Rising star Deni has released her debut single, Pepe.

The song is an ode to herself and women, to celebrate their individuality and ultimately, to be confident in their bodies. It is a fusion of Afro-beats, R&B and pop.

Deni, whose real name is Nomndeni Nkabinde, told SunBuzz Pepe refers to a type of pepper in West African cuisine, which explains the fiery nature of the song. “I enjoy cooking and discovering new recipes from other parts of the world, and so it just made sense when I paired it with the way I was feeling at the time,” she said.

“It fit the rest of the lyrics and the message I was trying to get across to people, which is to hype yourself up, be confident and proud of your skin, body, mind and soul.”

The 31-year-old said she worked on the song during the peak of the pandemic while she was under strict lockdown.

“During the pandemic when there was nowhere to go, I would get dressed up to remind myself of that emotion and confidence when you feel and look good,” she said.

“Whether it was to go to the studio or a quick grocery run, I would make sure I looked fly. I’d get in the car and blast beats loudly.

“This little ritual allowed me to escape and my creative juices always flared up while driving.

“I came up with Pepe in the car on my way to the studio to record something else. When I arrived, I was so excited, I recorded it and forgot about what I was actually there to record.”

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“In that moment, I knew I had something special. I hope it can uplift other people in the same the way that it has lifted my spirit.”

Deni told Sunbuzz self-love was critical for a number of reasons.

“It has a profound impact on how we see ourselves and how we treat ourselves,” she said.

“Everyone needs self-love. While it’s great to be on the receiving end of love from others, it’s also important to practice self-love daily. When you hold yourself in high esteem you’re more likely to choose things that nurture your well-being and serve you well.”

Asked about an album, Deni said at the moment she was focused on introducing herself and her music.

“ I am not in a rush. I want my music to gain traction and for people to understand who I am, what I’m about and once I have achieved that, I’ll start thinking of dropping a full album.”

Deni said she’s grateful for how people reacted and supported her debut single. “Things have only just begun. So far, the reaction to Pepe has been unbelievable. Everyone who hears the song enjoys it.

“That makes me feel good and even more excited to share more of my music. I’d like to represent the new age Pan-African women in the music industry and bring great minds together to make music that lives on even after I have left Earth.”