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Featured Interviews Music

Introducing Oxygen: eSwatini’s Latest Hip Hop Sensation

Born Madoda Nsibandze, Oxygen is eSwatini’s latest hip hop sensation who has taken the industry by storm. Nationally known as “The Sensational Oxygen”, the rising star has won over the hearts of many with his charismatic, abstract and show-stopping performances. With the moniker adopted from his high school days, Oxygen aims at giving life through his music and art.

“My music is inspired by the emotional side of daily life on an abstract basis” he explains the inspiration behind the music. “To think and feel outside of the box but still be able to relate to what some may feel about a situation and all its factors” he elaborates. Oxygen’s music is timeless in its lyricism and musicality. With a mixed balance of calming progressions,  soothing harmonies yet energetic articulation, Oxygen gives listeners across all age groups something to jam to with the ability to modernize an old school sound. Proving his diversity with every record he releases; the world class performer fits perfectly into any genre or sound he tackles yet still maintaining his authenticity.

oxygen
Image credit: Instagram

Briefly tell us who is Oxygen?
Oxygen is a hip-hop performing artist who believes in and promotes positive living through his music. He considers the stage his home and transforms when he jumps on it, thus the title “The Sensational”.

What or who made you fall in love with music?
Oxygen was born into a musical family where his father and mother were choir conductors in the award-winning Melodious Voices Chorale, which has now been dissolved. Music has always been a part of Oxygen that one may say he is music.

Take us through your song making/writing process?
Oxygen’s song writing process starts with coming up with a melody according to the feeling within him that he is trying to instil in the listener. Meditating on it, he then blends vocals according to the story or concept of the song then the lyrics flow. Magical experience.

In 2019 you were involved in the first MTN Spotlight competition, take us through that journey ?
The journey through the MTN Spotlight competition was an emotional one but very educational. Emotional because you just never knew what was going to happen or who was going to get voted out after giving each round your best efforts. Very educational because it taught ‘The Sensational’ not to crack under the pressures of the competition, especially because he had to write memorise and perform his original songs each week. All round amazing experience.

What effect did the competition have on your career?
The competition definitely jumpstarted Oxygen’s career because of the quality of the stage performances. Many people followed the competition because they would support their favourite competitors and stumbled upon ‘The Sensational’ and many other amazing talents. The MTN Spotlight competition made the top 3 finalists shine on the night of the finale and that set us all on the way to becoming who we needed to be.

You most recent release is a song entitled “Phree” featuring Zoe Genesis, briefly tell us about that song?
The single ‘Phree’, made with The African Rockstar Zoë Genesis, is an amazing jam to be featured on because of who Oxygen is featured with. The working environment was great with energies in synchrony from the beginning

How did this collaboration come about?
She approached Oxygen with a concept of a love inspired song for summer and he immediately loved the potential of it. It was also a way of showing what else Oxygen had in store other than just rapping. Beautiful experience.

2019 was an amazing year for you, what was your highlight?
2019 was a Sensational year for Oxygen and the highlight for him came courtesy of the 2019 MTN SWAMA Awards ceremony. Oxygen was set to perform and when he entered the stage, he got a standing ovation without having said anything. This indeed was the best moment for ‘The Sensational’ in 2019.

Can we expect a full body of work from you this year?
Most definitely. Oxygen has a new single out titled ‘Come Closer’ which dropped on the 2nd of February 2019 and is available on all major online music stores such as iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and more.

Locally and internationally what is your dream collabo?
Locally, Oxygen’s dream collaboration is with Nomalungelo Dladla. She is a beautiful singer and performer. However, KrTc of Hip Hop is not far down the list. Internationally, Drake would best suit the sound and style of Oxygen for a feature.

What are some of the difficulties that you have faced as an artist and how have you overcome them?
One difficulty was having to quickly learn how to deal with the pressure of the expectations of Oxygen. Another was proving to family why music was the correct decision for Oxygen. However, dealing with the pressure contributed to the quality of the music and the fire behind each performance.

What is some of the best advice you have received from anyone in the music scene or beyond?
The best advice came in the form of a statement by KrTc of Hip Hop saying “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. To better the situation you are in, you must change either your approach or what do entirely for what you want to change to start changing. Best advice ever.

Where can potential ‘fans-to-be’ get access to your music?
Anyone and everyone can access my music on all online music stores.

Stream the ‘I Am Here’ EP.

Stream ‘Come Closer’ below.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Introducing Rafeeqah: Cape Town’s Deep House Super Fan Gracing Dance floors With Flair & Passion

South Africa continues to be the capital of house music globally; the passion and love for deep house does not simply exist with DJs and producers but lives and breeds within its fans on the dance floors. Cape Town based Rafeeqah Ely is an epitome of this passion as she continuously graces deep house dance floors in the Mother City and Johannesburg with her crew of friends (The “Jol Patrol”), who are equally as passionate about house music as she is.

We had a sit down with her to tell us more about herself, how she fell in love with deep house music and how she became such a consistent figure in Cape Town’s dance floors and beyond.

Before we talk about your life as deep house super fan, we’d like to first get to know Rafeeqah a bit more. Besides being a serious groover, what else does Rafeeqah do?
Well, when I’m not at the “groove”, I’m busy making money so that I can go to the groove and compensate for my groove time [laughs]. Currently my job description is that I work at Amazon where I do quality assurance, but I’m also still studying as well. I graduated with a BA degree in 2017 and now I’m trying to pursue my Honours degree in Psychology. I majored in different things but then I chose Psychology because that’s where my heart is.

Do you see a connection between these two passions of yours, Psychology and being a deep house groover?
Yeah, I think there is. Getting to know all these people at the groove is very fascinating to me because you meet so many different people there, it’s insane! I consider it therapy honestly. Just to let loose and exchange energies with different types of people. I feel like I find my solace there.

When did you get into deep house music and how did you fall in love with it?
I am madly, deeply and unconditionally in love with deep house [laughs]. 2lani the Warrior was asking me about this at the We House Festival some time back and I told him that I’ve only been in the scene for 2 years and I’ve been unequivocally invested in house music. I then actually thought about this question after and I realized I gave him the wrong answer because unconsciously I’ve always been drawn to this kind of music.

Before WHS I listened to house, but I just didn’t categorise it as I listened to music generally. I was someone that was always open to music, so I didn’t pay close attention to the specific genres, it was just music. Now though it has become more than that. Commercial music has become alien to me now since I’ve been sucked into this deep house craze [laughs].

image of rafeeqah deep house fan
Image credit: Rafeeqah Super Fan Culture

It is quite amazing how consistent you have been in supporting deep house music, particularly events such as “We House Sundays”. Why did you choose to support this event so consistently and tirelessly?
I had this friend at school who is the one who introduced me to We House Sundays. He told me that he wants to take me to this place because he thought I would enjoy it and then after my first experience I said to him “I think we should do this every month” so that we can hangout and experience this more. Then the more I went, the more I was amazed, and I understood why people enjoyed it. It’s deeper than just being music. That was about 2 and half years ago and ever since then I’ve been going.

