Featured Music Reviews

ShabZi Madallion Brings Back The Competitive Spirit Of Hip Hop With His New Single

KwaZulu-Natal born and Johannesburg raised artist, ShabZi Madallion wants all of that smoke and is making it clear that he has not come to play in 2019. Where Ya Homies At is the name of the song and it serves as a clear indication of ShabZi’s intentions and plans for the local Hip Hop game – conquer and make his presence felt. The song brings back a much needed competitive energy in the local rap world and it sees ShabZi effortlessly float over trap-leaning production delivering his potent bars.

image of shabzi madallion
Image supplied.

When speaking of what he aims to bring to the game, ShabZi says the following “I believe there’s a huge gap in the market for someone who is extremely relatable in their music. In as much as I’m here to entertain and grow, I’m also here to tell the truth, challenge the status quo and inform society of alternate truths”. He oozes confidence and that is evident in his music as it is packed with aggression, honesty and introspection. With his approach, he comes as somewhat of a sobering voice of reason bringing balance to the local rap game.

Listen to ShabZi Madallion’s latest single below.

Featured Music Reviews

Pierre Stemmett Nonchalantly Moves At His Own Pace

Twenty-one-year-old singer-songwriter, Pierre Stemmett, is a star – one that shines bright basking in the glare fueled of its uniqueness. Gifted with a strong pen which he uses to build imagined worlds, unpack emotions that we all go through but don’t know how to explain and communicate his view of the world. His gift makes him a once-in-lifetime type artist; the rare type, the ones that produce music packed with so much depth, fullness and sincerity leaving you – the listener on the receiving end – in awe forcing you to confront your demons, insecurities and to genuinely introspect. As much as many of the records that Pierre composes stem from and are inspired by his personal encounters and daily lived experiences, he has a natural gift of crafting songs that connect and empathy-oriented.

image of pierre stemmett
Image source: Facebook

Born and bred in Port Elizabeth, Pierre Stemmett always had the music bug in him, from a pubescent phase where he would mimic songs he heard on radio – this would later inspire him to take up songwriting as he entered into adolescence. It was during his high school years, where finally decided to take his calling seriously by making a concerted effort to record his ideas and this resulted in the release of Seals – a demo project which served as his first introduction to the masses. Seals was raw; experimental and unrestricted, perfectly illustrating the life, times and thoughts of a young teenage artist finding his voice and identity in the world.

The release of Seals in 2014 allowed him to build an online fanbase of young which was, with eager, going to follow and support him as he matured as an artist. At this point, he was perfecting his craft while learning how the music industry works as all his music was released independently. For the next three years, from 2015 to 2017, he would release a single titled Sleep Anthem and an EP titled Outset – these releases would satisfy his growing online following leading to 2018 where he would release a full body of work. Self-Inlficted was what this full body of work was called, an eleven-track album which saw a much more mature, creatively rooted and more experimental Pierre. Pulling from his various musical influences; from genres ranging from lo-fi hip hop, synth pop, alt rock, jazz and trap music, he built a truly unique project that would afford him the attention of an international audience. His go-to market strategy for Self-Inflicted was rigorous with a heavy focus on releasing videos on Youtube which garnered thousands of views. Fans were finding his music on Reddit and through streaming platform placements. He was well on his way to be a uniquely South African break out act.

image of pierre stemmett
Image source: Instagram

All of these great music career strides happened and are happening while Pierre juggles his electronic engineering studies at Stellenbosch University and that is immensely impressive. He is a great example of an artist that took his time to master their craft, while still being open to more influences from life as they grow and improve. Now, as a young adult, Pierre has a different out look of life and the world, and he has settled quit firmly in his talents making him more confident in his artistry. He moves at his own pace, comfortable in his own skin and is independently ushering a new energy into the South African music game.

Stream Pierre Stemmet’s album, Self-Inflicted on Apple Music below.

Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud.

