Du Boiz on leaving Mabala Noise Entertainment to pursuing music as an independent artist

Sandile "Du Boiz" Kubheka.
Sandile "Du Boiz" Kubheka.

He's venturing into the unknown as an independent artist. 

He's opened for the likes of Chris Brown, Montana and Migos and won Best Music Video at the Metro FM, then he took a break from making music.

The award-winning hip hop sensation and songwriter Sandile Ntlakanipho Kubheka was signed into Mabala Noise Entertainment but due to being unhappy with how things were going for him at the label, he took a decision to be an independent artist and start his own record label.

"With relationships when you are not happy you get out, but the difference in my case is I signed a contract,” he tells Drum.

While he was still under the label, he couldn't release new music independently, and could not sign a record deal elsewhere until he had a clearance letter from his current record label.

He signed a 360-deal meaning the recording label not only takes a share of the artists music sales, but also percentages of revenue from other ventures, such as concerts, merchandise, television appearances, or publishing.

"When you are signed into a label, my deal was 360 – publishing, management and distribution. But I never had to worry about anything. My job was to just show up at a specific time and be on studio to record, or for an interview or show up on set for an interview," he shares.

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When Mabala noise entertainment finally released him from the contract in 2020, Covid-19 hit and he decided to tune inside himself and work on his music which he finally released independently.  

"It’s a bit complex and tedious work but you get to adjust."

But being an independent artist has its challenges. "I have to were different hats. I do have someone helping me with PR, but I must manage myself; manage e-mails, calls, documents, and everything, including bringing in an artist. It’s a bit complex and tedious work but you get to adjust."

The music that he produced when he was signed under the record label does not belong to him and he hopes one day he can sit with the organisation and buy them, like many artists who have gone through that route. "I hope one day I can own my masters."

He wishes he was in a partnership. "I choose to be in a partnership where everyone gets their share, if I'm recording the music in my bedroom studio and all you have to do is distribute it, why do you have to own it? Because I paid for everything, I paid for the beats and made sure the music is mixed and mastered," Du Boiz says.

"If I'm signed and everyone gets their share, I’ll be cool, but now that I am independent it's cool. I own my masters."

He is determined to have ownership of his music, be his own boss and one day to be able to give other people the platform. "It’s an experience I am learning."

His new single Sebenza is a different body of work that what his fans are used to but he is excited to finally make music inspired by his roots, which he couldn't do when he under a label.

"What happened was, when you are signed into a label, it’s like being on SA Idols. It's more about impressing the bosses, if they like the song and believe in it, then they will push it but now I am independent and it’s no longer about impressing anyone."

"I went back to my roots, previously I was making music for people that were overseeing it, but now I am making music straight from a blank canvas. It’s giving more melody, more vernacular. I still rap but I am making music that my grandmother or grandfather can also listen too," he shares.

He is enjoying starting from scratch, building momentum around his new music and is eager to start touring once his fans become familiar with his brand again.

"I am going to drop an EP Indlela Yokhozi, there’s gonna be songs where I'm singing and songs where I'm rapping," he shares.

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Although he has accomplished a lot, he feels like he is just starting. He has collaborated with American hip hop star Tyga on his hit single Dope Dreams, featured SA's award-winning artists Anatii, AKA and more.

"I haven’t done everything but personally as an artist people think I've made it, but for me it’s just the beginning. There's so much more I think I can accomplish. To be honest this is bigger than me and the music. I feel like I'm responsible for my people and eventually I'm going to want to change lives using my voice, the recourses and the connects I'll have when I sit in tables with Jay Z and Beyoncé," he says.

The multi-talented artist pats himself on the back for learning the ropes while he was at his former record label. "One of the smartest things that I did for myself was to follow them around when they submitted my music to various channels, and I built relationships."

He adds that there is no bad blood between him and his former label. "They understood I wasn’t happy and let me go," he says. 

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