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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Get To Know Sliqwiz: Nigerian Artist Inspired By Life, Love & The Greats of Yesteryear

In the global music arena, African music has fast become an undeniable formidable force. Genres like Afrobeat and Afropop are now being spoken of in the same light as hip hop, rock and R&B — and in all honest, African music is now firmly cemented in the pop music realm. With the rise of African music, comes the emergence of new talent which goes on to take these sounds to the world. Ikeja, Lagos, born artist Sliqwiz is one of these artists playing in the Dancehall and Afropop world — consistently delivering hit after hit.

The 25-year-old Cape Town based artist released his first single, Fore Play, in October 2018 and it served as his first introduction to the South African market. With the release, Sliqwiz showed his capabilities, his unique offering to the game and great music.

We had a chat a quick Q&A with him recently to find out more about him, his music, influences and more. Check it out!

The South African music industry got to introduced to your brand and you as an artist last when you released your first single ‘Fore Play’. Please give us a little more background on journey. How did it all start for you? 

I’ve always had a passion for music, I joined a music band in high school in which I started off as a drummer in the band. Later on, I met a friend who already had some exposure in the professional music scene and I began to enhancing my music writing skills and rhymes. I wrote and recorded my first song at the age of 19 which was a hip hop song  and got a great response from my friends and family. This gave me the zeal and encouragement to take things further professionally earning me award recognitions and accolades from fans and top colleagues in the industry.

Who or what inspires you to do what you do? 
I get my inspirations from sounds and classic records from a few legendary artiste like Bob Marley, 2Pac, UB40 etc.

What is the one thing that you would like people to know about you and your music?
My originality and versatility in my sound of music.

image of sliqqiz
Image supplied.

You have a very international sound and your songwriting is great. What is your creative process?
I’m bringing a different West African feel with my lyrics, delivery and content.

What can we expect from you this year?
I’ll be dominating the whole African music scene with my sound and unreleased projects. I have my EP and a couple videos dropping this year.

Who would love to work and make music with?
There are a lot of diversified musicians out there putting in so much work and effort in their craft, I’ll work with anyone who I feel will have an impact or influence on any specific song I make.

In conclusion, where can people follow you online?
I can be followed with @sliqwiz on all social media platforms.

Watch Sliqwiz’s Fore Play music video below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Bassline Live & Radio 2000 Present: Simphiwe Dana’s Annual Congregation Live At Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City

Accomplished South African singer, songwriter and performer — Simphiwe Dana— celebrates 15 years of being active in the music industry. A storied and illustrious career which started in Gcuwa, Eastern Cape, and rooted in humble beginnings is set to be celebrated at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City.

Praised for her innovative take on the arts and her natural affinity to all things creative and culture, such as fashion and activism, Simphiwe Dana has carved out a lane that has allowed her to break boundaries; foster genuine and impactful connections with the masses, and positioned herself as medium through which the voiceless and under-represented are gracefully hoisted up through activism. All of her efforts in the arts and culture, are a direct reflection of her calling — touching, teaching and connecting people through song and dance.

This year’s Annual Congregation, is incredibly special because this is Simphiwe Dana’s first performance after healing from a successful vocal surgery and it is also comes just over a month after her birthday, the 23rd of Janurary, so the show promises to a celebration of life, healing, love and culture. The event is supported by Radio 2000 as the official radio partner as well as culture, arts and entertainment specialists, Bassline Live. With Brentwood Clothing as the brand partner, a brand that is known to champion culture and the arts,  the event is geared to be memorable.

Simphiwe Dana brings her annual concert, Annual Congregation, back at the Lyric Theatre this March. Get your tickets here.

Simphiwe Dana will wow Jozi music lovers once again on the 2nd of March at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City. The show is to start at 8PM and the tickets are going for R250 at Computicket.

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Introducing SculpturedMusic: East Rand Born DJ/Producer Consistent In Producing Hits

South Africa is now known as the new deep house mecca with an incredible number of sensationally producers and DJs being discovered in this era. Born Willy Lubisi, SculpturedMusic is a DJ turned producer from east of the city of gold, Johannesburg. “I’m a DJ first before a producer. Producing came in later on in my DJ career” he explains. With two albums under his name; Brighter Days and Breathe Again, Willy is a really unique gem and a force to be reckoned with who continues to stay true to his deep house roots and marshals the groove. “Both albums have helped me to be where I am today” sharing that his work is of sentimental value to him.