Featured Interviews Music

Introducing Zani Sizani: Rising Port Elizabeth Born Singer-Songwriter Shaping The Next Urban Soul Sound

In South Africa, Port Elizabeth is known as the windy city — a beautiful coastal city known for its breathtaking scenery, friendly inhabitants and a great culture for the arts. Unbeknownst to most, Port Elizabeth has a thriving music scene which is built on genuine connections, creative excellence and a culture of nurturing positive energy to grow the local scene. And because of that, the level at which the talent that comes out of the city moves is similar to that of artists that are either born or based in bigger cities in South Africa such as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. This talent manifests itself in many different art forms and in music — this talent can be found executing its flair and prowess in different genres, capturing the hearts of passionate music lovers as they fulfill their purpose.

Port Elizabeth born and bred artist, Zani Sizani, is a diamond ready to take the world on by storm. Over the last few years; Zani has grown more confident as an artist, finding her voice as a musician whilst a juggling her architecture studies with music — making her story evermore interesting and fascinating. Now having completed her studies, she is ready to soar in the international arena with her modern approach to songwriting which allows her to craft songs that carry themes that could be understood and unpacked by anyone music lover in the world. Her craft moves beyond borders and is not limited by location or demographics.

We got a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a Q&A with the budding musician with a great future ahead of her. Check it out.

Your Twitter bio says that you are a singer, a band member and an architecture student. Expanding your description on your bio, how else would you describe Zani Sizani?
Well, I’m born and raised in Port Elizabeth and I have a very strong love and passion for music. I’ve grown up with strong musical ties my whole life, gravitating to the music my parents used to play on road trips growing up. I’d always had a secret passion for singing and I’d always wanted to explore it, but I had to follow the path set for me of going to varsity and finishing my architectural degree before I could.

I love art in all forms and I’ve been a sketch artist since the day I was able to write. I enjoy expressing myself through all mediums of art; be it singing, painting, sketching, architecture or digital art.

Every artist has a unique story about that one moment where they realized that they have an innate need to express themselves through music and connect with people. What sparked your love for music?
I’d already been recording music, as a hobby, in my second year of varsity with my friend but that wasn’t really manifesting into anything tangible, so I’d decided to drop the sessions and focus more on school. That was what I did until I bumped into a friend at a party and he asked me to record on a beat he made. I went, we recorded, and I kept going to record until the day I met my band members. We decided to form a band that day, by the end of the week we had a gig and we haven’t stopped performing since. It wasn’t until my 5th gig that I realised how in love with performing I was.

You are based in Port Elizabeth. What can you tell us about the music scene in your city? Like the one thing that you’d love people to know about the PE music scene?
What I’d love for people to know about the PE music scene is that it’s extremely diverse and rich. Musicians in PE are truly gifted and consumed by the art form. I’ve met young quantity surveys and architects would double as full-time performers. We have high quality, highly talented jazz musicians and some of the best afro soul bands I’ve ever heard. It’s easy to be discouraged when there aren’t any opportunities around and when there aren’t any paying gigs, but we have our musical havens that we, as artists, form and share music at. It’s what keeps the musical spark alive.

image of zani sizani
Image supplied.

Many artists in South Africa are often told or forced to move to bigger cities like Johannesburg or Cape Town for their careers to thrive. Are you also pressured by that? Provided that you had an opportunity to relocate for your music career, where would you go and why?
That is a choice we’re faced with when we decide to become full-time musicians and I have decided that moving would be the best decision for my personal growth. Especially since I’ve spent my whole life in PE. Fortunately, my family lives in Germany so I’m moving that side on the 20th of January to work as an architect and push my music career.

Let’s speak about your efforts in music. You’re part of a band called ZA’frotronixx. Can tell us a little bit more about it and how it started?
ZA’frotronixx is a band made up of 3 brothers (who go by Afrotronixx) from The Ivory Coast and myself. Our music is a fusion of afrobeat, house, R&B, hip hop and afro pop. I’m the vocalist and the brothers produce the music as well as play the bass, keyboard and drums. We started very randomly after meeting at a recording session I was at. We decided to form a band and had a gig 2 days later. We combined Zani with Afrotronixx to form ZA’frotronixx and we haven’t stopped performing since.

With regards to ZA’frotronixx, what can people expect in the near future?
We are releasing all the music we’ve made over the past 2 years and releasing visual content as well. I’m very excited to push our content in 2019.

image of zani sizani
Image supplied.

On the 11th of January you released Started, your debut project. Who did you work with on this project?
I worked with my band, a local producer named Arno Steez (who’s also making a name for himself) and a local beat maker named Reynold King who’s had his mixes featured on Superbalist and GQ magazine.

