John Wick, Liyashona and Wamuhle - producer De Mthuda on making hit after hit

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Producer De Mthuda is the man behind some of South Africa's amapiano hits.
Producer De Mthuda is the man behind some of South Africa's amapiano hits.

He grew up around people who loved music, so he began to love it too. It wasn't long before he realised he didn't just like listening to music, but wanted to know how to make it. 

He then started off as a DJ in the industry in 2013 and almost 10 years later, he's become the producer to the stars, working on one of the most popular genres in the country - amapiano. 

Amapiano have become a global phenomenon and he absolutely loves waking up everyday to make music. 

De Mthuda, real name Mthuthuzeli Gift Khoza, is very versatile as a producer and verified hit-maker. He's worked with the likes of Kabza De Small, which has boosted his production skills and pushed him even to greater heights in the genre. 

He tells Drum about his journey in the music industry, his future plans, and how he plans to grow even more in the music scene.

It took one hit song to motivate him to keep on going and produce chart-toppers. His first hit song was Shesha, featuring fellow DJ, producer, and vocalist Njelic. This song has been featured on the international series I May Destroy You and the movie Coming to America 2. This has showed him that anything is possible. 

“I started producing back in 2012/2013. Back then, we mostly produced deep-house music and when the likes of MFR Souls started making something called ama45, where they could usually slow down popular house songs and bring down the BPM, that inspired Amapiano and the rest was history.”

The 25-year-old says he considers himself an all-rounder when it comes to production. His previous hits are all inspired by different sounds.

“On my new album you can tell that I tapped into more than what is called Amapiano, I touched a bit on Afro-House and Deep Tech, I played a lot around with Afro-pop and a bit of RNB with the toplines on some of the songs that one can consider love songs such as Emlanjeni and Jola,” he says.

The self-proclaimed “Landlord of Amapiano” says last year was an amazing one for him. He got his first number one on the radio charts and had five big songs namely Wamuhle, John Wick, Emlanjeni, Jola, and Liyoshona.

Read more | Rising star | Nomfundo Moh on the making of her debut album - 'I want to connect with people through music'

“I also opened my new record label called Ace Of Spades and have signed a couple of artists like Da Muziqal Chef. I love that I am in my own lane and that’s important for me, I am not trying to be number one but I want to be the best, my only competition is me.”

De Mthuda jokingly says he called himself the landlord because the other artists are his tenants.

“I think I am The Landlord because I move like one, very quiet, well respected and getting my money. Also, my fence is too high to be worried about my neighbours,” he says

With an EP and a collaborative album out, he is currently working on his full-length album which will feature the likes of Focalistic, Just Bheki, Nomfundo Moh, Da Muziqal Chef, Sir Trill, and the vocalist Sino Msolo.

“I didn’t choose the features, my landlord aka God brought us together. The inspiration was variety; we didn’t want to box ourselves when creating this album so we stretched ourselves and made songs for everyone. I am always going into the studio and making something that I feel is better and sounds better than what I produced the night before, or previously.”

He says this year he plans on going into the studio with rappers, Afro-pop artists, and the likes. He's also looking at working with international artists if his 'landlord' allows it.

“I am not worried about plaques and awards, I am here to do what God has sent me to do, and everything else will follow.”

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