It felt like the actual space was like family, like a community. When I’m there I always look at when people enter, they are literally dancing already before they even reach the dance floor, and you are already smiling at the people who are coming in. It’s crazy because you kind of know who is going to be there and we all connect on the dance floor. Something that started off as us just wanting to hang out with my friend at least once a month has become something that I’m more invested in now. We have become very invested in this thing, particularly in following the WHS crew and even going to Johannesburg for events such as ‘Deep Town Jozi’. If you told me 2 years ago that I would catch a flight to another city for a groove I would have laughed at you. It wasn’t even a consideration for me to leave the city for no reason but now I want to keep going because we’ve met so many people because of it.

It seems in your years as a deep house fanatic you have formed a crew of friends who love the music just like you, particularly at WHS. Tell us more about these friendships you’ve formed on the dance floor.
You know what’s crazy is that whenever we go to groove, the last thing we speak about is our personal lives so talking about that is kind of crazy for me [laughs]. We kind of want to leave that at the door because we are at the groove to come and let loose. But considering how close we have become we have been trying to get to know each other at a more personal level, because we realise that its more than just us being at the groove, we actually enjoy spending time with each other.

Even though we have one thing in common (the love of house music), we are all there for different reasons and though we try to escape our daily lives we can’t really escape them completely because they shape who we are as individuals and as a crew. What’s also crazy is that most of the people that stay in my area I met at WHS, I never met them where I live when going to the store or anything.

In a scene that is quite heavily male dominated, even with the supporters of Deep house music, how has your experience been as a woman who attends so many events?
I feel like being often the only female in the crew allows me to play a very specific role. I feel like I am more like the mother of the group because these guys need a lot of support. We come from different walks of life and because of the way we support each other we have become a very close unit. I’m a really shy person, believe it or not, and I feel so comfortable with these guys that I’m literally motivated to be myself with them and I don’t have to be that person that’s chilling and watching everyone dance. It’s because of them giving me the platform to be myself and comfortable, so I just go crazy.

With me being the only female in our crew people always say to me “why are you the only female with all these guys, don’t you have issues with them hitting on you all the time”, and I always say no, that’s not what it’s about. We’ve dubbed ourselves as being family because that’s the last thing on our minds; it’s so much more than that. The guys and I just feed off of each other’s energy.

Have you in the last 2 years of being a super fan become more into getting to know the artists/DJs and following their music outside of the events you attend?
Yes, I have. I think that once I have experienced an artist I then go on and follow them. We experience a lot of music on the dance floor and for some reason I want to dig deeper and try experience what other kinds of house music are out there. I’m quite an avid fan of Avi Subban and I’ve always enjoyed his productions. Also !Sooks, who’s music I’ve always enjoyed even before I experienced him play; as well as Pierre Johnson, who I know through a few mutual friends. So yes, in the past 2 years my knowledge of deep house music has really grown. If you look at my playlists now, its just deep house [laughs].

Have you seen yourself being more recognised now by people as a deep house super fan, even outside of the dance floor?
Definitely. The ‘Front Rowers‘ that’s what they call us [laughs]. Even at work I get people come up to me and say “you are that girl that I always see on the photos” and I always say “hey lets not speak about this here, I am not this person” [laughs]. But yes, when people see me and the crew they now recognise that we are the people that bring the vibe and our faces are now attached to the brand that is deep house. And the fact that people are appreciating our presence makes me want to invest in it even more.

Do you believe that the fans of deep house music like yourself are important and play a big role in the deep house scene?
I think that we are very important as dancers. A friend of mine even said to me that I enjoy the music so much that everyone thinks I will get to a point where I say I would also like to DJ [laughs]. But for me, I would like to remain a dancer because one of these days if everyone is going to be on the line up and who’s going to dance and bring the vibe? I feel like we contribute quite a lot especially in terms of welcoming everyone there and making sure that people feel welcome. So yes, I believe we are as important as the artists because we show appreciation by showing up, being present and actually enjoying the vibe.

image of rafeeqah deep house fan
Image credit: Rafeeqah Super Fan Culture

Finally, would you ever consider formalising the important role you play in the scene and what ventures would you go into?
[Laughs] I don’t know how I would. It would be nice to do this as a job because it’s quite an expensive thing [laughs] but unfortunately, I can’t. I don’t think I would want to consider it as a job because I’m scared it would lose its substance and currently, we are doing it for the love. We want to support these events as much as we can so that they can keep pushing the movement. It would be nice to get paid for it because of how expensive it gets, but ultimately, we know what we are there for. It’s not about the money or anything but about what we take home from the groove. The whole experience, and you can’t buy experience. So, for now I’m just doing it strictly for the love.

 

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Culture Featured Interviews Videos

Meet Karabo Moeti: Maseru-born Videographer & Cinematographer Hoisting Lesotho’s Flag High

Karabo Joseph Moeti is an aspiring young videographer and cinematographer born in Maseru, Lesotho. The  3rd year business administration student is determined to make his mark in this industry and highlighting creative treasure that exist in the nation of Lesotho. His latest video, Phases Of The Moon, is a three-minute montage with the focal point being overcoming. “We all go through issues in life and this piece is a reminder of how mentally strong we have to learn to be in order to overcome“ he explains  about the video. “It is also important for us to acknowledge our sadness when it occurs. Your sadness leads to creativity “, he elaborates. I had a chat with Karabo to find out more about his journey.

What motivated you to start a YouTube channel?
I started my YouTube channel because I watch a lot of youtube videos in my spare time and one day I made a realisation that if I put my mind into it I could really turn it into a passion and hopefully inspire others in the process.

What or who inspires you as a person?
There are many people and things that inspire me as a person and as a creator. My parents for one. I look up to them because they’ve done everything in their power to afford me the opportunities I have today. I have other Youtubers I look up to such as Casey Neistat, Peter McKinnon, KSI and many others. I also get a lot of my inspiration from architecture and nature. But most importantly my friend Retshepile who got me into video making and video editing.

image of karabo moeti
Image credit: Titos Gram.

Your subject matters differ in every video, briefly share why you took that route?
I’m still in the process of discovering myself as a creator. At the moment I feel like I can do a lot of things, but I’m yet to find that niche I’m looking for that will not only grow my channel but grow me as a person and creator.