From beatboxing a bassline on his phone voice recorder at a club then laying it down in studio the next day, Sculptured Music has curated music that shall be reminisced in the deep house scene for years to come. “It starts off on my phone voice recorder where I beatbox a bassline at the club or in my car, so I don’t forget the idea. Then lay it down in studio the next day” he shares his song making process. “A song gives birth to another actually. But there are no rules in making music. You just have to respect the art” he elaborates.

image of sculpturedmusic
Image source: Facebook

Equipped with Pro Tools, Reason and MPC AKAI, SculpturedMusic started the year on a very high note giving us ‘Sad to Think’ a potent soul-soothing joint terrifically sculptured to be a massive song for the year. Sampling ‘Neither One of Us’ by Gladys Knight & The Pips, Sculptured Music shows off his remarkable music gift and slick production skills, completely transforming a soulful golden oldie. “I was on YouTube listening to some old stuff to get inspiration, when I came across this Gladys Knight song and I liked the beginning of the vocal” explaining the concept behind the song. “I thought to myself I can sample this track in a way it has never been sampled before. And the song really got some SA producers inspired. Which helps the culture move forward” he elaborates.

Sad To Think is a beautifully constructed, hard hitting vocal deep house song which has been Shazamed over 2500 times and in the Top 15 iTunes Dance Chart. Packing a moving bass line, Sculptured Music has set the tone for the year with a song that will tear dance floors up for the rest of the year.

Stream ‘Sad To Think‘ below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Watch: Diamond Thug Releases Beautiful Visuals For Their Best Performing Single ‘Sapphire’

Cape Town based alternative pop outfit, Diamond Thug, kicks off the new year with a grand celebration of a recent milestone — Sapphire, their single off of their debut album Apastron, reaching two million streams across streaming platforms. As part of the celebration of this milestone, Diamond Thug releases a beautiful music video for the successful single. Directed by talented Cape Town based creative, Luke Nelson, the video sees the band’s lead singer, Chantel Van T, taking center stage as the main subject of the visual piece. Through her performance, she effortlessly communicates themes of self-discovery through relinquishing control, letting go and being open to change — the song then wonderfully soundtracks the short-film-like music video.

Watch the music video below.

Catch Diamond Thug perform at a venue near you here.

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Featured Music Reviews

EMERGER Re-releases Breakout Hit ‘Break & Fall’ With Additional Versions

I first stumbled upon EMERGER’s Facebook page a few months ago, decided to find out more about them and gave their music a listen. This was probably one of the best decisions I made all year as I played their song ‘Urban Wilderness’ again and again as this majestic song made me all happy inside each time I played it.

EMERGER consists of Emma de Goede (lead vocals and piano) and Gerrit Matthee (producer and multi-instrumentalist) who met at high school in 2008 and also studied music together at the University of Cape Town from 2012. You can tell that the trust factor is there with these two talented musicians. A lot of promising bands flash greatness and then disappear before you can even tell all your friends about them. With EMERGER, you get the feeling that they are onto a special formula, carefully built up from many hours hard at work in the studio, mastering their sound and true love of music in order to create something absolutely meaningful to inspire us all.

image of cape town alt-pop duo emerger
Photography credit: George Hugo

Before releasing new music in 2019, EMERGER wanted to put all the versions of their popular track, ‘Break & Fall’ as one body of work. This song means a lot to Emma and Gerrit as they won the prestigious Avid & Abbey Road Studios International Song Contest for it & this helped launch them in the UK. All four songs on this release are quality, the production is world class and my personal favourite is the acoustic version.

image of cape town alt-pop duo emerger
Photography credit: PIeter De Jager

Stream all of the Break & Fall versions below.

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Featured Music Reviews Videos

Adrienne Foo drops video for ‘Treasure’ featuring LO

Swazi Jive Records means business and even in 2019 they continue their meteoric rise in the Southern African entertainment industry. With only two months into the year, they are already setting the tone in the game and are consistent in proving why they have been regarded as the best. Now they are back with world class visuals for Andrienne Foo’s treasure. The video is nothing short of remarkable, high quality with not a lot of special effects and a great concept. The song on its own is splendid coupled with stellar vocals from Foo and a wonderful heavy bass, plus well arranged chords — the video compliments the song very well. Having won best video at the 2017 MTN SWAMA Awards for her smash hit single ‘Dangerous‘, I can confidently say this video will scoop the award this year.

Watch the video below.

