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Birth name Sonia Aletta Nel[1]
Born 1971
Omaruru, Namibia
Genres Adult contemporary
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, motivational speaker and author[2]
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar
Years active 1990–present
Labels Nianell Enterprises
Associated acts Romanz, Riana Nel

Nianell (born 1971 as Sonia Aletta Nel in Omaruru, Namibia) is a singer, pianist, guitarist and composer.


After growing up in Windhoek, Nianell graduated with a three-year diploma in light music from Pretoria Technikon in South Africa. She studied classical music at Trinity College in London and at the University of South Africa.[3]

She has a four-octave vocal range and her songs have been described as including "elements of Folk, Pop, R&B, Country, Classic and even Celtic music".[4] Four of her albums (Who Painted The Moon?, Angel Tongue, Life's Gift, and I Know I'm Lucky) reached platinum status in South Africa. Nianell got her International First Platinum Hit with her song "Who Painted The Moon?" The composition was covered by another international superstar Hayley Westernra on the album Pure. The album sold more than 2 million copies and Nianell’s version was featured as a single on this album.[citation needed] In April 2011 she released her first album in the United States.[5] She won SAMA Awards: Angel Tongue won "Best English Contemporary album", and "We'll Find A Way" won her "Best Female songwriter".

She released a duet album with Dozi and another duet album with Afropop artists Romanz in May 2011.[needs update][5]

Personal life[edit]

She and her husband, Andrew Thompson, have triplets, all girls.[6] In 1998 she played netball in the Namibian national team.[7] Nianell's younger sister, Riana Nel, is also an acclaimed singer and songwriter. Both sisters have performed together on several occasions.


  • 2002 - Who Painted The Moon
  • 2006 - Life's Gift[8]
  • 2007 - Angel Tongue[9]
  • 2007 - As One (Live DVD, concert at Emperor's Palace)
  • 2008 - I Know I'm Lucky[10]
  • 2009 - It Takes Two, with Dozi (DVD)[11]
  • 2010 - Sand & Water[12]
  • 2011 - Who Painted The Moon (U.S. Compilation Album)[13][14]
  • 2011 - 'N Duisend Drome[15]
  • 2012 - You're The One That I Want - Take 2[16]
  • 2012 - My Heart[17]
  • 2014 - Just Be[18]