What equipment are you currently using?
At the moment my only equipment I have is my camera (Canon 800D), A microphone and a mini tripod.

What are some of the goals or vision for your channel?
I want my channel to grow to be as big as it can possibly get. I’m really passionate about making videos and I only would do this for as long as it takes. I do not always have platforms to express myself creatively and to me making videos is a form of expression.

How has the journey been? What are some of the challenges you have encountered and how have you been able to overcome them?
The journey has been extremely difficult I’m not going to lie. It took me about a year just to get 100 subscribers, but obviously this may differ depending on the kind of content you’re creating. For me it has been extremely challenging. I have school and I do not always have the motivation to put myself out there. Coming from a smaller country such as Lesotho or eSwatini will also have its own challenges. It is not easy to gain access to the global market and really find your niche or rather your target market. It is also not easy to find a large audience that can commit to the content I’m creating. At the moment I cannot say I have overcome these challenges but I’m hoping that as long as I keep creating hopefully doors will eventually open. Even if it takes years. This is something I love doing and I will keep doing it.

What can we expect from the channel in the near future?
Growth. The channel keeps growing and I keep growing as a content creator. As long as I have breath in my lungs I’ll keep on creating. Do not expect the same kind of content though. I’m constantly changing and that will inevitably be translated in the content I create.

Follow Karabo Moeti on Instagram here. Feature image credit goes to Abuti Tony.

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

A Conversation With Nkazimulo Mabaso: Formalizing The South African Music Industry From The Ground Up

A few weeks ago I attended the Monthly YouTube Meet-Up at the Old Mutual AMPD Studios in Newtown where respected and accomplished South African YouTuber, Sibu Mpanza, the Head of Digital of Digify, Qhakaza Mthembu and UK-based music industry professional T-Roy. The session was very insightful as the panelist shared a lot of great insight about the YouTube platform. I met a really great music industry professional who goes by the name of Nkazimulo Mabaso who has over 20 years experience in the South African music industry. We connected and set up a meeting so we could have a chat about his beginnings, what he does, his work and his role in the South African creative and arts industry.

The interview was condensed for easy readability purposes. Read it below.

image of nkazimulo mabaso
Image supplied.

Nkululeko: I have to thank you for availing yourself for this interview. I really appreciate it. So yeah, uhm, I think the main question is to find out more about you and what you do?
Nkazimulo: The name is Nkazimuloyasezulwini and I run a movement called ‘The Street Government‘, and I call myself the Street Governer. So, on my side, I have a foundation called Inkazimulo Yasezulwini Foundation and its main focus is art in its entirety. Through the foundation, we also mentor artists as well about how the music industry works, the business side of music and how to build careers in the music industry. Many artists lack industry knowledge and all they care about is fame but when it comes to money they are suffering. So, my mission is to curb that by balancing everything in their careers especially in the fourth industrial revolution. Artists should be more empowered than ever before and they don’t need record labels but what they do need is great management.

So your focus is more on the structure and framework side of the music industry. You believe that management is a key component that artists should focus on especially in the times we’re in. 
In terms of management, I will say that you get studio time where you record your music and that is where it is important to master the follow up steps. Because I will say that you have different types of managers; stage, road/tour, marketing, PR and distribution manager, and it depends on what exactly you need at the particular stage in an artist’s career. I don’t believe in doing things the traditional way because sometimes that can translate into no returns and that is why I push to always find new ways of doing things especially when it comes to management. I have been in the industry for so long and I have identified where there are gaps, opportunities and means of growth.

You work in different spheres of the music industry and one of them is the events space and you mentioned that you are planning to launch an event series targeted at universities in South Africa where you give unsigned artists a platform to tap into the varsity market. Can you tell us a bit about your process when it comes to organizing such events? Who do you approach and what happens in the back-end?
So when it comes to events at universities, I started in 2009 and I have built a solid track record and reputation in certain spaces. Most students stay in student residences and when I am about to pitch an event like that, I have to go to student housing and I speak with administration team and I say that I have this plan that I want to pitch and who can I speak to. I explain the value that the event will bring to the student community with a detailed. Most of the time I am often referred to speak to the resident advisor who is the one who is in charge of the different residences. I approach the SRC differently because they have their own office, so I check who is in charge of the SRC, be it EEFSC, SASCO or DASO etc. It really depends on what you want. For me, I want my artists to reach students and how do you reach students, by approaching the relevant bodies in the spaces that students exist in.

mage of nkazimulo mabaso
Image supplied.

That’s great and insightful. You mentioned that when you approach varsities, it is often because you want your artist to access the student market. When it comes to management, what is the process before you manage an artist? Because I have come across a lot of artists that say to me that they found managers but the relationships are not working or they are not seeing results. What are your tips on find a good manager? 
My advice to artists is always this: before you even approach or look for a manager, understand your music and have a vision. Know what you want to achieve. When you give your demo to a potential manager telling the manager to listen to your stuff, it must be pretty good and you must be unique. It’s easy to get management because us as managers we like money, so we see that is guy is dope and talented, I have to look at how we can make money. With me, it is slightly different because I don’t work with just any artist especially when it comes to hip hop artists because they often follow trends that are not authentically South African. I am working on a rhythm or beat when it comes to artist management, I haven’t perfected it but once you hear it, you will immediately notice it and you’ll be like that’s it. I look for uniqueness and authenticity. Artists should always push to do things that are unique and we have a lot of those artists in our country such as Big Zulu who does inkabi rap, Sho Madjozi and more.

So with that being said; if you do find an artist that is unique, from a business perspective what is your process to package all of that to take to the market and make money. How do you package that uniqueness to sell it to the whatever market you have identified? 
To answer this, I will go back to one of the answers I gave you for one of the previous questions. The reason artists make music is because they want to sell and make money, so where I fit in is that I am good with marketing and how to connect with fans. Let me give you an example of a guy I met back in 2010 who was making Maskandi music. This guy was a Maskandi artist and I knew that people that are most likely going to connect with his music are mostly Zulu and reside in hostels and that was his target market. So this meant that I had to take that music to those people because if I were to take his music to Universal Music to distribute the music, they won’t take it there and they will take it to the music stores.  I went to the elders of that particular hostel and asked if I can get this guy to perform there and they gave me their blessing. We didn’t even print posters or any other marketing material. I just told the guy to make as many copies of his music as possibles and he made 75 copies. He performed at the hostel and after the last song, we sold all the copies and each copy went for R75. We made R7500 within 30 minutes.

Wow. That’s super impressive. And that is the one thing that I have noticed from hip hop and dance music artists in our country, is that they struggle with finding their audience and monetizing it. 
You know what the problem is? We watch too much TV [laughs]. Because if you want to be successful, switch the TV off, switch off your internet and think of your career. If you feel like you cannot make it without social media, know that you are not good. There are certain artists right now that are in a position where if the internet where to shut down, they would have no means of connecting with their fans and they’d fade away because they are heavily reliant on these platforms.

