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Niniola On Touring SA, Her New Album & Eyeing The Grammys [Interview]

We caught up with Nigerian songstress Niniola, who’s behind the hit Maradona

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Maradona, the one song many have been thanking Shazam for,  is without a doubt one of the biggest soundtracks for the summer of 2017. And the fact that the sultry vocals were delivered in Yoruba by an almost unknown Nigerian artist proved irrelevant. The song bangs, it’s a hit. The girl snapped on the vocals, so we are keeping her.

Maradona first came to our attention at a baby shower afterparty after everyone had agreed that something more upbeat was now needed to toss the girls into a groove.

And as a collective, we unanimously decided to entrust the proverbial deck romping duties to a friend from Pretoria – the heart of house music in the land. This time her crowd winning strategy was amplified by her introduction of Niniola’s banger, a bop we would repeat into midnight because it was just that addictive!

We are excited to have caught up with Niniola to chat about her success, her debut album and what’s next on her radar.

Q: Your single Maradona has been one of the biggest summer smashes in South Africa. Being a Nigerian artist, were you surprised by your breakthrough success here?

Niniola: (Smiles) … Honestly, I was and I am still in shock because I released that song in March 2017 and it was a Hit in Nigeria and other parts of the world. But you see the second South Africa got on the vibe it became reborn and became a new single, topping charts in a country I have always dreamt to visit and all.

Honestly, no words will ever be enough to express how I feel about South Africa and the love they have shown me. And right now I can’t wait to visit.

Niniola Interview

Q: With all the buzz, do you have any plans of touring South Africa anytime soon.

Niniola: LOL, Of course! As we speak I already have my visa and my bags are packed, I am just waiting for my management to say “ok NINIOLA you can go” lol

Q: Tell us more about how the song came about?

Niniola: Okay, so I went to my producer SARZ who is actually the BEST ever lol, and I told him “yo I need to put out a single, what do you have?” He started making the beat. Minutes into it we were already feeling it and my Manager said to me, ‘That’s your single’.

And when he was done I stood up and vibed. I said some words and he said ‘that’s it, that’s your chorus “OH MARADONA”…And that was how the song came about lol.

Q: With a hit single and a debut album, what has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Niniola: Actually, the proudest moments of my career has been on stage – The joy I get when I am performing and the whole crowd is singing along… It’s such as awesome feeling to think that the little girl who just started is doing all these.

To have topped charts, performed on big stages and all Is something to be proud about…And I owe it all to GOD.

 

Q: Your debut album, This Is Me, fuses a few sounds and influences, bouncing between afro-house, a touch of Rnb, afrobeats and some dancehall. How would you describe your sound?

Niniola: My root sound/genre is Afro-House, but because I am versatile. I tend to find myself doing a little Pop/RnB/dancehall and all. That’s why the album was titled “This Is Me” so that people get to experience me and see what I can do. *wink

Q: Who are your biggest musical influences?

Niniola: Oh, the list is endless! Dolly Parton, Shakira, Kenny Rogers, Whitney Houston, Angelique Kidjo, Toni Braxton, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade etc.

Q: Which artist/s would be your dream collaborations?

Niniola: lol ah plenty o…Beyonce, Rihanna, Angelique Kidjo, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson (but they are late now RIP)…A lot o can’t even remember them all lol.

Q: What’s next on Niniola’s radar?

Niniola: Oh for now pushing the album, releasing of more videos off the album, touring, working with different artists as we aim for the Grammys lol.

Niniola’s debut album This Is Me is out now. Get it on iTunes

 

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Interviews

Khaya Dladla Gets On The Hunt For His Biggest Fan!

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Khaya Dladla

The debut season of Tropika Smoooth Fan is here and this week, Khaya Dladla is the first celebrity to put his biggest fans to the test as they compete to prove they are the star’s smooothest fan.

Khaya has gained a massive following over the years thanks to his performance on the popular SABC 1 drama Uzalo.

His love for entertainment started when he was a child and developed after his parents sent him to drama classes from the age of 15.

