How a church choir helped Gagasi FM's LeSoul become the DJ she is today

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LeSoul started making music at 14 years old and this year she plans to release a full album.
LeSoul started making music at 14 years old and this year she plans to release a full album.

She is stylish, talented and one of the few female producers in Mzansi.  When she is not spinning the decks, she is producing hits like Nkanyezi by Oscar Mbo featuring Simmy where she also plays the piano, as well as Amabele featuring Deep Narratives, TNS, and Blaqrhytm.

Two years ago, she signed with Soulistic Music who have worked with Black Coffee, Culoe De Song, and DJ Shimza. 

There are not many females in Mzansi who can produce their own music and DJ. Growing up, she was dubbed the ‘Musical Eistnein’ in KwaZulu Natal for being able to produce a beat in about five minutes.

Precious Nonkululeko Mdlalose (31) popularly known as DJ LeSoul is the co-host of Noma Yini on weekdays between 12pm and 3pm at Gagasi FM and when she is not making music, she is the brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker Gold and will be doing tours across the country as one of their DJs. 

“I have recently joined the Johnnie Walker family, officially. I have had a relationship with them for some time now but now I will be touring the country with them and doing many other exciting projects with them,” LeSoul tells Drum.

"Not many people believe that a female is capable of producing music because many depend on ghost producers. But I guess I am one of the few," she says. 

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She started making music as early as 14 years old and has built a name for herself. Her father is a preacher, she played the piano and was in the church choir.

“I learned how to DJ while I was at church choir and playing piano," she says.

“I was a curious musician and wanted to improve myself. In music, you search for one thing and end up liking something else. It starts at church with me being a well-groomed instrumentalist and musician and playing around with melodies. I guess, all the greats start at the church,” she jokes.

She was born KwaMashu in KwaZulu Natal. As a young girl, she was always experimental, looking for adventure and she was very curious about music and instruments.

“My granny was and still is my best friend, she understood that I was always trying to figure stuff out. My parents and siblings were curious about how I would turn out and were always observing me,” she says.

She learned how to use DJ equipment through friends in her neighborhood.

“There was a guy who had sound equipment whose name was Turner. I would go to his house, and he let me figure it out. He was a big deal in our town, but people would also invite me over to get some experience,” she says.

After school, she would visit the music store Sound and Light, would ask to DJ or play their piano.

“I would try out their equipment because then I didn’t have club bookings and I was practising,” she says.

After high school, LeSoul studied human resources at Damelin College and finished her degree at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

“I was already DJing then. But when I went to tertiary, I had access to internet café and I discovered all these other sounds and that is when I kickstarted my career as a DJ officially around 2014,” she says.

Although she has never worked a Human Resources job, she is glad she did in order to help her understand the business of music better.

“The education helped in negotiating contracts and in compiling proposals. There are things that you can’t unlearn as you go and you need school in order to grasp,” she adds.

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LeSoul's musical break came when she worked at Vibe FM from 2013 until 2015.

“I was playing at The Fusion Room, Kwa Mashu, E section one Friday night, and I was shocked that people responded well because I was doing it for fun, and I didn’t know I was getting paid. At the end of the night, this guy handed me R900, and I felt like it was a big deal,” she says.

“From then, I would get R500 every hour here and there. I made solid money which pushed me through my university,” she says.

“But before Gagasi, I worked at Vibe FM. They literally groomed me from the beginning of my career. I used to produce The Entertainment Summit with Sizwe Blose. By that time I started playing in other places and I worked with Sthandwa Nzuza on Ukhozi FM. I then met Mzokoloko on Gagasi FM. He takes my number and asks me to play on the midday show. I took the opportunity and submitted my mixes and was asked to do a graveyard slot in 2015 and I’ve been with Gagasi until now,” she says.

Being in the music industry comes with its challenges but she is determined to win.

“Consistency is a challenge and remaining motivated,” she says.

“Self-critique and being honest to assessing why you are not at the level you want to be in takes a lot of work and pushing yourself to work even when there is no work. But I’ve learned to make time for production, gigs, and to invest in my brand and the way I look. I have a great team who supports my vision,” she says.

Style is also important to her and last year she won GQ Best dressed.

“Apparently, I dress nice. It was a proud moment because I wear a lot of local brands. I wouldn’t look how without the help of the brand Endless Thread and Good Friday. I also look up to people like Rich Mnisi. I love trends and keeping it very simple. I believe fashion should be genderless. You should walk into a store and wear what you want, male or female.”

In the future, LeSoul would like to venture into the fashion industry, but for now, she wants to focus on her music. She is working on the deluxe version of her EP titled Higher Frequencies. By the end of the year, she will also be releasing a full album.

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