Are you saying that in the context of South Africa, it is more effective to sell product from a grassroots level, approaching people in real life rather than sending them links to your music online?
What happens if I don’t have data to access your music if it is just online. We have to think of and face the reality, data in South Africa is not cheap. The other thing artists overlook is where they come from. For example, you can get an artist from Katlehong and they make a certain style of music and they would rather go to Jozi to try and push their music forgetting where they come from. Why forget home? There’s treasure there. If I start at home, I won’t be spending much on transport, spending much on trying to find those fans or even finding venues. You can even take your music to taxi drivers as well. The taxi industry is a channel a lot of artists are ignoring. When I still stayed in Durban, I approached taxi drivers to play the music from some of artists and the response was amazing. Music discovery often happens in taxis and we cannot ignore that.

That’s powerful. I never really thought of taxis being a music discovery platform/medium. What is your view on the internet and its power in the times we live in? How can we use it to make all that we do better and the progressive in the context of South Africa and Africa? 
The one thing I know is that most South Africans have WhatsApp and you know how powerful that thing is. With that platform, you have an opportunity to sell what you do using features like stories. Let’s say you are in studio, you record a snippet of the session and share it on your stories, and with those 30 seconds in a story you can connect with people. You arouse interest in your contact list. Some people have close to 100 people on their WhatsApp and when they view their statuses and that is content consumption. That is already an audience you can sell to. Imagine selling 100 copies for R100 to those people and the amazing part is that these people are close to you which makes it easier. You can use WhatsApp to create the hype and as a sales channel. Give yourself three months before you release a song. Prepare and market properly to build hype using accessible channels like WhatsApp. You can also get constructive feedback from the people on your WhatsApp and the feedback that you get will help you grow as an artist. You must build interest. With social media, you can build your leveraging by sharing meaningful and great content which and these days major labels find talent online and if you position yourself well online, they can sign you. And because you have your own audience and content, you have leverage and you can negotiate your own terms provided you are given a contract for a deal.

image of nkazimulo mabaso
Image supplied.

You would advise artists to do the grassroots push and ground work to build the audience so that by the time they get to a record label they have leverage.
Yes, definitely.

Can you please tell us about the situation centered around the Copyright Amendment Bill that is currently sitting before our president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and why it is important for us a the creative/arts community rally against this new Bill they are trying to introduce?
The current law we have pertaining copyright in South Africa was last updated in 1978, if I am not mistaken. So, right now you see how the world has changed and see how everything has progressed. This law needs to be updated to fit the world that we live in so that it accommodates everyone and is fair. So around 2015 or 2016, some key people in the creative/arts community came together to write down their grievances, requests and suggestions on what needs to be changed on the Copyright Amendment Bill and they were submitted to the Department of Arts & Culture. But to their surprise, although there were some changes, there were many things that were left out. So it still became the similar as the old one which means it wasn’t really upgraded to fit the current landscape. When this new bill is passed, it will mean that anyone can use your music, your paintings, writings, photographs and more for free without having to pay. Right now you have to paid for the use of your intellectual property and you can sue if your rights are infringed upon. That right will no longer exist if this bill is passed. In the early 2000s South African music industry earned about R3 billion in revenue, right now it is on 600 million and if this bill is passed those numbers will be R0. No one will be making money except the big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify, Apple and more. Creatives not earn anything for their work and that is bad.

As a creative community,  we really need to take this Copyright Amendment Bill situation seriously. So where can we go to contribute to existing rallies or movements that are fighting this thing? 
On the 28th of August, we had a march which was organized by MASA (Musicians Association of South Africa) with the support of organizations like SAMRO, CAPASSO, SAMPRA and more. We submitted a memorandum and we are waiting for the president to respond on follow-up steps and if the feedback is negative, we still have to continue fighting. If you are interested in fighting this, you can visit the SAMRO building in Braamfontein and go to the MASA offices on the 9th floor. They will be able to assist.

Thank you so much for your time. I hope people find value in your insights. 
Thanks. Until next time.

 

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Featured Interviews Music

Get To Know Mavhuthu “Dadaman” Dzege: Soweto’s Dance Floor Fanatic Merging Running & Deep House Music To Make A Difference

It is almost impossible to think about deep house fans and dance floor loyalists in Johannesburg without the face of a crazy, heavily bearded, topless guy named Dadaman immediately coming to mind. Soweto native Mavhuthu “Dadaman” Dzege is undoubtedly among the leading commanders of dance floors all over Johannesburg’s deep house underground scene. Not only has he become a prominent face on the dancefloor, with his crazy antics and chants, he has channelled his love for music and long distance running towards giving to the less fortunate in his community. We had a chat with him to get to know more about him and what fuels his love for underground music, running and his various charity initiatives.

Firstly, we would like to know about you as a person and where you are from. Who is Mavhuthu Dzege?
Mavhuthu is a creative, runner, crazy guy and an all-round fanatic who sticks to the things that make him happy. He hails from Meadowlands, Soweto, and loves his music and the way it makes him lose his mind.

You are known by many as the “crazy” guy with the beard that is in every deep house party with his “skippa” (T-Shirt) off. Tell us about your love for deep house music and when it began?
I can’t really say when it started but it is ages ago. I grew up with dance music and it has been part of my life. I love deep house, its various elements and sounds that hit the right spots and see me lose my mind. I had the privilege of working at Carfax (a nightclub in Newtown Johannesburg) back in the early 2000s where I got to hear various styles of house, different genres and be in a space of “freedom” – this was when clubbing was all about the party and not fancy drinks or dress codes.

What does Mavhuthu do for a living besides being a deep house super fan?
I am a copywriter and I also do a little bit of charity work.

You have become the face of deep house fans and an influential person in underground music culture, particularly in building support for major deep house events, the most notable being Deep Town Jozi. Please share with us why you chose to support these events so consistently and tirelessly?
To be honest, I love the vibe and the people and more importantly the musical variation. Plus, finding an event to support is what is needed in order to share the vibe with new people. A major reason is the fact that deep house is frowned upon by many club, pub or venue managers in Soweto – so travelling out of ikasi (the township) to find new gigs that cater for my musical taste was key. It’s always important to support something that resonates with you as opposed to “conforming and following the norm”. Plus, many people tend to frequent the same events with the same line up and the same people and that gets tiring. I am a creature of inspiration and energy, so once something becomes a habit – I get bored and that is what is happening in my hood – same line ups, same – same!

