Apiwe Bubu makes his mark on US mu­sic scene


SOUTH African-born artist Apiwe Bubu is mak­ing waves on the US mu­sic scene and there is no slow­ing him down. Bubu, who now lives in Cal­i­for­nia, is liv­ing his dream as he pur­sues his pas­sion for mu­sic.

Born and raised in Mthatha, East­ern Cape, Bubu – who is a song­writer, pro­ducer and mu­sic en­gi­neer – told us how he got his big break in the tough in­dus­try.

“My big­gest break thus far has been work­ing with the Mir­ror­ball team and with Tony Maserati, from whom I learnt a lot and got my first taste of the Amer­i­can mu­sic in­dus­try and mar­ket,” he said.

Bubu re­cently worked as an as­sis­tant en­gi­neer to the renowned mu­sic pro­ducer and au­dio en­gi­neer Maserati, con­tribut­ing to Grammy award-win­ning al­bums such as Bey­oncé’s Lemon­ade, Keith Ur­ban’s

Rip­cord and Gal­lant’s Ol­ogy. How was the ex­pe­ri­ence for this lo­cal star?

“It was a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence, to put it mildly. Given that I spent a good por­tion of my life work­ing to­wards learn­ing and mas­ter­ing my craft, get­ting the val­i­da­tion and op­por­tu­nity to be in an en­vi­ron­ment where some of the big­gest records of the year were be­ing made only so­lid­i­fied my sus­pi­cion that I was on the right path and had made the right progress to af­ford me that po­si­tion.’’

Bubu grad­u­ated from Berklee Col­lege of Mu­sic in Bos­ton, where he earned a dual ma­jor bach­e­lor’s de­gree in con­tem­po­rary mu­sic writ­ing, mu­sic pro­duc­tion and en­gi­neer­ing, and he aims to share his skills with the world, es­pe­cially Africa.

“I’m open­ing a mu­sic stu­dio in Los An­ge­les, where I want to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate with artists here (US) and home (South Africa) to make the dopest records pos­si­ble.”

He al­ready has a wish list of lo­cal mu­sos he’d like to col­lab­o­rate with.

“I’d like to work with Nasty C, Tshepo Tshola and Em­tee,” he says, and it ties in nicely with his be­lief that the fu­ture of mu­sic lies in Africa.

“I do be­lieve the wave will be in Africa and artists and pro­duc­ers of this back­ground will be the trend­set­ters and tastemak­ers of the global mar­ket.”

Bubu wrote and pro­duced Nomsa Mazwai’s al­bum Nomisu­pasta, which won the 2011 Best Adult African Al­ter­na­tive at the South African Mu­sic Award (Sa­mas).

He says his sound is in­spired by life, friends and his en­vi­ron­ment.

Asked about his pre­ferred mu­sic genre and what sets him apart, Bubu said: “I ex­plore mul­ti­ple gen­res, but try to fo­cus on pop, hip hop and R&B.

“I have an in­tu­itive ap­proach and sup­ple­ment it with an in-depth knowl­edge of the tools and skills re­quired to craft high qual­ity pro­duc­tions and songs.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence, back­ground, present cir­cum­stances and process are what set me apart from the rest.”


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