For a while I had been curious to meet the artist behind Forever, a catchy tune that blew me away the first time I heard it. But when I finally meet Sinenhlanhla Shozi at the Media 24 offices, she turns out to be cool, calm and collected.
Shozi, popularly known as DJ Sithelo, has been labelled as a slay queen, while some of her followers have been questioning who is blessing her luxurious lifestyle.
But the speculation doesn’t bother her at all. The mother of a three-year-old boy says being called a slay queen carries a different connotation to different people.
“The definition of a slay queen to me means someone who is slaying or doing well in their field of work. After all, it is up to people’s interpretation. People will always have something to say about the next person. I like the finer things in life and I am unapologetic for who I am,” says the confident musician, socialite and fashionista who always posts expensive items such as Louis Vuitton bags on Instagram.
“If people are following me because I am inspiring them, clearly I am doing the right thing. I am just living my dream,” she shares, as she shows off her nude artificial nails encrusted with diamonds.
“These are real diamonds and they are worth R40 000,” she says.
Forever, a love song featuring singer Skye Wanda, was written by composer Mondli Ngcobo, who is known for composing smash hits such as Koze Kuse and Inkanyezi. The dance number is doing well on the local music charts.
Born in the small coastal town of Umkomaas in KwaZulu-Natal, DJ Sithelo says her inspiration while growing up was her mother, who is now a pastor.
The 25-year-old holds a Bachelor’s degree in social science. After completing her degree in 2017 she went to POW Academy, a deejay and music training school in Durban, for a year.
Although her first set wasn’t great she didn’t give up. Instead she worked on perfecting her craft and today she is one of the best upcoming deejays.
“My first song, Gcobhoza, kept me going and the feedback was positive. This has helped me a lot to grow as a young female deejay.”
However, Sithelo reckons that it is still hard to be a female deejay in the male-dominated industry.
She gives credit to her mentor, Durban-based DJ Kotin, who signed her under his record label.
She says she looks up to Durban-based artist DJ Happy Girl, as well as Tembisa-born deejay and producer DJ Shimza.
“These two are really great deejays. It’s unfortunate that as women we have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves.”
She adds that Kotin, real name Siyabonga Zikode, has been a great mentor who has looked out for her since day one.
Despite being approached by many wannabe deejays for mentoring, Kotin says he saw Sithelo’s potential the first time they met.
“When DJ Sithelo came to me last year for mentorship, I saw her passion, professionalism and talent and I knew that she was the right person to put under my wing,” Kotin says.
Any regrets about choosing deejaying as a career, we ask: “It’s finally paying off, but I miss my sleep,” she says.