Please explain about the significance of the culture of lifting props on the dancefloor; from the “caution sign” to the chairs and tables, as well as the infamous “kettle” seen in parties such as “We House Sundays”?
I think it’s when the music grabs you by the kahunas and you lose your mind or yourself in the music and “normal” no longer resonates with the brain. The music creates chaos within your system and chaos has to be expressed. It’s also the little deep house demon in me screaming to be freed even more – maybe one day I will drop my pants and shout “Yooooooh”!

image of dadaman
Image credit: Facebook

In 2018 we saw a controversial battle occurring between deep house and amapiano fans, after yourself and other deep house revellers were criticized for chanting “F*** Piano” whilst dancing to deep house music. Please speak on the culture of chanting in South African dancefloors and in what spirit this particular chant was meant?
Chanting has always been a part of the dance scene, it’s revellers expressing themselves through “song” or a “phrase” that they relate to. From the 90s chanting has been a big part of SA music culture – if you remember ‘a re robale rona’, ‘Mama yoh’, you will know what I am talking about. Once a new chant is shared, everyone joins in. The f*** piano chant was all banter. It was all meant in the good spirit of dance floor banter and did not seek to foster any malice. In my personal opinion, amapiano all sounded monotonous, so I was like, why would people listen to such when the “dzwurrrr, the “Dzwang”, or the bo-boop” elements of deep house drive you insane? People unfortunately took it very personally and I had to apologise and stop the chant.

Beyond being a serious reveller, you are also known for your love for running. How did this become a passion of yours and why?
I have always been an athletic lad. I used to jog, did 5, 10 km here and there and then – boom – the running addiction got me. I moved from running 10 km to 42 km races because the race I wanted to run had no more 21km entries left, so the hlanya (crazy person) in me said, what was 4 x 10kms in one? [laughs]. Another thing that motivated my running was when I tore my right knee meniscus for the second time, and the doctor said I need to avoid contact sports and strengthen supporting muscles around the knee, so that got me into running more.

Is there a connection between these two passions of yours, deep house and running?
A massive connection! Basically when you run, you move to a beat – you do not need to be listening to music when that happens. The beat is created via your strides, shuffles and breaths you take. So the rhythm grabs you and takes you on a journey that sees you cross the finish line – it’s like a well curated deep house or musical set!

image of dadaman
Image credit: Facebook

You have taken your love for deep house beyond the dance floor, where you have used the music to do many charity-based initiatives such as “The Dadaman Charity Run” and other charity-based events.  What drove you to start such initiatives?
I just hated seeing dire situations where people are let down by their communities, churches and those around them. So I said to myself, let’s do something that’ll positively impact the masses without getting people to leave their ‘comfort zones’.

There are people who walk up to you, give a sad story about why they need cash, you sympathise with them and share the love. Then the next week or later on, the same person gives you the same story again – that’s when you realise you’ve been swindled. So you say no, but deep down you feel bad or a tad bit uncomfortable because the heart strings were pulled!

But there are genuine cases that are a cry for help. So I thought, why don’t we give while we continue doing what we do best which is partying. I mean, we pay an entrance fee nonetheless, so why don’t we continue with that but this time, the proceeds go towards the course that needs attention at that moment. This takes away the uncomfortable situation – I then share the outcome with the masses, so they know they’ve made a difference.

On a much lighter note, will you ever cut off your signature beard that you have now become known for by deep house fans all over?
I would cut it! But it would have to be for a very good course! Plus, unlike most lads out there, I do not struggle to grow a beard – it comes back fast like tequila [laughs]. But on the real, I would but there’ll have to be a legit reason!

What would you say to other fans of deep house music about the importance of constantly supporting DJs and events in building the underground music scene in the country?
People must be different, find their own vibe and passion. They need to continue to support the underground because the people who form it, or the Disc Jockeys (DJs) didn’t conform or give in to what is “trending”. This simply means that they will not jump ship when things are tough, nor will they seek to fit in. One day the people of the underground will come to your aid, when you least expect it! The Faders will leave you hanging when things are bad. The underground always has something different to offer and you may find your inspiration there when you are down and you will fly after that!

Would you ever consider formalizing the important role you play in the scene by becoming an events promoter or artist/music manager one day?
Yeah! I think that is something I will have to venture in on a full-time basis. It is a legitimate job that requires your full attention. Plus, as a creative, I feel that there is a lot that people are missing out on and they have to experience it.

 

image of dadaman
Image credit: Facebook

What can we expect from Dadaman in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
I am currently doing a lot – such as a charity event for a mate who was shot and his wife killed in a house invasion. I am going to run the Cape Town Marathon for the kids at Thabong Creche in Cape Town, and party, run and cycle to collate food parcel for families so they can have a super festive season. I also have a school uniform drive running at the moment as well. Overall, expect more fun times that will see us make a difference in the lives of many. And yes, my skippa (T-Shirt) will be off!! [laughs].

Follow Dadaman on social media and catch him at a deep house jol or marathon near you.

 

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Inspire The Mic: A Conversation With Adelle Nqeto

Inspire The Mic is all about local music industry creatives trailblazing a name for themselves with their team overseas: while always remembering home. The first artist we focus on and speak to Pretoria native, Adelle Nqeto, to get more insight into her life and art.

She has been performing live in the music scene since 2012 at festivals and venues all over South Africa as co-founder of Flint, Meet Spark with bandmate Josh Pretorius. Performing mostly solo since 2015, the newly Berlin-based, South African born singer-songwriter has been wowing audiences during her travels. Her mix of self-aware lyrics mixed with catchy grooves has helped propel her to inspiring heights in 2019. Fresh from releasing her 2nd EP in May called “Home”, performances in Germany with trailblazers such as Beatenberg & Cape Town’s Frances Clare, a feature in Bahrain on 2Seas Session with James Robb to performing all over SA — Adelle is going places. I had a chat with this exceptionally talented storyteller to find out more about her.

image of Adelle Nqeto
Image credit: Sune van Tonder & Susan van Tonder

Adelle, your music has taken you all over the world, which is your favorite city to perform in and what made it special?
I like playing in smaller cities, because of the anonymity and also the surprise of seeing who shows up to shows, and their response to the music. So, Halle in Germany was a surprise. But when I was home in May, we played an amazing show in Soweto, and actually, every time I’ve played there I’ve only had the best experience.

Congratulations on your latest release in May called “Home”. What was the creative process like compared to your first EP?
Thank you! This was vastly different. We tracked the trio (drums, bass, guitar) live on “Home” and I definitely think I had a clearer vision for this EP, and a sound in mind when creating it. I’d also been playing the songs with my band already, so there was definitely confidence going in that I didn’t have with “Lights”. I think “Lights” was a great training ground and that process helped me clarify how I wanted to record “Home” differently.

