Rising Star DJ Tso on quitting his job, dancing and venturing into music

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DJ Tso released his first single in April this year
DJ Tso released his first single in April this year

He watched people live his dream while he danced in the background, knowing one day he will be centre-stage. 

Kgomotso Zukani, known as DJ Tso, has worked as a dancer for one of South Africa's famous music duos, Mafikizolo. Deep down, he wanted to be on the frontlines as a musician, not just dancing in the background. 

The 35-year-old from Krugersdorp has made a name for himself in the West Rand and is now ready to venture out and spread his wings across South Africa. 

"I grew up loving music. In primary school I used to sing and then I became a dancer and that’s when I fell in love with DJing," he tells Drum. 

Although it has taken him longer than he anticipated to start his music career, he says it was all worth the patience.

Before deciding to fully focus on his place in the entertainment industry, he was a personal assistant but quit to be a full-time dancer, but when things were bad financially, he thought of finding a job again. He got one and quit on the first day, closing that door forever to focus on his God-given talents. 

"There was a time when things were financially hard and I got an interview at a Casino and they took me right away and I had to start training as a barman. On my first day when lunch came, I went to the canteen, I saw an exit and I went home. It felt like I was giving up on my dream," he says. 

"It was really not for me, because I just grew up liking music. In primary school I sang in school choirs and in high school I started dancing," he adds.

Quitting his job motivated him to build his brand and work even harder. Lucky for him, he knew the who's who in the industry, but still he had to put in the work. 

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Before dancing for Mafikizolo, he was a dancer for musician Nhlanhla Nciza during her solo career. She took him under her wing and eventually signed him under her record label, Home Based Records.

But having connections and knowing the right people in the industry didn't make his journey easy. "I had to prove myself, they needed to see me do what I love," he says. 

Nhlanhla saw his show in Krugersdorp before signing him. 

"He has always has been a DJ, always had the love of music and Deejaying, and he has been patient. Year after year he always reminded me that he wants to do music, but I told him I wanted to be ready to put all my effort into his project before we can begin," Nhlanhla says. Her goal is to shine the spotlight on West Rand upcoming artists. 

"I wanted to be that ladder they can use to reach their dreams" - Nhlanhla Nciza

"I have always been that one person who wants to open up the industry to young talent especially in the West Rand because I feel like there's a lot of talent that South Africa doesn’t know about. I wanted to be that ladder they can use to reach their dreams," she says. 

"That’s my main objective, I have learned from the likes of DJ Tira."

The Ngeke Balunge hitmaker has been working with artists such as 2pm DJs in her bid to expose as much talent as she can from the area.

"Kagiso especially and the most of the West Rand, people don’t know about it. They don’t know where Kagiso is and it's always been my goal to uplift the talent and try to expose it, just like people know there's a Konka in Soweto, there's Gravity in Kagiso and many other cool places," she says. 

DJ Tso is over the moon. He released his first single, Umdali. “I’ve been wanting it for so long it feels like a dream. Nhlanhla pushes me very hard,” he says. 

“I just want to give people good music, make music that will last forever. I don’t want to be someone that people see and forget about. When I started music, my aim was to make people dance, I can’t be behind the decks and bore people and I can’t be there and play for myself because these people are the ones that make us, that’s what sets me apart, I give people what they want," the musician says. 

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DJ Tso is calling on everyone in the industry to support emerging artists and for those who can, to mentor them and give them opportunities. He also calls on upcoming artists to put in the work and not just focus on fame.

"Nhlanhla didn’t just say let's work, I had to nag and plead for years for her to attend one of my gigs. When she finally saw and gave me a chance, things finally looked up. We need to give young talent a chance," he says. 

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