What inspired the creation of Started? Please give us a little insight on the creative process of producing your debut.
I released an EP on Soundcloud called “Starter” in 2017 and my friend suggested I title my debut album “Started” because I was no longer a starter, I’d started. I thought it was the best way to describe my journey.

The music is a compilation of what I consider to be the best music I’ve made over the past 3 years of recording. Most of the songs were written on a random day after someone had sent me a beat and I’d been inspired by whatever situation I’d been through. I’d write something then drive over to Arno or my bands place to work on it and record.

What can we expect from you this year?
I’m planning on releasing visual content for my project and I’m also working on a project with a few beat makers that I’m planning on recording in Berlin.

As a relatively new artist that is working on breaking out, what do you want to see more of in our local music industry?
I’d love to see the mainstream industry be open to new and different artists who don’t make music that typically plays on Trace or the radio. I feel that there is a market for diversifying the music that is typically produced and I’d love to see that shown more on mainstream media.

In closing, where can people follow you online?
You can find me on all platforms of social media by searching @zanisizani and you can find all details about my band on Facebook by searching @Zafrotronixx.

Stream Started on Apple Music below.

Featured Music Reviews

Jaedon Daniel Holds His Own In The Game

The 14th of November marked the release of Hold The Game, an eleven-track project by Jaedon Danielan artist that has firmly rooted himself in the music scene in Durban – and to be honest, many music heads that know their South African music are aware of this man’s musical prowess. With a natural knack for crafting great records, it comes as no surprise that many of dopest up-and-coming talent in Durban comes to him for the sauce.

When thinking of Durban talent that he has helped, names such as Red Robyn, ByLwansta and Kyle Deutsch quickly spring up in the conversation – although there are many other artists from his city that he has worked with, he features in the professional ascensions of many of the top tier talents to take South Africa by storm. Over the last few years, he has refined his craft, confidently owned the producer tag and set his own path. On the production side of things; he is not limited by genre or style, he can fit into any space, box or pocket you put him in with his ability to tap into different creative worlds. A master of many styles and sounds, he is great at testing ideas and pushing himself and those around him to prioritize experimentation in artistic expression.

image of Jaedon Daniel
Photography credit: Home Cooked Sessions

With Hold The Game, Jaedon pushed to showcase his ability of creating a full body of work as a recording artist that can hold his own in the game – the unforgiving and often unequal music industry in South Africa. Sonically, the project is versatile and is somewhat of a collection of well put-together sounds which are drawn from Jaedon’s external influences. You get hints of dance, world, ambient, electronic beats and hip hop, making for an extraordinary musical experience with gives you a graceful introduction to Jaedon Daniel – the man and the artist. He clearly put his best foot forward with this body of work and it is still to reach, amaze and captivate people, locally and internationally, due to its structure, creative direction and sonic textures. The project features Bylwansta, Mandla Matsha, Karen Van Pletsen and Bob Perfect, who offers up his voice performing on a song called Agape.

Jaedon Daniel is undoubtedly part of South Africa’s next – a group of young artists that are not bound by music industry conventions, mediocre and palatable standards of creativity. These artists are carving their own path and are introducing the masses to new ideas. Not only is Jaedon a great producer, but he is also great live performer who is often called up by bands and artists he is affiliated with for performances. He is also a fierce solo performer who can captivate any crowd he gets a chance to entertain. In 2019, we have no doubt that Jaedon Daniel is going to continue to impress.

Stream Hold The Game below.

Featured Image Courtesy of Fuego Heat.

Featured Music Videos

Must Watch Videos By Four Of South Africa’s Edgiest Musical Talents

The first two weeks of January have been a blessing to the South African music industry with new music coming out from various artists — old and new. The stand out artists in 2019 so far are the new acts who are bringing a fresh new energy to game who also are gunning for glory, innovation and disruption. With all of this new music and content, we take a look four videos from four artists who have released videos at the top of the year and are set to change the game this year. Check them out!