RELATED: BONANG, SOMIZI, BABES WODUMO TO BE PART TO APPEAR ON SMOOOTH FAN 

The star enjoyed all facets of performance and later became a backing vocalist for musicians such as Hugh Masikela and Thandiswa Mazwai. Today, he stars as G.C.

Khaya Dladla
This week, four die-hard celebrity fans will compete in various interactive games in the hopes of being crowned Khaya’s smooothest fan. The winner will make it to the semi-finals where they will compete against the smooothest fans of the other celebrity contestants where, after another round of games, the two top contestants will go head to head in the final to win R250 000 cash and a Honda Amaze!

KHAYA DLADLA 

What attracted you to a show like Tropika Smoooth Fan?

Firstly, it was the opportunity to interact with my fans. I hardly get that because of the schedules we have on ‘Uzalo’. More than that, it was growth. I wanted people to get to know me instead of my character. And, the fact that its a Tropika game show makes me so happy because the brand feels like an old friend to me.

Why do you think it is important to recognize the fanbase who has been by your side throughout your career?

It’s simple – we are because they are. The more likes we get on social media, the more followers we get on social media and the impact we have makes us feel like we make a difference. It puts a ‘label’ to who we are and the relevance. I feel like it’s very important to recognize our fanbase because they are like our ‘hype people’. Our fans help build our brands through the love they send. As an entertainer, you have an audience listening so it’s important to give them recognition as well.

Why do you think so many people around the country identify with you and your work?

Firstly, authenticity is important. I try to be as real as possible. Even on ‘Uzalo’ I try to resemble a character that someone has met before because we want to tell real stories. The little mannerisms and the characterisations of what I do is relatable and, as performers, that’s our ultimate goal. I am also super critical of my own work and I think my fans see that I put my heart and soul into every performance.

What do you hope your fans get out of watching you on this week’s episode of Tropika Smoooth Fan?

I hope my fans get to know the real me. There is more to me than G.C. and, at some point, the G.C. brand overpowered my name. I had to go back to the drawing board and remind people who Khaya Dladla really is and Tropika Smoooth Fan will certainly help me do that. Apart from that, I am looking forward to having fun with my fans. I mean, that’s what the show is about – a fun, interactive show where I get to interact with my biggest fans.

What was the biggest lesson your fans taught you about your career?

My fans have taught me many important lessons over my career. They taught me humility and to always be as real as possible. I think that is something that has helped so many people relate to both my and my character on ‘Uzalo’.

Tell us something your fans might not know about you?

I run a lot of CSI projects and I do a lot of charity work. It’s something I keep to myself because I don’t want people to think I am doing it for media attention. I feed an old age home and also do my best to support a group of orphans who are close to my heart. Also, I have been learning how to DJ and I am working on a different concept on how to launch myself as that.

Can you share an instance where a fan has changed your life in some way?

I have had both positive and negative interactions with fans which has changed my life in some way Once, a fan hugged me, spun me around and stuck his tongue in my mouth. That was the first time I cried from a fan interaction. It really shook me. Then, on a positive note, I had an interaction with a fan who got so excited to see me that she had an asthma attack. I stayed by her and waited for the ambulance to arrive and afterwards, I asked to have a chat with her. I realised how easily people look to celebrities for motivation and I knew that I wanted to use my fame to inspire people.

What’s can fans expect from you in the coming months?

A lot! I have been working on my music for over a year now. I come from musical theatre so I am excited to show the country that side of me. I have also joined Gagasi FM as a presenter which I am really excited about. Apart from that, fans can expect more music, more gigs and more exciting collaborations.

Want to be a contestant on the show? Simply buy a Smoooth Fan-branded Tropika at your nearest store, find your unique code and follow the on-pack USSD instructions for your chance to prove you’re the smooothest fan on live television.

Fans also stand to win amazing prizes by snapping a selfie of themselves with a Smoooth Fan branded Tropika, and Whatsapping the image to 071 605 1503 live during the show between 18:00 and 18:30 every Friday.

Catch Tropika Smoooth Fan every Friday at 18:00 on SABC 1.