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Featured Interviews Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: KaySoul Releases The Prosimians EP through Berlin’s Tooman Records

KaySoul (real name Katleho Monaheng Matseke) burst into the local dance music scene in 2018 having slowly built up his rep by consistently releasing innovative remixes and compositions. His tireless work and brilliant display of his talent landed him wins at the Dance Music Awards South Africa, where he was crowned The Best Male DJ and he also got the Best Remix Award for his groundbreaking interpretation of Hans Seance’s record — Elanora.

After firmly positioning himself as one of the next go-to talents for hits, great timeless records and a different approach to DJing dance music, KaySoul has not paused his rise for glory as he is still adding more weight to his name by delivering stellar music and showcasing his strength of production. With a unique sound that doesn’t bind him to any convention, he is undoubtedly going to be a mainstay in the African dance music industry.

We caught up with him ahead of the releases of his ‘The Prosimians‘ EP released through respected German label — Tooman Records — to get to know him better, get a sense where his head is at and get some insights on his career in music. Check it out below.

Your name, brand and talent was properly seen and felt in 2018. The industry really got to know who you are through your various releases and your Dance Music Awards South Africa win. And a lot of us in the culture knew or heard of your music, but we never really had a back story as to who you are as an artist. Please take us back to how it all started for you and what sparked your love for music?

I am Katleho Matseke known by my stage name KaySoul and I was born and raised in Kwa-Thema in the East Rand of Johannesburg. My love for dance music started back in 2006 when I was in Grade 7, I used to listen to lots of radio and collected various compilations which were put together by the likes of Vinny Da Vinci, Glen Lewis, Oskido, DJ Ganyani, Soul Candi discs to name a few.

I told myself that one day I am also going to create what I keep listening to on the radio and in the year 2010 I got introduced by a friend of mine to the music making software which was Fruity Loops and I suddenly started to teach myself how to create beats and I fell in love with it till today.

What were some of your influences that helped shape the KaySoul that we have come to know in the music game today?
I draw a lot of inspiration from Larry Heard, a DJ/record producer from Memphis, USA and I got influenced by listening to various radio shows and surrounding myself with creative individuals, and also by listening to different artists interviews, they helped shaped the person I am today.
You are from a region in the Johannesburg area that is responsible for a lot of the local innovations in culture, entertainment and art – the East Rand. There is a certain level of excellence when it comes to the arts in the East Rand. What can you say about the music scene in the East?
The music scene in the East Rand is growing and there are a lot of creative artists who are putting their art out there to be heard. There are a lot of events which are happening in the East Rand and they push and celebrate the culture of dance music.
The KaySoul sound is very rich, layered and hard-hitting. What or who inspires your sound? Where do you pull your stylistic influences from?
Larry Heard inspires my sound signature. I pull my stylistic influences by listening to different Deep House artists from SoundCloud.
image of south African dj/producer - kaysoul
Image supplied.
You’re gearing up to release ‘The Prosimians EP’ through Berlin based label, Tooman Records. How did the project come about and how did the Tooman Records connect happen? 
The project “The Prosimians EP” came about in 2015 when I was studying Anthropology at the University of Johannesburg where I got inspired when I read about the Prosimians chapter which are a group of primates that includes Lemurs and Tarsiers. I liked the sound they made and the track titled “The Prosimians (Original Mix)” has a Lemurs voice sound.

In 2017 I asked Dark Art, a friend of mine to do a remix for me and in 2018 I reached out to Tooman Records via email, sending them The Prosimians EP demo and they liked the vibe on it and decided to license the project with them for release.

What do you feel you are bringing to African dance music currently?
I am bringing my unique self to the African Dance Music.

What else can we expect from you? More music? Gigs?
I have another forthcoming 4 tracker EP titled “Venice” which includes 3 remixes from a USA, Thailand and Greece producers. The Venice EP is coming out in April 2019 on Society 3.0 Recordings (Germany) and I also have two remixes I did, one for Michael Oberling from USA which will be released on vinyl and another one for Babies Kotsanis from Greece. I have a few gigs lined up as well.

In conclusion, what do you hope to achieve with your music?
8. In conclusion, I hope to inspire people with my music and to heal them when they are listening to my music. I want to achieve collaborations with many artists so that I open different territories.
 Stream The Prosimians EP below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Seba Kaapstad signs to Mello Music Group & releases an awe-inspiring single titled ‘Breathe’

The Seba Kaapstad journey started in 2013 when Stuttgart, Germany, born student Sebastian Schuster moved to Cape Town. While spending some time in the Mother City familiarizing himself with the new surroundings, cultures and people, he later met other young Cape Town based students, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana, who he would proceed to start a working musical relationship. As a result of the formation of their working relationship in music, a beautiful chemistry was formed allowing them to push boundaries musically.