Mx Blouse – No Match

Mx Blouse has arrived! Having officially broke out into the South African music industry in 2017, they have consistently focused on shifting culture, shaping the next South African sound and prioritizing unrestricted expression. 2018 served as a year where Mx Blouse cemented their brand in the local industry and this was seen in the success of Is’phukuphuku — a single co-produced by Stiff Pap’s Jakinda, Albany Lore and Thor Rixon. Over the years, Mx Blouse has fine tuned their sound and carved their own lane which allows them to craft unique sonic experiences. The new year sees Mx Blouse release a brand new single titled No Match, a kwaito influenced dance tune which sees Mx Blouse deliver bars which are centered around relationship failures caused by dysfunction and the acknowledgement of one’s mistakes which lead to the death of a relationship — friendship or romantic. The production was handled by Mx Blouse’s longtime collaborators, Albany Lore and Thor Rixon, and the music video was directed by Keitumetsi Qhali.

KaeB & Parley Wang – Crown

Crown is the result of a collaboration between Tembisa born artists, KaeB and Parley Wang, who are frequent collaborators who are focused on changing the status quo in the music game in Mzansi. Having released the song in early 2018 as a free SoundCloud release as part of a conceptual project curated by KaeB called My Neighbours Hate Me II, where he crafts new trap-focused sounds that are characterised by grit and progression. The song quickly caught steam on the internet which led to it being officially being released on all major streaming platforms on the 16th of November.

On this track, Parley Wang lets his raps shine on the hard-hitting KaeB produced banger, displaying grit in the delivery of the lyrics making for a truly exceptional performance. To match the song’s high energy and character, the video for the video for the song was shot in a way that completely captures the attitude that is evidently present on the song. The Cidefx Films directed and produced music video showcases the city that KaeB and Parley live in, with beautiful night shots of Johannesburg’s inner city youth hub, Braamfontein, and the artists also effortlessly embodying the energy of the song.

Southside Mahomed – Jump Out The Whip

The Innanetwav camp is nothing F with. Believe that. 2018 was phenomenal for the youth-led label and through their consistent releases, they have amassed an online cult following. Towards the end of 2018, they released Jump Out The Whip — a bouncy rap tune with a unique soundscape and impeccable bars — by Kempton Park based rapper, Southside Mahomed. The song quickly caught the attention of a lot of online rap heads and added weight to Southside Mahomed’s name.

On the 13th of January, the visuals of Jump Out The Whip dropped and they coincidence with the official launch of Clout Cassette — a new urban culture channel that is similar to America’s Lyrical Lemonade. Southside Mahomed makes his presence felt in the Morale Phala directed video by displaying confidence. The video gives you insight into the daily life, desires and view of the young rapper.

ASAP Shembe – Janyouworry

Now if you haven’t noticed by now, ASAP Shembe has been unleashing his creative prowess in and around Johannesburg — releasing hot single after hot single and amplifying his brand by giving people electrifying performances at gigs he rocks at! In 2018, he released Janyouworry — a dark trap-leaning banger where he offers commentary on his view on society and life in January after a great festive splurge. On the track, he positions himself as an evolving force which embraces change but is still grounded in its roots.

The video was shot in ASAP Shembe’s hood, Vosloorus, and it features beautiful shots of the community that raised him. His hood is depicted honestly and beautifully in this video. The release of the Janyouworry video marks the first big move of the year and it easily places the talented rapper in conversations of acts look out for in 2019.

Featured image by Mpumelelo Macu.

Featured Music Reviews

Umlobi Wezinkondlo Nesiqi: Willing Listeners Forum Is A South African Hip Hop Anomaly

When people speak of real rap, the conversations are almost always centered around lyricism, braggadocious confidence and impactful content. The standards and prerequisites are pretty clear in the real rap realm of Hip Hop, and everyone involved in the culture is well aware of what is expected for rhythm-and-poetry practitioners. Rap today has fast become a humongous commercial beast, beating genres like rock and pop in popularity. It is almost unrecognizable from its beginnings which were characterized by beating the odds, using societal strife to fuel creativity and aiding the process of repairing the systematic destruction of communities of people of color. With a school of thought, rules and ideologies developed, the culture spread like a wildfire globally, so its prominence is no surprise.

