His star was rising, he was getting the gigs and suddenly, the whole world went into shutdown mode.
But instead of dwelling on it, he decided to think outside the box.
Sne Dladla is an actor, musician, dancer, and a comedian.
He already has two Fleur du Cap theatre awards under his belt, stars in BET’s first-ever locally co-produced comedy sitcom Black Tax. Sne is also on Showmax’s documentary The Art of Survival, which features nine diverse South Africa artists who respond to the challenges of Covid-19, and he recently launched his third unconventional album. There’s nothing stopping him.
A lot is happening in his life right now. His new album has gained traction, he is booked and in the middle of shooting the second season of Black Tax.
He plays the role of Menzi Dlamini – a last born and problem child, a character Sne says he has no problem getting into because he resonates with him.
“I am a last born at home so it’s easier to get into character,” he tells Drum. Being part of BET’s first locally produced sitcom show has been an amazing experience for Sne, who has been given a lot of room to play on the show. “On the first season I was allowed to improvise some of the lines, so I was given a platform to experiment and to bring my own life into this. It’s a fantastic production.”
With the pandemic, the entertainment industry took a hard knock.
There were lesser gigs, performances and bookings. It was a terrible time for all artists and as horrible as it has been, it unlocked something in him, Sne says.
“I realised I don’t need someone else to show me that I can do this thing. The pandemic took away the middleman and made me switch off that doubting voice, it solidified that I am doing the right thing,” he says.
The minute it was announced that artists don’t have work anymore because of lockdown, Sne’s first thought process was, how can we keep creating work so that we can keep connected, and not shut down?
He thought of reaching out to other artists so they can use the resources that they have to create, but that fell through, and they did shut down.
But for himself, he thought outside of the box and started using household items to make sounds.
“I made a track using a vase and that picked up and got some traction on Instagram. Before that I have taken a WhatsApp voice note from my fiancés sister and I made it into a song and I sent it back to her, the reaction was fantastic,” Sne recalls.
He decided to get the public involved. Using social media, he asked the public to the send any voicenote and he would make a song out of it.
“I would do that and send the song back to them and they would send their reactions and I would post them. It ended up being a platform that allows the public voice to be heard because during this time, the public is the individual that is not taken care of, they are not thought about. They are the people we see every day but they are invisible to us, so I thought let’s give the a platform," the comedian says.
This is how Sne’s EP – VNLV, Pt 1 was birthed.
“I thought why not take the tracks that I got most engagement from and make them a full album. I reached out to some artists to sing into these tracks, and we made them a full-on album that they can profit from it. The album has been a long and important project inspired by lockdown,” Sne says.
They are feeding artists through this, he says. Artist can perform these songs and receive 100 percent of the profits..
By doing this, Sne wants to inspire a generation of artists that understand they are the master of their own universe.
“Unfortunately, we have fallen into the trap of receive. We always must wait for someone to create the platform or someone in government to do something. We are all talented and possess a piece of something that could be combined to create work. The talent does not lie with the producer, TV channel, or Instagram, the talent lies with you,” he shares.
He is calling for unity in the industry.
“There’s circumstances in the world that make it difficult to succeed but we need to understand that we can create the work that we want but we are not unified – artists must be willing to fail, knowing that along the way you’ll figure it out,” he says.
As he settles into the entertainment industry, he says his fans can anticipate something even crazier from him.
“If people think I am nuts now, it’s important for them to know there’s more t to come; a lot more truth which I think is needed and people should not be offended,” he says.