image of seba kaapstad
Image source: Facebook

Pulling from their respective roots and upbringings, it came as no surprise that what Seba Kaapstad would go on to deliver was going to be groundbreaking. With South African, Swazi and German reference points, Seba Kaapstad designed its own blend of jazz-inspired sound which also draws stylistic influences from hip hop, rhythm & blues, soul and electronic dance music. 2016’s Tagore’s was the result of three years of hard-work spent crafting this sound. The ten-track masterpiece was their first official introduction to the world as an act – it saw them defeat conventions by stretching genres from yesteryear and thrusting them into the modern realm. The group also added a fourth member in 2016; Philip Scheibel, to complete the team. Their sound, although their journey started in South Africa, carried universal themes with global nuances which makes the music easily understood by all who interact with it – as the approach and the style was shamelessly worldly.

Now six years later, the group has re-emerged with a more experimental and mature interpretation of music. Each member has grown personally and musically; with Zoe Modiga releasing SAMA award-winning album, Yellow, which propelled her into the limelight in the South African music industry. Now with accolades and access to more ears, the group re-unites to shift the landscape of music once again. Their tireless work and innovative spirit has allowed them to catch the attention of influential American independent label, Mello Music Group, which signed them making them the first international act of the label.

The announcement of this monumental signing came with the release of Breathe – an awe-inspiring track which has many unexpected but impressive twists and turns in direction. The track serves as a beautiful display of their style and what they have to offer.

Great things are to be expected from this group. They are certainly ready for world domination.

Stream Breathe below.

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

In Conversation With Durban born Cape Town based musician – Hezron Chetty

Every now and again you witness a musician perform live and you stop in your tracks to marvel at the incredible skill set they possess. You wonder how many hours of practice and dedication it took to be this good. One of these gifted musicians is former Durbanite, Hezron Chetty, who is now based in beautiful Cape Town.

Hezron Chetty is an internationally recognized violinist and songwriter, solo artist and is also a member of Cape Town bands – Jungle Book Birds and BRYNN while also being the string player for Medicine Boy.

Hezron has been involved in 7 studio albums and over 40 singles to date. He has shared the stage with world renowned bands and solo artists such as Incubus, Finley Quaye, Jeremy Loops, Francois Van Coke, Jack Parow, Viewe Farka Toure, BCUC just to name a few.

After spending a few years travelling around the world perfecting his craft and learning from incredible mentors, Hezron has created his own unique playing style and performs different genres of music not usually associated with the violin.

image of hezron chetty
Photography credit: Beatrice Petrini Asselta

Your music career has taken you all over the world, in which country is your favourite City or venue to perform at and why?
All the countries I have travelled to and performed in have been amazing. To single out a favorite city is very difficult because each represents its own colour, texture, smell and feel of the people that leaves me with great memories. For example, I jammed with punk rockers in Mumbai, with Flamenco musicians at Ronnie Scotts in London, played folk music outside the Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela in Spain where St James, one of Jesus Christs 12 Apostles is buried and played to a large audience in Mozambique as the rain and thunder came out of nowhere and poured onto my violin. I have many stories like this from around the world and that is why I cannot choose one as I love them all so much.

When you get up on stage and play, what does the whole experience mean to you and do you still get nervous before a big gig?
The whole experience for me has changed over the years. When I was in my late teens I would be a lot more shy and reserved with how I approached the performance, I was still in my baby phase as a musician then and was concentrating hard on making sense of all the notes I was playing on stage. I slowly started to develop my own sound in my 20’s and began experimenting with my stage performance and pushing the boundaries of what I could do and how I could stand out more. Now that I am in my 30’s, I’m more confident with my ability to pull out tricks on stage and understand how to control them. I always get nervous before I play and I think any musician who says he or she doesn’t get some sort of nerves before they get up on stage is either lying or is not playing real music.

You make playing the violin look effortless man. When did you first pick up this instrument and did you feel that this was the one for you or were there other options?
I didn’t have a very good feeling when I first played the violin! It is the violin after all, which is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments when you master it but the absolute worst when you start learning it. There are things I can remember like the first smell of the wood as I opened the case, the feeling of lifting this perfectly shaped instrument, the first sound that it made and the feeling of coating the bow with rosin. I was 8 years old back then and did not realize at that moment what an impact this glorious instrument would have on my life and how it would stick by me through the good times and the bad. I have dedicated my life so far to this instrument and I am constantly learning from it. There were no other options. All I ever wanted to do was understand the instrument and learn from it.

