Per­sis­tence is key to suc­cess

Sunday Observer - - SCENE -

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.

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