If you could choose one festival or music venue to perform at it would be…
This is so hard. But playing an NPR Tiny Desk Concert would be pretty great and my drummer James would be stoked.

Which solo artists or bands inspire your soul currently?
Tough question. I’m listening to Thom Yorke’s “Anima” quite a bit, Nils Frahm, all the different projects which Shabakah Hutchings is involved in and The Japanese House.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I don’t know about EVER, but I know right now I’ve been reading some of Audre Lorde’s essays, and something she says has struck me quite strongly: “what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

When you were at school in Pretoria did you ever dream of being a musician or what did you think you would become? 
Yeah, I dreamed of being a musician since I was a child. I never thought it would be something I’d end up getting to do as a profession, I thought I’d end up being a lawyer, or a human rights activist or involved in social justice in some way.

The Berlin music scene looks like it’s on another level. What can we do better in South Africa to improve and get our scene to an international level?
I think diverse venues would help, but this is a long conversation that I think has a lot more to do with other social/economic factors. I also think that developing an appreciation for arts/culture from a young age is important.

image of Adelle Nqeto
Image credit: Sune van Tonder & Susan van Tonder

What does the rest of the year hold for you and do you have any goals you want to achieve in 2020?
I’m going to be going on tour in Italy in October and cannot wait to start writing and recording some more music. There’s a lot I’d like to achieve in 2020, I hope more touring is involved, as well as playing music with people I care about.

Follow Adelle Nqeto on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.

image of Adelle Nqeto

 

 

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

MTN SWAMA Award Winner Adrienne Foo Speaks About Music, Family & Career

Born Nomfundo Spies, Adrienne Foo is an award winning swati artist who graces many local and international stages. From her debut performance in Chicago to being recently featured as Trace Africa’s WCW with her video for ‘Treasure’ being on high rotation on the channel, the sultry songstress was always destined for stardom. “Adrienne Foo is a superstar. She’s a creative. She’s a musician.”

Outside of music, Foo is a lover and family girl who draws inspiration from all sorts of people — popular and unpopular. “There’s always something to learn and something to draw inspiration from but my biggest inspiration comes from the dreams I have for myself”, she shares about what inspires her music. With her latest hit song “Asambe” making rounds on radio, she proves her versatility in music with a song that has an Afro feel which is a sing-along love song. “My sound can really be anything I want it to be at that time. I can give you an Afro feel. I can give you new school R&B, I can drop a few bars and I can give you some soul and the list goes on” Adrienne describes her sound.

“Essentially, I’m training myself to be as versatile as I possibly can in order to create good music in any space you put me in. The dream I have for Adrienne Foo is legendary,” she elaborates. “Asambe is one of my most beautiful pieces of work. It was really an example of how I’m dipping my toes into whatever I’d like to and it turned out to be a beautiful love song” she shares about her latest song.

image of adrienne foo
Image credit: Facebook

With a mesmerising voice rooted in, Foo emphasises that her goal is to spread her music beyond eSwatini. “Eswatini has not been my only goal to be honest. I’m coming for the whole world,” sharing about her goals as an artist.

The music industry isn’t all fun and games as artists are faced with a truckload of challenges. Adrienne Foo believes that these challenges just show you that you are in the right direction. “Be yourself! That will set you apart. You do not need to try to be different. If you seek love, be yourself. Always do your best and believe in yourself with all your heart” sharing what she believes to be her recipe to success. Stay focused on the goal and keep your eye on the prize. Do not let other peoples’ success and blessings distract you from achieving your own or from what your dream is,” she elaborates. The Swazi Jive signee also believes that it is vital that you celebrate others in this industry regardless of your own struggles.

Having had a stunning career thus far, Adrienne Foo is yet to reach her pinnacle and shall forever be cherished by emaSwati for the beautiful music she makes. With promises of more music this year one should keep an eye on her social media platforms.

Listen to Asambe by Adrienne Foo.

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Meet Uglymann: A Deep House Super Fan Impacting Cape Town’s Dance Floor Culture

The documentation of underground dance music culture is often centered on artists, DJs or singers and the performance or making of their music. Very little focus is ever given to the “fans” or devoted revelers who support the music and play a big role in building and sustaining the culture and spirit of dance music and their stories are never told. South Africa has a number of these advent fans who have had a major influence on dance floors and dance floor culture in cities and township spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Kenneth “Uglymann” Matshini is undoubtedly one of these notable super fans of deep house music and has become the face of dance floor revelers in the most popular parties in Cape Town’s deep house scene. We had a chat with him about his life and love for deep house music and why he has become a consistent face and super fan for deep house music and events in Cape Town.

Please tell us about yourself and where you are from?
My parents are from the Eastern Cape [eNgcobo], I was born in Mossel Bay just four hours outside of Cape Town, but where my parents are from is where I’m from. It’s where I call home, it’s where I did everything as a kid and became the man that I am today.

What does Uglymann do for a living besides being a deep house super fan?
I work in maintenance in and around Century City, I am also a freelance writer whose resume includes contributions for We House Sundays, MyCitiByNight, DeepStreet and We Are Pulse.

You are known by many as the guy that is in every deep house party in Cape Town. Tell us about your love for deep house music and when it began?
I grew up in a city that isn’t really musical, and unlike other folks who would say they had at records at home from their uncle, I didn’t have none of that. I used to hear kwaito and house music outside a tavern, some days we would sit outside and when we sight a grown-up, we know we’d ask them to play a song for us. Now at the time you have to understand that we didn’t know any of the house artists, just kwaito artists because they were South African and always spoken about – but some of my early house music influences include anthems of the early 00s ‘Nick Holder – Summer Daze’, ‘Julien Jabre – War’, ‘Justin Martin – The Sad Piano (Charles Webster Remix)’ among others. I didn’t know the titles at the time of course, it wasn’t after the transition after high school that I really found myself that I realized that this is what I grew up with and loved.

You have become the face of deep house fans and an influential person in underground music culture, particularly in building support for major deep house events such as “We House Sundays”. Please share with us why you chose to support this event so consistently and tirelessly?
[Smiles] I would talk all day about We House Sundays, but I’ll try and keep it as brief as I can if at all. We House Sundays has changed my life; I mean as people we are naturally connected to the music it just depends which genre your soul desires. When I first went to We House Sundays I just went there to experience what I had never experienced before, I didn’t for any moment think I’d find something as great, find people who I’d call family and travel to other provinces for music. You find events that are just events but finding something that is a community, a family, like-minded people who inspire growth towards others, people who are legitimately there for the music was to me overwhelming. Also, We House Sundays gathers constant support from me because they always push boundaries, always looking to grow, not just grow but grow with the people associated with the brand itself. October and December will be further proof of that when all is announced, there is a lot on the pipeline that will have people dropping their jaws.

