DJ Mekonko’s long road to star­dom

Sunday Express - - XPRESS PEOPLE -

AWARD-win­ning Afro Jazz mu­si­cian, Tsiee, has adopted the use of var­i­ous lan­guages in his quest to con­quer the world mu­sic scene.

Born Do­minic Makoala, Tsiee walked away with the Best Afro Pop mu­si­cian award at last week­end’s Ul­ti­mate Mu­sic Awards for his de­but al­bum O Feta Nkoe. The al­bum fea­tures 14 tracks sung in Se­sotho, Shangaan, Zulu, Setswana and English and the stand-out tracks are Se­vuzelele, Shik­wembu, Thando Lami and Praise.

“My dream is to rep­re­sent my coun­try on the in­ter­na­tional stage and be­ing born in Le­sotho should not limit one from achiev­ing his goals as long as the mind is fo­cused,” said the Kolonyama-born Tsiee.

“I be­lieve us­ing dif­fer­ent lan­guages in my songs will help ap­peal to dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties,” he said, adding he had learnt other lan­guages dur­ing his time of em­ploy­ment in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, from 2009.

Tsiee’s mu­si­cal jour­ney dates back to his for­ma­tive years while herd­ing the fam­ily live­stock and he passed through the stage of im­i­tat­ing pop­u­lar RnB songs from the 1990s while also draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from lo­cal and South African greats like Tšepo Tšola, Ben­jamin Dube and Vusi Mahlasela.

He said even at the ten­der age of nine, he would com­pose songs that were greatly in­flu- enced by the “serene at­mos­phere of the moun­tains”.

“While herd­ing the flock, I would sing to kill the bore­dom. Most of the com­po­si­tions were in­flu­enced by the at­mos­phere in the moun­tains which in­cludes dif­fer­ent nat­u­ral sounds hence the choice of the Afro Jazz genre for my mu­sic.”

But it was not rosy for Tsiee who had to take up other jobs in South Africa while work­ing on re­al­is­ing his dream of re­leas­ing an al­bum.

“I kept hit­ting a brick wall for I could not raise enough money to even pay stu­dio time and get­ting spon­sor­ship seemed far­fetched.

“Dur­ing my spare time I would go out and net­work with peo­ple I be­lieved would help and slowly I man­aged to be­come part of small com­mu­nity shows un­til 2012 when I be­came part of the African Na­tional Congress 100 years’ cel­e­bra­tion which gave me my break­through. From there I shared the stage with pop­u­lar South African acts like Khotso Mak­galema and Te­boho Moloi.

“I then got spon­sor­ship that same year from a Bloem­fontein ac­count­ing com­pany, MNK, which took over all record­ing costs. I then came back home last year for I want grow as an artiste in Le­sotho,” he said.

And go­ing for­ward, Tsiee is de­ter­mined “to breathe life into the lo­cal mu­sic scene while also preach­ing the Gospel of Je­sus Christ through song”.

“I know it is very chal­leng­ing here at home, but I am part of the strug­gle which aims to bring change,” he said.

Tsiee won the best Afro Pop award at the Ul­ti­mate Mu­sic

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