Persistence is key to success
sional studio experience and I learnt more about song writing...and at the same time I started working with DJ Simza. This was around mid-2000.
How did the career in House music begin and how were those early days?
It definitely began in Gauteng when I hooked up with fellow Swazi/DJ/producer/friend DJ Simza. At the time he was based in Pretoria while I was in Joburg, so during weekends I'd make my way to Pretoria at MultiRacial Records where he used to work part time. Around the same time I met another talented SA based Swazi producer, Sabside. We'd spend the longest of hours in studio making house tracks with Sabside or Simza. MultiRacial Records is where I met and worked with other DJ/producers such as Sisco, the late RowickDeep and Black Coffee, amongst other producers, featuring as a vocalist on their projects. Those early days I must say were the most vital for me, and we had a lot of fun creating music that would put us in a position whereby we would be really noticed as up and coming, in as competitive space such as dance music. To hear your music played by top Swazi and South African DJs was big for me then, like it is now. We made a lot of music at a time when vocalists in house music, produced in Southern Africa, were still on a rise...and to be know as one of the vocalists from Swaziland to push the culture from that time was so great for me.
What experiences in your career thus far do you consider as important milestones and learning curves?
Well as far as milestones go, first andforemost I'd definitely put my collaboration and studio experiences wit h S i mza, S a bs i de, BlackCoffee and of course my current collaboration with the talented SunEL Musician on the list. My first big stage performance was in Port Elizabeth alongside Simza,Sabside and Debrah when we performed the hit Mine Beng'dzakiwe at the MetroFM Awards in 2008 is what i'd consider one of my big stage learning experiences. Its important to know how to handle a huge crowd amongst big stars, and for the first time, this taught me jus that.
Tell us about process? your music
Besides working on my single pr oduced by S unEL Musician due for release early next year, I’m in studio at the time being working with him on other songs.
I am hoping to do more col- have been noticing a lot of locally produced music. We've come a long way and i must say we're nailing it now more than ever.
Our music is sounding really nice and we are at an advantage because our language is really loved by SouthAfricans and other nations, so lets embrace it and keep expressing ourselves in siSwati too. We've got a lot to tell the world through music as singers, rappers, producers, poets,etc. lets make it happen.
I had a conversation with one of the best music masterers recently and other producers in SA and they mentioned that with some of the music they've heard from Swaziland
, they've been really impressed, jus that some producers need to master the engineering part...not jus production alone because good production can be killed by poor engineering.
A lot of artists lose patience. Ive tought myself to be patient because its all hard work, resilience and knowing that the good things dont come over night. One must know
Ilaborations with SD and SA artists well after the release of my single.
I wouldn’t want to say what is coming in the near future for now in terms of projects, but people should just expect great music. I intend in representing Swaziland more now than Iever did in the past.
Tell us about your relationship with MultiRacial Records and how that has been to you as an artist?
My relationship with MultiRacial Records is still good. Havent been in their studio in a very long time though.
The label played a major role in the process of being a house vocalist as I was working with DJ Simza and other producers. It was like a school to me where I absorbed a lot about music, deep soulful house in particular...and what goes on in the industry generally. I'll always be grateful for that
Personally I consider your collaboration with Rowick Deep on 'Everything Between Us' as one of your most notable songs. Which collaborations have you enjoyed?
I've actually enjoyed all of them. I love being in a good vibe when I am in studio and all the producers I've worked with give such an experience. I've collaborated well with Simza on "Holding Back"and"Uyang'mangalisa". I also worked with Shota, where I wrote a few songs for his album ‘The Warrior’ Sabside on "Mountain high"and"Destiny", S unEL Musician on "No S t opping Us"and"Wakhala Umalukatane", BlackCoffee on "Set Me Free"and"Holding Back"(remix) A lot of music hasnt been released yet, produced by Afrotraction, Thomas Southern, as much as they can about the music business itself coz the talent alone isnt enough. Rsearching and finding out how others have made it and keeping the right people around u is key too.
First of all I would like to thank you so much for the opportunity. I must say that meeting S-Tone and creating beautiful music in studio and have him come onboard at ElWorld Music is quite a pleasure. I've followed his work from way back when he featured on BlackCoffee's album "Have Another One".
Also heard S-Tone's vocals on a number of house music compilations. His work with Dj Simza on the classic "Holding Back" is what really made me pay attention to him, not forgetting the remix BlackCoffee did of the same song which did well all over SA.
I like his tone and his approach when he writes. He's also versatile. People are gonna enjoy the music we're gonna be releasing from ElWorldMusic. People should expect S-Tone's single early next year, produced by myself SunEL Musician. Its gonna be hot! The Antidodes, Ziyawa, Czar,etc...
As a vocalist how do you approach the collaboration process, be it with a producer or another artist -is it based on mutual understanding or experimental?
In my opinion, its a bit of both. If I am for the idea and I am impressed by the production and we understand each other, then its on.
You have been an established name in House music circles for a long time. What do you consider as important for an artist to remain relevant?
Collaborating with other artists is important. Goin out there and experiencing variougs events and getting in touch with what people are currently listening to, because after all, you're trying to sell to them. Also see how u can switch it up into your own style.
Many debate the need for artists, musicians in general, to have theoretical knowledge of their craft. What's your take on this aspect?
In my opinion, music is a more practical game than it is the other. Many artists, have made it in their careers by just discoveringandharnessing their talents by practicing a lot, observing others and getting involved in it as much as possible coz the more u do something, naturally you'll get better at it.
What advice can you give to other aspiring House vocalists with regard to their craft and getting into the industry?
Finding out more about the business side of the music industry is extremely vital. Talent alone is not enough. As an artist, you need a proper team. People who know the business and can assist when it comes to brand management, thats if an artist wants to be taken seriously by promoters, for example.
Since times change and the sound of music is ever changing, artists must adapt. Listening to various genres of music teaches one that there's many ways of approaching a song so thats important.
What can the nation expect from S-Tone going forward?
What the nation can expect from me is nothing but good house music and a bit of downtempo grooves in Siswati and English produced primarily by SunEL Musician and more video appearances. Collaborations with Swazi and South African artists and producers will definitely happen as of next year.
I'm in a good place right now in my musical journey and I am gonna be playing my part in representing Swaziland more than ever with great quality music.
Tell us about your relationship with SunEl Musician and how you met?
I met SunEL Musician between FebruaryMarch through Phethelo Nkosi, SunEL's manager who's been a friend of mine in the music industry for couple of years. He gave me a call and wanted to introduce me to SunEL
Musician because they were working on something. When I got to studio and met SunEL Musician, he played me a number of tracks, including the hit "Akanamali". I knew right then that I wanted to work with him and I immediately discovered he was one of the coolest and humble talents I'd ever met.
The first song we recorded is SunEL Musician featuring myself, S-Tone - "No Stopping Us"and we just shot a video for it and its going on music channels very soon. Im featuring in a few more of his songs which will be on his upcoming album called Africa To The World.