Up-Close with Joennise Juliette … Seychelles’ ‘Sega Queen’-‘I will never stop singing’


Indeed she became the Larenn Sega of Seychelles with her sweet voice and the way she Joennise during a performancedanced to the sega beats. And this is how she has captured the hearts of her Mauritian fans.

I have met a lot of interesting people who always seem to be joyful even through the hardships of life, but Joennise Juliette can really take on another crown as the queen of smiles and laughter.
Ever since I knew her she has always had that smile and never wore a frown.

“I am simply friendly, always smiling and I have lots of friends, but it does not mean that just because I am a friendly person I will let others take advantage of me,” she said.

Down memory lane
“I started singing when I was still a young girl. I remember I was singing one day and my little cousin came in, gave me a push from the back and I fell down and broke a tooth,” she recalled.

“Who knows, may be that served as a motivation for me to keep on singing,” she quipped.

As she was growing up, singing became part of her daily life. Joennise started to sing children’s songs and those that she learned at school.

“But it all started in earnest when at the National Youth Service (NYS) I was selected to join the village band,” she said.

“Andreix Rosalie was the one who encouraged me to keep on singing and I will always be thankful to him because he believed in my talent.”

After NYS, Joennise pursued her studies in fashion at the Seychelles Polytechnic where she and other colleagues formed a band.

“When I left Polytechnic, I joined the Red Berets, a band of the Youth League, in the late 1980s,” she said.

Following her brief stint with the Red Berets, the sega queen felt the need to go further and explore the world of music. After she left the Red Berets, the ever determined young singer decided to join other bands such as Equinox and Footsteps.

The ever-smiling JoenniseJoennise is presently a member of the Leko band where she performs at the Ephelia Resort, Konoba restaurant and other places.

Her music and inspirations…
“Tina Turner has always been a source of inspiration for me. I’ve always enjoyed listening to her music and watching her video clips. I also like Rita Marley’s music,” she said.

Martinican singer and songwriter Jocelyne Beroard, a core member of the Kassav band -- one of the pillars of the zouk music -- is a woman who has had a great impact on Joennise’s musical career.
“I love sega, but I have also tried zouk and slow music,” she said.

“I prefer sega because when I am on stage, I cannot stand still. I enjoy dancing, I believe that when an artist stages a show, he or she needs to make it lively and worthy for the fans.”

“I took part in a show for the Arts Festival recently and many people thought I had stopped singing. But, I want my fans to know that Joennise is still singing and will not stop until God decides otherwise,”

“I’ve been to so many places thanks to my music. I have travelled to Spain, Sweden, South Africa, Mauritius and other islands in the Indian Ocean,” she said.

During her musical career, fans have enjoyed a variety of songs from 10 albums. The first album Lanmour sove came out in 1990.

Throughout the decade, she kept climbing up the ladder of success and became one of Seychelles’ prominent singers.

In 2002, Joennise wrote her first lyrics and the song entitled Maler napa Balizaz became a hit.
Is there a future album for the fans?

“The last one I did was Retour Larenn Sega in 2009 and I think I will be making another comeback, so the answer is yes, there is another album in store because I will be celebrating 25 years as a singer.”

Most of her songs are about day to day happenings and love.
Fans have enjoyed an array of lyrics and beats from Joennise, but to her fans and to the singer herself, the song Manman has and will always be the best.

“The song was written by well known local artist Thomas Knowles and it featured on my first album. The lyrics are valuable and touching,” she said.
The song Larenn Sega…

“It was one of the songs on the album Larenn Sega which was released in 1995. It was written by Gilles Lionnet (El manager) and it was written especially for the children.”

25 years in music … how did she make it through?
“Well for an artist to stay that long, I believe one has to have patience and love for music.”
“My family has supported me throughout the years and for that I thank them, my mother, step-father, sister, aunties and other relatives.”

“I have experienced a lot of challenges during the years that I have been singing but I believe that this is one of the aspects that have motivated me to keep going.”

Her life…
Away from music, the mother of four enjoys sewing, gardening, dancing and spending quality time with her children.

“My children are my inspiration, they are the ones who keep me going and I want them to know that I love them very much,” she said.

Her daughter Vanessa, who has been following in her mother’s footsteps in music since she was three, is now slowly making her way in the real music world.

by Mandy Bertin