DJ Mekonko’s long road to stardom
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