rediscovery I’ve been feeling a crazy pull towards connecting with my higher self more and more. I’m coming to realise the power I posses as a friend, a mother and even as just a perfect stranger, to heal and to be a positive source of light in the most sincere and selfless way in my immediate circle. With pure intentions, I’m working on my spiritual self so I can perform some serious nurturing where it’s needed. The world we live in has conditioned us to look outwardly for satisfaction and contentment. This is pulling us away from ourselves because we think that what’s out there is always better than what we already have. It’s convincing us of all kinds of imperfections and distracting us from the beautiful magic within.
We all need to go back to SELF and just dedicate some time to reconsider our heart’s intentions.
This solo journey has been such a significant move for me, because it carries so much with it. It’s like an awakening of so many strong roles within myself. I’m finally translating my own voice and my own aesthetic. It’s really powerful and humbling to think of how far I’ve had to travel to come back to myself. I am home.
Photography by Nick Gordon.
Follow Purity’s journey on Facebook.