One of the most fascinating aspects about Hip Hop is how malleable, adaptable and welcoming the culture is, and for that very reason it has been taken in by different cultures all over the world, repackaged and adapted to fit certain demographics. In South Africa, a country that is blessed with eleven official languages, rap is not just linguistic exercise that people randomly latch on to pass time, but it serves as a medium of expression that is heavily influenced by life – the good and the bad. We have some of the best wordsmiths in the game who are feared, respected and adored in the continent in the mainstream and underground realm. With a thriving mainstream Hip Hop industry, it is easy to forget that we have a healthy underground scene that produces world-class artists that can go toe-to-toe with the world’s best. Willing Listeners Forum, a rapper and producer from Pietermaritzburg, is a soldier for the underground – pushing for impactful, competitive and impressive rap. Fighting off the urge to dumb it down or dilute his artistry seems like it is a struggle that troubles him as he innovates within the perimeters of the true school – gritty beats, bars and great concepts.

image of wlf
Image supplied.

Fusing IsiZulu and the Queen’s language, he paints a picture of his life, builds imaginative worlds and offers advice to his peers in the game and consumers of his art. Over the years, he has released a number of releases which have allowed him to amass a decent following online and has built a dope network of like-minded artists. To kick 2019 off, he released a seven-minute teaser where he flexes his lyrical muscle and genius. Rapping over dust beat production from Coryayo and Cosmic Analog Ensamble, he raps his heart out expressing himself. He does not only speak of real rap but he shows it, displaying his talent in an exceptional performance. He is an anomaly in the South African Hip Hop and he carries the badge confidently as he carves his own path.

Listen to his latest offering, Nip Swag, below.

Featured Music Reviews

Get To Know DJ BNNY: Joburg Based DJ/Producer With A Unique Sound

DJ BNNY is an artist, DJ and music curator, who is rising steadily up the music industry ranks in the east Rand region of Johannesburg. Known for having a great affinity and knack for great music, DJ BNNY has manage to build a strong brand that allows people to easily connect. Although, he plays in the niche and alternative space, he is slowly cultivating a core following that loves and appreciates what he does.

As a DJ, he curates some of the best sets you’ll ever hear, curating well thought-out mixes which are not limited by genre – he is undoubtedly one of the most unique multi-genre DJ that is rising up in the country right now. As a producer, he carries a unique sound which has clear influences from all the genres of music that he loves.

image of dj bnny
Image supplied.

Towards the end of 2018, he released the Text EP – a four track experimental project which leans more towards downtempo house music. The approach on this EP is very minimal and sophisticated in presentation and composition. Great project! We recommend that you check this one out.

Follow DJ BNNY on Facebook and SoundCloud.

Featured Music Reviews Videos

Gnarghoul Raps: Enter the dynamic creative world of Pretoria-born rapper, DI$CO

Many may argue and say that South African Hip Hop has grown out of its infancy stage and is fast producing talent that can stand their own in the global arena; in impact, skill level and although this may seem as a stretch, in sales as well. The beauty of the South African Hip Hop scene is the variety, from the hardcore gritty underground where a rapper’s affinity to unleash thunderous and mind-boggling bars is viewed as a badge of honour, to the more mass appreciated sing-songy mainstream scene which equally has talented artists which have a cross-over mass appeal, the scene has blossomed into an industry that contributes immensely to South African culture, entertainment and creativity.

South Africa is a diverse country hence the diversity that South African Hip Hop carries, and you know what they say – art imitates life. Now within all of this diversity, you have acts that are primarily left-leaning and out-of-the-ordinary. You’ll barely hear them on traditional media platforms such as radio and TV, but they have, through the strength of their art, amassed large followings online and offline, locally and internationally. Pretoria-born rapper, DI$CO, is an example of such an act, a rap cat born out of the once thriving and cutthroat Cap City Rap City era of Pretoria Hip Hop. In his eleven years of rapping for sport and more importantly as a profession, he has offered up his artistry to show that South African Hip Hop can look, feel and move different. As one of the primary members of celebrated left-field acts in the country, such as PHFAT, Sedge Warbler and Oh! Dark Arrow.

image of di$co
Image supplied.

Now with a career as storied and lengthy as his, he has gone through a few evolutions as an and person, and at some point, he took a short sabbatical which he emerged as DI$CO, a rapper that fits into no box, more experimental and incredibly dangerous with the pen. His debut project as DI$CO, $PELLZ, received much acclaim from critics and set the tone for what his new brand was to offer to his fans who were dying to get more music from him.

