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  • INJECTION Magazine

'Fear as a Green Flag': Meet Multidimensional Artist terrence?


© Tshepo Molibeli


Tshepo Molibeli who goes by ‘terrence?’ embodies the enigmatic figure of a vessel of creativity navigating the complicated waters of his art.  


My name is Tshepo Molibeli, and I’m an artist. For my music, I use the name ‘terrence?’. I wish I could tell you the significance of the name, but the truth is that there is none - I just thought the name looked cool!


I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s a beautiful and diverse city and because of this, there’s a lot of culture to draw from and to be inspired by. 


I was raised by music lovers, which shaped my taste and my creativity. My parents and brother tried (and succeeded) at introducing me to the music they loved growing up; music that has had a profound effect on me.  


On car rides with my dad, he would play some Marvin Gaye, Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett and Diana Ross & the Supremes (to name a few). My mom would introduce me to more cultured RnB and Soul at home; we’d listen to Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Tamia, Mariah Carey, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson. My big brother put me onto SoulCandi house music, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and J-Cole.





I am inspired by artists who aren’t bound by one discipline that they’re good at. I love it when an artist is able to go into different fields and find powerful ways to express ideas. Tyler the Creator and Donald Glover are two artists who I am deeply inspired by; they are constantly pushing boundaries and proving that there are unconventional ways to bring an idea to life. How it is received is just a symptom. Right now I’ve also been listening to Jungle and their album Volcano. The album feels like an entire world, and that’s because they incorporated visuals and dance into their project. That’s the stuff I LOVE.


I am also deeply inspired by the human condition; it’s much harder to simply talk about human emotions than it is to write, rap, paint, or sing about them. I want to remove the stigma around vulnerability. It is widely perceived as a weakness (especially if you’re a man), and that is something I wish to change. Just think of how long it takes for you to ask for help when you’re in a dark place… See?

 

There’s a vast spectrum of emotions we feel, but because we’re men, those emotions are not validated by society (and sometimes by the people closest to us). So far, all I’ve been doing is identifying the problems, which is a start! From now on, I’d like to be a part of the solution. Through storytelling, I am able to create a world with rules that align with the idea of a ‘utopia’ that stems from my activism. Hopefully, real life can come from these ideas. I believe that’s what I’m here for. 






There are a bunch of challenges to face when deciding to pursue creating your art. One that has been plaguing me is numbers. It’s taken me some time to realise that numbers don’t add or subtract the value of an artwork. If my work truly affects at least one person, then I believe my job is done! Sure, a bigger audience would be appreciated by any artist, but doing what you can with the little you have is fulfilling. I also face the biggest enemy when it comes to being creative; me. 


I am someone with too many ideas and also sometimes believe that they need to come to life right away, which always holds me back. The imposter syndrome is also unfortunately there at times, but I’m learning how to use that to my benefit. If an idea scares me, I know that I have a moral and spiritual obligation to bring it to life. I see the fear as a green flag now.



© Mohau Makhetha



Insecurity, self-doubt, comparison, and lack of faith create an imaginary monster with a loud voice. Over several years, I realised that this monster only speaks up when I want to share my creations. It fills my head and body with fear covered in reason and logic. I am slowly getting better at looking at the monster and saying “What if it works out?”


I want to make a lot more music because I really have to get rid of the files that have been rotting on my hard drive, but also because making music is spiritual. I want to do a lot more writing and reconnect with dance as an art form. I know that my gifts and ideas are from a higher power, so I see myself as a vessel. 


My new album ‘ROOM’ is out now on all platforms.




Follow terrence? on Instagram, Tiktok, Bandcamp, Spotify and Youtube.




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