On March 21st, 2024 Toronto based Pop R&B singer Dingani released their debut EP Motel. We had a listen to this EP prior to the release and we loved it. We think it really shows Dingani’s talent and also portrays their story of being a Black queer.

When asked about the overall meaning behind Motel, Dingani says, “Motel is a concept EP that features a kaleidoscopic sound, drawing inspiration from different styles of pop music (e.g. Old School Pop RnB, 80s pop, Indie and alternative). The project is a queer coming-of-age story that explores themes of black love, self-discovery and queer hardships. This is a love letter to black queer Africans and the lengths we go to find sanctuary. The EP was designed to take the listener on a journey as we explore the fictional relationship between the two main characters, Mkuzo and Chanda. Ultimately, this project teaches us that we all deserve love and must feel a sense of safety and belonging in our environments. The motel is an “other space,” a liminal corridor where people can enter and explore themselves without fear of judgment, and once you leave, you return to the reality forever changed.”

The tracks on Motel have been in the writing process for over three years with the first being created in December 2021. Dingani says, “While I was completing my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at U of T, I spent a lot of my spare time creating demos in my dorm room. I had just started learning to produce in 2020, and after a year, much to my surprise, things started to sound good.

“As I was writing each song, I distinctly remember being inspired by certain movie scenes and queer literature. For example, trouble was inspired by the 2012 adaptation of Anna Karenina, specifically the waltz scene and BRB was inspired by André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name, in this case, the push-and-pull nature of Oliver and Elio’s relationship. I constantly reference different things in my work, so this is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2022, I reached out to Stephen Kerr, who executively produced, mixed, and mastered the project. When we first started working together, I told him that I wanted to create a project that tackled nuanced subject matter and that I wanted each song to be different. At the time, I was inspired by Beyonce’s approach to Lemonade and how she had a narrative through the line despite every song being sonically distinct. So, we reworked the original demos I produced, and during the pre-production stage, Stephen helped to refresh and amplify the compositions. Many of the songs still sound similar to the original demos but way better. I tend to prefer to work with a select few people, so it was just him and me working closely together on this project.”

The main track on this EP is of the same title “Motel”. It’s a song about two characters having the opportunity to be accepted and celebrated by the person they love. Dingani says, “I’ve only ever wanted to be loved for who I am and not who I should or could be. In this song, the two characters finally shed their layers and reveal their true feelings for one another in a safe space, allowing them to be whoever they want to be. The song still acknowledges the harsh realities of the world they live in and the fear that one day it will be taken away from them because, unfortunately, in many places that aren’t in Canada, homosexuality is criminalized and punishable by law.”

We absolutely love Dingani and the messages they portray through their music.

Motel is now available on all digital streaming platforms so, make sure to listen to it here.

Check out Dingani on Instagram: @_dingani_

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