Towards the end of 2018, he released the extended version of $PELLZ and started releasing the visuals for the most loved singles from the project. Songs like 13wolf and Killer By Design, produced by frequent collaborator and former PHFAT group member Narch , got the visual treatment.

For 2019, DI$CO has set his sights on pushing his brand to greater heights, with a South African tour planned and a promise to release more music – his fans are in for a treat.

Follow DI$CO on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Featured Interviews Music

The king is back: 80 Script sets the tone for 2019 with Pink Floyd, after a long sabbatical

Eswatini’s hip hop artists are working harder, pushing boundaries, getting high profile bookings in the kingdom and neighbouring countries which is a true testament of the growth of the genre. The hip hop genre is a genre relatively new in the kingdom, but over the years it has grown and soared to great heights. The artists have not only relied on bookings but have started hosting their own shows which were well attended and received major media coverage which is evidence of the growth of the genre in the country. Born Zolile Motsa, 80 Script is one of those artists and has always been regarded as one of the best hip hop artists the kingdom of eSwatini has ever seen.

With two solid and remarkable projects under his name, These Are The Basics and You Do The Dishes, one can clearly understand why he is put on a pedestal. One of the few wordsmiths in eSwatini, 80 Script has become a household name through his unique approach in the art of rap and music, drawing experience from life, people and God. “I draw inspiration from everywhere. Life is a play-by-play film and I simply draw from everything going on around me,” he speaks about what inspires his music.

Fresh from performing his hit single Yaya ft Una Rams on SHIZ NIZ, Zolile believes he still has a tremendous role to play in the kingdom’s hip hop fraternity and is motivated by that even more. “Having a dream and wanting to live it out rather than settle for what’s given to us. The drive to make my family and loved ones proud. The drive to make my country proud of one of their own doing it for hip hop anywhere and everywhere in the world,” explaining about what motivates him to work harder even though the local music scene is very volatile. This motivated him to come back from a seven months sabbatical. “I took a break from January – July 2018 because the industry was no longer challenging me and therefore there was no more growth for me and that can be the most difficult thing for anyone. Because I had reached a ceiling in local hip hop in terms of growth, I found myself at a crossroads because it felt like there was nothing adventurous to do anymore,” he explains about the break. ” That led to a mental “funk”. Around August, I found new inspiration and here we are. My music is far more diverse now. I had enough time to work on it during that period because I never stopped making music. Even if I wouldn’t record it, I would still come up with songs and even projects. So my music is at a point where it has more range in terms of style and my writing is far more flexible,” he elaborates.

80 Script’s commitment to the game has made him more relevant even after the time-out and receiving a fair amount of bookings despite not releasing new music in 2018. “In the four years of running, I only ever missed one show , and even that show I arrived for however I didn’t perform due to a misunderstanding with one of the organizers ,” proving his level of commitment. In the latter part of 2018 through a partnership with Simtronic DJ, 80’s hit song ‘Yaya’ was re-launched in South Africa receiving massive airplay on various radio stations like Metro FM, Tshwane FM, 5FM and BMH Radio.

Image supplied.

Consistency is one of the words that clearly describe 80 Script, which is evident in his latest body of work Pink Floyd. An impeccable mixtape, one setting the tone for 2019. “Pink Floyd is a mixtape I decided to work on and craft in 10 days. I wanted to prove I am the Mayweather of Eswatini hip hop and the link stands for good vibes,” he explains about Pink Floyd. “The aim of the project was to thank my fans for supporting me thus far. I also wanted to challenge myself and see if I could come up with a project in 10 days. It ended up taking 14 days and I put it out,” he elaborates. Motivated by his newfound desire to shine again and retain his crown as the best hip hop artist out of eSwatini, Pink Floyd is the right start towards the claiming back the crown.  With features from Ayzee, Trent OmarHarristheniner all came in to perfect this body of work.

Having set the tone for the year, Zolile promises Yaya visuals, cartoon comic, short film, joint projects and more. 2019 promises to be a good year for the talented rapper and eSwatini’s hip hop fraternity.

Stream Pink Floyd below.