It seems in your years as a deep house fanatic you have formed a crew of friends who love the music just like you, particularly at “We House Sundays”. Tell us more about your fellow friends in deep house and the relationships you’ve formed through music.
It’s not a secret that the best relationships are those formed on the dance floor, well I’ve been lucky enough to meet those kinds of people and form what we call a “family”. Rafeeqah [Ely], Montino [Potgieter], Virgil [Spannenberg], Lwanda [Gotyonga], Dane [Thomas], Keanan [Jacobs], Sivuyile [Jack] are some of the folks I’ve grown close to. We are always together at events doing the best we can to bring the vibe, the people mentioned in the latter are the folks I traveled with to Johannesburg for We House Sundays x Kid Fonque feat. Jimpster, we are planning to invade Johannesburg [in November] for our taste of Deep Town Jozi, we basically want to explore different cultures, unite and bring back that 90s feel back when people went out to dance and enjoy the music.

image of uglyman
Image supplied.

Beyond being a serious reveler, you are also known for your love for football and for being a football pundit. How did this become a passion of yours and why?
Football is the one thing that has always been there really, from my brother to my father’s love for it, mine grew. I used to read the Soccer Laduma and Kick Off publications my brother used to leave out for me only because I loved reading as a kid, it wasn’t until Grade 9 (2008) that I really took to it. I love talking about stuff in detail you know, analyzing and all – so I spent time reading the game for what it was instead of the rivalry of banter, I guess that is how I became a football analyst.

Is there a connection between these two passions of yours, deep house and football?
I wouldn’t say there is a connection, I just have an undying love and passion for both. It’s what defines my life, it’s my source of energy and oxygen.

On a much lighter note, name one thing that would make you miss a “We House Sunday” event?
[Chuckles] I’d say nothing, but the universe has its way of doing things. It would have to be a fatal injury that would land me in ICU, otherwise I’d go in crutches if I can.

What would you say to other fans of deep house music about the importance of constantly supporting DJs, producers and events in building the culture of underground music in the country?
You know, there is nothing more painful in my eyes than seeing a DJ playing for a dull crowd or no crowd at all. It comes naturally to me to dance when music is playing even if I am the only one on the dance floor, but it’s the importance of showing DJs some love that drives me to do what I do. So I’d say don’t take note of what the time slots say, don’t go to an event just because your favorite is playing at a certain time – opening sets are just as important, getting to an event early has taught me that, I’ve really taken to the warm up sets.

  

image of uglymann
Image supplied.

Would you ever consider formalizing the important role you play in the scene by becoming an events promoter or artist/music manager one day?
I’ve been approached by folks asking me to be their manager, at this point in time I feel like my passion is on the dance floor and I don’t know the first thing about artist management but it’s not something I wouldn’t enjoy doing but at the moment I still just want to be the regular jock that drives the dance floor. I’ve grown and become the important person I am because of it, but I wouldn’t put off artist management and maybe DJing, who knows?

Finally, what can we expect from Uglymann in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
There is always something on the horizon, I am currently working on branding Uglymann more than anything. I just want to do that, see where it takes me – I also want to hone my writing skills so any writing gigs I can get I’ll take, more than anything though I am working on having a YouTube channel to just have a sit down with artists while I get an in-depth look at their music inspiration. I’d also love another channel to discuss football related matters, so that is where my head is at in this point in time.

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Image supplied.

 

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Introducing Mandisa Mamba: eSwatini’s Rising R&B Sensation With A Daring Approach

R&B is a genre that is not that popular in eSwatini and the kingdom does not have many R&B artists. Mandisa Mamba is a diverse R&B singer-songwriter who made her official debut in 2016 and has achieved major success. After a year in the music industry, Mandisa was nominated as the Best R&B artist at the MTN SWAMA Awards 2017 and was listed as one of the artists to watch in 2018 by Glam Africa Magazine. We had a chance to chat to her recently to find out more about her.

What or who inspires you as an artist?
I am very fascinated and inspired by the idea that we have the power to create our own reality, it makes me hungry to see the kind of experiences I can consciously bring into my life. I am also inspired by women who push boundaries and break barriers, women like Bonang and Beyonce.

Describe your sound ?
I fall under the R&B genre but I like to think of my music as experimental in the sense that I mostly go with the flow, so when I pick a sound to write to it’S because I connect to it and sometimes it may be the furthest thing from a normal R&B sound.

What are some of the challenges have you faced especially in eSwatini’s musical scene ?How have you overcome these challenges?
I think the biggest challenge has been growing in Eswatini. It’s a small group that truly believes in us artists and although I am truly grateful for those who support us, it would be great if Eswatini as a whole stood by their entertainers. Unfortunately, this also applies to show promoters who tend to create 90% of their show focus on artists from outside our borders. This is not to say we should not be inviting and appreciating artists from outside of Eswatini, but this is a serious reflection of how much there is little support for the Swazi artist. I know in disagreeing with me, one may be tempted to point out one or two shows that are centered around Swazi artists, but unfortunately in such cases or “opportunities”, we face issues such as low pay or no pay at all, whilst the very same promoter would be willing to pay an outsider 50 times more.

No, there hasn’t been a solution in place but I would suggest that the eSwatini Music Associations comes together and does the following:
1. Pass a law that states a minimum pay for artists.
2. Ensure that at least 80% shows/festivals are centered around Swazi entertainers.
3. The Swazi audience can help us (as the artist) through silent/non-violent protests to demonstrate disapproval on shows that have little or no support for the Swazi artist.

Truth is we cannot grow nor thrive if our own people continue to look down upon us.

You recently released the video of your song Love Fiend, briefly tell us about the concept behind this song?
Love Fiend is a mix of hip/hop and R&B. Inspired by the idea of desiring someone who doesn’t belong to you. The word ‘fiend’ seemed to be perfect to describe the depth of desire I talk about in the song, because it’s not just about the person who is desired but also what the desired person makes the other feel and how it then becomes an obsession or a case of behaving like one who is possessed, but in a sexy way, which you see in the music video. When I wrote the song I was writing from the perspective of the other woman/guy. Because when you listen to the words, you then get that the desired person is in fact involved with someone else. I never exactly intended to write a song for “side people”, the first few lines sort of came about in a jokingly manner and then my producer (Mozaik The producer) and I decided to stick to the story. It was a fun story to create. I wrote love Fiend about 3 years ago and only released it in 2018. Compared to my previous music, people are quite shocked at how daring I am when they hear it for the first time.