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Interviews

Sir LSG: Perfection Matters – Not So Much The Accolades – Interview

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Select Sessions Sir LSG

The way Sir LSG approaches music is microscopic. He takes all these elements – tiny sounds that don’t typically register to an ear that isn’t technically sharpened to detect and achieve sonic balance – very seriously. He’s also a perfectionist, which meant finishing his much-celebrated album, Moving Circles, was no easy feat.

We had the privilege of hearing from the man ahead of his set at Play Sessions in Braamfontein this Thursday, September 6th.

You started out studying electrical engineer before a passion for records and music took over. Tell us about your record collection?

I started collecting records right at the beginning of my first year at WITS, and in hindsight, engineering was never really going to work well for me. My record collection is quite small, because in 2006 when I started playing, CDs were becoming popular in the clubs. My friends and I would share records when we had a gig, to assist with the limited range.

Your mentor was/is DJ Christos, “The Godfather of House” and one of South Africa’s most respected house producers. Tell us how his work inspires you?

I met DJ Christos back in 2008 at an SAMC conference, when I had just won the DJ competition for the conference, and Chris took me under his wing. For a few months I would travel with him to his gigs and he would give me his last 15 – 20 minutes of his sets. It meant a lot to be able to travel with one of our country’s house music icons – I can never be grateful enough for those moments.

Your “Sax In The City” soulful house mix reached the second spot on Traxsource’s top singles chart in 2011, and in 2014 they voted you at Number 20 on the Top 100 Afro House Producers of the year. Tell us how these accolades helped define your career?

It’s always nice to see my releases reach charts on Traxsource because globally they are the leading House Music store. But those accolades don’t really mean much, I’m only happy and grateful that there are people out there who enjoy the music I make.

You’ve worked alongside global and local acts, such as Ralf GUM and R&B singer/songwriter Brian Temba. Who has been your favourite collaboration to date and why?

The most important thing for me when working with other artists is to really have a “vibe”. As soon as musicians “vibe” you’ll hear it in their music. I always enjoy working with Ralf Gum and Thandi Ntuli because they are the two people I spend a lot of studio time with.

What can people expect from your Select Sessions gig on 6th September at PUMA?

Expect nothing but solid soulful house music. See you on the dance floor.

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Interviews

Deep House Ace Kat La Kat Is Not Chasing The Wave – Interview

Kat La Kat takes us through his approach to House music as he preps a set at the looming PUMA Select Sessions

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Kat La Kat

If you’ve had the privilege of enjoying Kat La Kat’s abstract and organic sets, you would appreciate his technical showmanship and the clear fact that he loves music. The house music DJ prefers diving into his enriched pool of vast house offerings than merely amplifying popular sounds.  We got him to delve a bit deeper into his creative processes in this Q and A.

You’re known for your Deep Vibes mix series, which has a cult following. How did this first come about?

I felt the need to put out tracks that wouldn’t generally be heard in clubs in my area at the time, a sound that was a bit more dark and less catchy. Stuff people would say is too calm, too deep, too underground to play in front of a crowd, so I decided to create a mix series that one can indulge in their own space, with no pressure to make people dance.

You’ve played in nightclubs in and around Pretoria and Johannesburg for more than a decade now. Any advice for aspiring DJs and producers?

Trust your taste! A lot tend to follow what works for other artists and they struggle with consistency because it was never really their taste. Do you and do you good …the rest will fall in place

You’re experimental, use mixing techniques and like to take people on a journey with your deep house sets. What’s a sound you’re loving right now?

I dig deep tech house and quite a few local producers are putting out some awesome sounds.

You’ve been producing your own music since 2006. How has the local house music scene developed since then and where do you think it’s going?

I think it has developed in a very good way, we’ve always had the groove but we lacked sonic quality and little technical stuff that goes into a production. Guys are making the effort to have their tunes professionally mixed and mastered and that’s a step in the right direction.

What can people expect from your Select Sessions gig on 6th September at PUMA?

A Kat La Kat experience, you need to hear it to know what I’m talking about! You can expect the unexpected.

Select Sessions 6 Sept Artwork

 

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