Cape Town - She calls herself the “Musical Einstein” and has been known to spin the decks without headphones, something seen as an oddity in her field. For as long as she can remember, DJ LeSoul (28), real name Nonkululeko Mdlalose, has loved music.
She was born and raised in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal, and spent a great deal of time in church. It’s also where she learnt to play the piano.
“I experimented with other instruments, but the piano was so intriguing, so I pretty much taught myself how to use it, and I’m trying to teach myself how to play the bass guitar based on the little knowledge I acquired back then,” she says.
THE AHA MOMENT
When she was 18, she was sure she wanted a career in music. “I did not know much about the industry but my passion for music was so big I knew I’d figure out a way,” she says. Her family was sceptical at the start because they were uncertain about what exactly being a DJ entailed but they gave her their full support.
“My grandmother holds a special place in my heart because she always made sure I was taken care of,” she says. “When I went to a gig she would stay up and wait for me and when I got home she would ask me how it all went. When I needed someone to confide in, she was always there.”
But becoming a DJ wasn’t easy. She recalls a time in 2011 when she was given an opportunity to show her skills at a club, but nothing went right for her that night.
“A club manager offered me a 30- minute slot and I was so ecstatic that I had secured my first gig,” she says. “My time finally came and it was such a mess! I had not mastered the art of mixing so the transitioning to the next song was so horrible that everyone at the club noticed and had to look at what was happening,” she adds.
Although embarrassed at how horribly her first gig went, she wasn’t discouraged and reassured herself that she would do better at her next gig. “I went back home that night and practised extremely hard on the decks.”
THE LOVE OF MUSIC
Since then, she’s improved so much that she’s booked all the time. Her hits include Iscefe and Getting Things Right. What she loves most about what she does is “reinventing. I feel like you can never know enough about music, you can never do enough with music and I genuinely feel that being a producer and DJ is one of the greatest blessings from God”, she says.
One of the greatest feats in her career has been convincing Professor and Tzozo to get back in the studio to make music. Their track, Lo, was released earlier this month and she’s happy with how it’s been received.
“They had not been in studio for about five years and I see them as moguls so to have them back is an amazing feeling, they are like my big brothers,” she says. “I remember Tzozo would book me for gigs and both of them have always had my back by showing me how the industry works and I am eternally grateful for that.” The track shows appreciation for women.
“The song is a celebration of black women because we are blessed with uniqueness. It has a party vibe to it but from the song we’re saying women can be powerful, and I’m glad we chose the amapiano genre because it’s becoming a genre to be reckoned with.”