What do you think the Cape Town music scene needs most at the moment to flourish?
More venues definitely. Also better promotion from venues to get their audience from their database coming to shows and not solely relying on the artist. Lastly, more trust in other genres that push boundaries. Currently a lot of bands sound the same like either a bad Arctic Monkeys rip off or a some lame pastiche attempt at German electro/pop.

image of hezron chetty

What are you up to at the moment musically, do you have any plans for new releases and music videos in 2019?
My band Jungle Book Birds will be releasing our debut album in March 2019 along with music videos. We spent last year restructuring the name change from Hezron Chetty and The ZugZwang and working on our business model as well as our release strategy. The album is a masterpiece and I hope people enjoy the complexity, textures and beauty of the album.

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Featured Music Reviews

January Recap: Top Southern African House Music Releases That Set Dance Floors Alight

While January is known to be a go-slow month for many, there is no rest for those in pursuit of their dreams. Local artists, producers and labels pick up where they left off and the new year has started on a high with a handful of quality house music releases. Here’s a rundown of my favourite releases for the month of January.

Thorne Miller & Chris Sen feat. MsKelle – Wet Cinnamon
Label: Just Move Records

image of wet cinnamon by thorne miller & chris sen feat mskelle
Image credit: Bandcamp

 

Produced by Tshwane-based Thorne Miller and Chris Sen with silky smooth vocals by MsKelle, Wet Cinnamon is a seductive deep house joint perfect for those rainy weekends indoors or those early morning rooftop sets. Case in point, Shervaan Bergsteedt dropped this beauty at Deep Town Jozi leaving the crowd mesmerised. Wet Cinnamon is featured on Traxsource’s Lounge Essentials for the week of the 28th January. Upon compiling this editorial Wet Cinnamon was charted at No. 2 on Traxsource’s Lounge Top 100. A great start to the year by Just Move Records who have hinted at two Various Artist compilations celebrating 7 years of Just Move Records due to drop in the first half of 2019.

Sculptured Music – Sad To Think
Label: Sculptured Music

image of sad to think by sculptured music artwork
Image credit: Facebook

Easily of the biggest local deep house joints of 2019 thus far, this banger has been on heavy rotation by every notable underground house music DJ setting dance floors alight at every house music event since the year began. Quite reminiscent of how Pierre Johnson’s Movin On owned every deep house dance floor at the beginning of 2018. Sad To Think is a thumping banger driven by its hard hitting groovy bass and hypnotic vocal sample of Gladys Knight’s Neither One Of Us. Considering the success of the East Blues EP he released last year November, which featured another hot jam titled Sing My Blues, It is needless to say that Sculptured Music is one of Mzansi’s gems that will possibly shine bright through 2019.

Parcel feat. Temantungwa – Ngiyatifela Ngawe
Label: Antidote Music

image of the parcel ep by the parce
Image credit: Facebook

 

Taken off Parcel’s debut release titled The Parcel EP, Ngiyatifela Ngawe is a proclamation of love embodied in heartfelt siSwati lyrics layered over an infectious soul-infused afro house beat. Featuring singer Temantungwa, Ngiyatifela Ngawe  was featured on the Traxsource Afro House Essentials during its first week of release and went on to enter the Traxsource Afro House Top 100 charts, climaxing at number 25. The Parcel EP consists of four amazing tracks meticulously produced and mixed to showcase the growth and quality of house music in the Kingdom of Eswatini.

Title: Ed-Ward – Illusionist
Label: Stay True Sounds

image of ed-ward evolution ep artwork
Image credit: Facebook

 

There’s just something about Ed-ward’s sound that gets my waist swaying, feet tapping and head bobbing. Illusionist is the pick above the rest from this EP – Evolution isn’t far off as well. Ed-Ward has a unique approach to music in which he blends afro house with deep house nuances. I’m expecting major moves and quality releases from Stay true Sounds this year and this release was the ideal signal of intent. Looking forward to hearing more of Ed-Ward as well this year!

Title: SURAJ – Wawere (Da Capo’s Touch)
Label: Gondwana

image of suraj - wawere (da capo's touch) art work
Image source: Traxsource

 

SURAJ and Olith Ratego’s Wawere get another touch of remixes. There couldn’t have been a more fitting candidate than the master-class that is Da Capo. Though Da Capo’s Journey Mix seems to be the fan favourite, Da Capo’s Touch is golden. Upon compiling this editorial, it was comfortably positioned well within the Traxsource Afro House Top 100, charted at number 14. It’s an energetic get-up and move kind of track with spellbinding vocals that linger in between the banging beat.