How has the reception to the video been?
The reception has been amazing. The music video has been received with so much love and I am so grateful to know that people appreciate my work. Taking into consideration that no one in Eswatini has ever created a music video that is openly sexy and expressive, I was so nervous about how people would respond to it, honestly. So it was a big relief to see that people understand the song itself and the music video.

What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
I enjoy the process of creation, writing a new song, playing around with melodies and harmonies etc. I also love being on stage, I am excited by live performances. I don’t like that it’s a dog-eat-dog industry; people can be very dishonest, sneaky and selfish. I don’t understand why people are always trying to create ways to own the artist.

Take us through your song making/writing process?
I don’t have an exact formula to be honest. Sometimes I come up with ideas at random times and I’ll put them on my phone. Sometimes I’m able to start and finish a song in one day, sometimes it takes me months, even years. I have songs I started writing 2017 and only managed to finish the story this year. It depends on where I am emotionally I suppose. One thing I have noticed about me is that I am mostly able to tell the story once I am out of the situation, healed or in the process of healing from the pain and anger. Although, when it comes to talking about the good side of love, its easier for me to express it in the moment I am feeling it.

image of mandisa mamba
Image source: Facebook

You’ve been featured on a couple of local projects, what is the process behind these collaborations?
I prefer to work with people I admire and respect. The process depends on everyone’s schedule, but it’s always better to be in studio and just move with the flow, together as one.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Trust your inner voice and surround yourself with people who believe in you but also who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about your work. Being able to accept criticism is the key to growth.

What can we expect from you in the latter part of the year?
I have a new single out, it’s called ‘Anymore‘ and it’s on all digital platforms. I’m also currently working on more new music and I hope before the year ends I will have released more of that.

Where can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Instagram: @mandisamamba_sd
Twitter: @mandisamamba_sd
Facebook: Mandisa Music
SoundCloud: Mandisa Mamba

“There is only one woman, and her name is all women. Nurture her, protect her, love her, guide her”

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Featured Interviews Music

Get To Know Lord Bae: One of The Vaal’s Most Promising Rap Artists

It is without doubt that the Vaal is filled with young talented creatives who contribute immensely to South Africa’s creative industry. From music to fashion and other forms of art and creativity, the Vaal is a goldmine of talent. In the music realm, hip hop to be specific, the Vaal is a region that is highly respected with legendary rap artists such as Mothipa and Optical Illusion, the region has never lacked gifted MCs. In this new age that we are currently in, there are quite a few rappers from the Vaal that are pushing to change the status quo. Sebokeng born and bred rapper, Lord Bae, is one such rapper as he is hellbent on raising the standards of  hip hop in the Vaal. We recently caught up with him to get to know him more. Peep our conversation below. 

What is the origin of the name Lord Bae?
[Laughs], my ex girlfriend actually gave me that name. So one time, she and I were at a party in the hood. At that time things weren’t going great between her and I, so us going there was actually so we could have a great time together. During the party, she observed all the attention I was getting from other girls and started complaining that most of those girls were giving me attention instead of leaving us alone. She started getting annoyed at me and complained that it’s like I’m their god. Then she started calling me Lord Bae. After that all my friends caught up and everyone started calling me Lord Bae.

Are there any specific cultures you would say you derive your musical inspiration from?
I’m a big fan of authenticity and expressing where I come from, so yes, I would say African music, like your Wiz Kid’s and Davido’s. I basically mix afro pop with hip hop. I’m very musical in that sense.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and influence to your music?
Michael Jackson has always been my biggest inspiration since I was in grade 2. His style and attention to detail when he performed pushed and inspired me to do the same when I perform and when I’m in studio.

Could you briefly describe your rap process and how your music has evolved since you first started rapping?
Firstly, shout out to my producer, Cubin. I honestly feel that he is to me what 40 is to Drake. I write music depending on how I feel on the day before even going to the studio. For example, if what I wrote is a hype track, I’d ask Cubin to play me some hype beats, if I wrote something deep or motivational, I’d ask him to play me something not too “loud” so that people can hear the messages I want to share. I’m a big fan of motivational music, which is very evident in my latest EP, The Catalog.

What do you feel is unknown to the general public about the music industry and culture of the Vaal which is on the come up right now? What do you want to make people aware of in relation to the spaces you are moving in? 
Firstly, allow me to take my hat off to the music scene in the Vaal. We have very talented people this side which are bubbling under and are about the blow people’s minds. The music scene in the Vaal hasn’t really peaked that much but it is really trying to push the ceiling. What I genuinely like about it is that artists are really trying to push their own movements and not trying to do what the rest of the world is doing. I’m just saying people should explore more spaces and express who they really are and what they think people want to hear. This is why I always try my best to be different at all cost, which I feel has benefitted me a lot.

Many artists perform different rituals before their performances, is this something you can relate to? If so, what is it and how does it help you prepare for your set?
My team and I always pray before getting on stage. We are big believers of God’s guidance. I feel unstoppable after praying. It’s like an alter ego and God takes over everything. AMEN! [Laughs].

What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far with the progression of your career?
In the very beginning, a lot of doors didn’t want to open up for me, mainly because people didn’t know who Lord Bae was, so I had to prove myself and force myself in the game. My music spoke for me most of the time though. People need to realize that everything you do needs effort. You won’t get anywhere by sitting on your couch and not going out there and introducing yourself to the people. I’ve never been scared to walk up to people and gave them my music, which in turn ended up in the right hands that could assist me with moving forward. So hustle, hustle, and hustle is by far helping me overcome all things people would call problems or challenges.

What are your fondest musical memories growing up and how have they influenced your rap? Whether it be in your house or in your neighbourhood?
I’ve always been a Michael Jackson fan, so I’d always emulate his moves and perform for my family growing up. This boosted my confidence on and off stage from a very tender age, as confidence which plays a huge role in the industry we are in.

image of lord bae
Image supplied.

What drew you to this industry? If you could bring awareness and change to within the industry, what would it be?
I saw how people reacted when Michael Jackson got on stage. Them being so happy and emotional made me want to get on stage too. Everyone that knows me knows that I love peace and happiness around me, so the thought that I too could also make people happy at shows made me want to get on stage and make music. What I would change in the music industry, especially in SA, would be collaboration. We don’t collaborate enough because people are too guarding of their successes, not realizing that collaboration would bring us more success and exposure. Look at Nigeria, those people collaborate so much, leading to the success they are experiencing now. Oh and female artists should be given the same respect that male artists get.

What can we look forward to from you in the following upcoming months?
I will be releasing music videos during the remainder of this year, starting with a video for “Comfort Zone” which we will be shooting on the 10th August so keep an eye on my socials for more details on that. Oh, not forgetting as well as some more music from myself.

Stream Lord Bae latest offering, The Catalog, below: