Themba Sekowe aka DJ Maphorisa, born in Soshanguve, Pretoria is now internationally recognized with works spanning over various genres. The producer and DJ worked on Drake’s “One Dance”, Mafikizolo’s "Khona", “Ngud” by Kwesta featuring Cassper Nyovest and the hit “Soweto Baby” featuring Wizkid and DJ Buckz.
We caught up with the producer:
How did you get into music?
It started a long time ago. I come from a very musical family and a gospel background. My uncle played the keys and sang at church, and my other uncle played drums and my aunts sang. So I was always surrounded by music. I started DJing in high school during beauty pageants and around the township for first birthday parties.
Which DJ inspired you to join the industry?
I was inspired by this guy who was big back then in Soshanguve; he was called DJ Corry The Groove. My crew and I would follow him everywhere he played. But, they’d get there and party and dance. I’d just sit and watch him play. I was inspired by how he worked the turntables; it looked really cool. I also listened to a lot of other musicians and artists like Black Coffee, Caphius Semenya, Vusi Mahlasela and Thandiswa Mazwai.
When would you say your music career began?
It began when I got paid for the first time. I played at a New Year’s Eve bash and I got paid only R1500 but it felt great. I remember at that time, “Umlilo” by Big Nuz was the biggest song. But, I started playing around with beats in grade 10 when I got my first computer and was hooked.
What inspires your beats?
Everything that is around me inspires me. I’m always moving with the times and making something trendy, something new, and something that hasn’t been tried before. This is why I can be such a versatile producer. I don’t want to stick to one sound. I want people to be surprised by my work it’s like when ‘Ngud’ dropped people were surprised it was me. I don’t want to be boxed in.
What’s the story behind your name?
I look exactly like my father; he was a policeman and kids used to be scared of him. They started calling me Maphorisa and it just kind of stuck.
How did you get to work with Drake, Wizkid, Trey Songz and the likes?
Those relationships actually came about because of ‘Khona’ and ‘Y-Tjukutja’ and how big they were on the continent. It got people to notice me and wanted to work with me. People heard the new sound I was bringing and I got a call from Wizkid and we did ‘In my bed’. Then I also started working with Davido and Akon; so it just grew from there. I knew working with Wizkid was big deal and I had to build a good relationship with him, I’ve met a lot of people through him.
Are you working on an album?
Yes I’m definitely working on an album. It should drop in six weeks; hopefully by October. But right now I’m excited about my new single ‘Midnight starring’ featuring DJ Tira, Busiswa and Moonchild produced by myself, Rude Boyz and Distruction Boyz.