Culture Events Featured Interviews

Lakuti: On her moving to Europe, her achievements, Uzuri Recordings & more

Forward-thinking, creative, fearless and innovative are some of the words you can use to describe South African born DJ and entrepreneur, Lerato Khathi – more popularly known as Lakuti. Having been based in Europe for over twenty years, fulfilling different roles in the music industry, she has built up a strong name for herself in the international dance music scene.

After spending so much time building and improving the independent dance music scene in the UK, she has rubbed shoulders and collaborated with some of the world’s most respected and celebrated dance music pioneers such as Larry Heard, Boo Williams and Juan Atkins, booking them for events and giving them a platform to share their artistry. As a DJ, she has showcased the strength of her ear by appearing on platforms such as Boiler Room, Worldwide FM, Plastic People, Fabric and Panorama/Berghain Bar.

Her work as an artist manager, booking agent and event curator is rooted in her passion for introducing new talent, sounds and ideas to the masses. Inclusivity forms a big part in her work as a creative entrepreneur. Now based in Berlin, Lakuti continues to disrupt the international dance music scene with her groundbreaking ideas with her partner, Berlin-based DJ – Tama Sumo.

We had a short Q&A with her ahead of her performance at Kitcheners on the 11th of January. Check it out.

You moved to Europe in the late 90s and have built up a solid name for yourself in the international DJ space. It is without doubt that you have a storied career. What do you feel has been your greatest achievement?
I moved to the UK in March 1997. For the first four months, I was based in Newcastle before moving to London where I was based for 15 years right up to the end of 2011. I went to the UK with 400 pounds in my pocket which vanished in no time. My greatest achievement was to forge an independent path for myself,  being able to start a label and establish the Süd Electronic parties and bring artists such as the godfather of techno, Detroit’s Juan Atkins, Lil Louis, Boo Williams amongst many other celebrated international artists and often bringing artists that had never played in the UK before, was something I was very proud of. To be able to also organize these parties for 11 years and provide something that was truly alternative and inclusive is something I am very proud of.

You seem to have a very multifaceted approach to creativity and the business of it. How do you balance being a business person and a creative? Or do you view everything as one?
I have a holistic approach to work and day time working as an agent representing other artists. I work in a creative field therefore even in the office we are always striving to bring a fresh and creative energy to what we do. Embracing the new and change all the time without losing our roots and focus.

Many South Africans that are aware of what you do are very clued on your work as one the main people behind Uzuri Recordings. Please tell us about some of your other projects or roles in the global music industry.
Apart from establishing and running Uzuri Recordings solo, I work as an agent. I founded Uzuri Artist Bookings & Management which turned 10 years old in 2018 and I am very proud of our roster. Very happy and humbled to have been given the opportunity to programme Panorama/Berghain Bar, one of the internationally celebrated clubs since 2015 alongside my partner Tama Sumo. I’m also happy to have launched a new music and culture (particularly focused on live music as well as culturally relevant  discussions) platform, ‘Bring Down The Walls ‘ alongside Tama Sumo, which we launched back in September with a live performance by the Legendary Larry Heard who featured Mr White. Tama Sumo and I also run a series of events very sporadically in London under the banner ‘Your Love‘. We are actually bringing Your Love to Cape town on the 19th of January to Wonderland club. I have been truly humbled to be able to travel the world as a DJ as well. 2018 was good to me, I got to do more than 90 gigs which saw me play festivals and gigs throughout Europe as well as touring the USA.

You are set to perform at Kitcheners alongside Maria McCloy, SNO and Tama Sumo. How important do you feel that such events are for the South African scene?
I love the approach that is being pushed at Kitcheners which is striving for visibility for everyone not just men, so that is important. It enriches our music community. I love the fact that this is such a diverse line up musically as well. There is so much good music out there that needs to be celebrated and it is a shame to me to not absorb it all as a music lover. The tendency to just focus on genres instead of absorbing the rich music tapestry in it’s full glory is a great modern tragedy.

When playing gigs at home, what do you aim to give or express through your sets to the people in attendance?
When playing at home I hope to break music that people may not be too familiar and to bring a different approach that may not be hugely popular here with hopes of bringing something new to the table.

Catch Lakuti performing alongside SNO, Maria McCloy and Tama Sumo at the coolest bar on the khona.

Follow UZ