Fri 22 May 2015, 15:26
Themba Nkosi, better known as DJ Euphonik, chats to CNN's African Voices; check it out!
“If you're in the position where you can inspire, even if it's one other person, hey, do it, because that one person could possibly go out there and change the world.”
In every city, there’s a buzz that has nothing to do with traffic noise or crowds. It’s the sound that gets feet moving and heads nodding. This is the true rhythm of a city – music.
This week, CNN’s African Voices meets three African artists who are bringing fresh flavour to the continent, from Euphonik, one of South Africa’s hottest EDM DJs, to a Namibian singer with a unique sound, to a band called Moticoma in Mozambique blending traditional beats with modern melodies.
Themba Nkosi, better known as DJ Euphonik, is one of South Africa’s hottest musicians. DJ, producer, radio host and entrepreneur, he has a worldwide following and has shared the stage with big name DJs such as Avicii, Skrillex and Afrojack.
On African Voices Nkosi shows CNN viewers his ‘Africa’ to uncover where his music comes from and what drives him.
Nkosi describes the first time he played to an audience telling African Voices: “When I was 14 years old a friend of mine, Michael, his sister was having a birthday party and he said you must come to my sister's house and DJ. I was just pressing stop, playing the next, pressing stop, playing the next. And I saw how people were reacting to the songs and I was like I don't know what this DJ thing is but I definitely want to do it. Then Michael's mom paid me 250 Rand which is 25 dollars, basically, to DJ at the party then I was like OK, this is what I love doing.” Turning this into to a career would take determination.
Nkosi takes African Voices back to the house he grew up in where it all began for him: “I've never forgotten that number, 7461. The house was tiny, it was a four bedroomed house. It was myself, my dad, my mother, my sister and our nanny that lived in our four bedroom house. Basically two rooms to sleep in, a TV room and a kitchen. No dining area.”
Now a superstar DJ, Nkosi describes his childhood as “fun”, telling African Voices: “I never used to worry about anything. My parents used to really protect us. For them education was everything. And fortunately they worked themselves to a position where I was able to go to a good school. I went to a school where I was one of very few black kids, so I went to school with a lot of white guys.”
It was around this time when Nkosi began refining his taste in music. He recalls to the programme: “I grew up listening to a whole eclectic mix of music and I think that's what's helped me with my style of music now.”
Nkosi took much inspiration from his parents. “My dad's always told me that what's mine is mine and you have to build and create your own things. So sweat your own sweat. And there's a saying in Zulu which means each man will basically reap the rewards of their own sweat,” he tells African Voices.
He takes viewers to his township where the rhythm, energy and its people are very much part of his core: “If you consider Times Square in NY, this is like the Times Square of the township basically. I don't live in the same hood but I visit my hood very, very, very often. It just resonates, be the same person.”
It is this attitude that prevents Nkosi from getting distracted from his music, telling African Voices: “You know the term celebrity for me is something that I absolutely loathe in my industry, especially because I feel like I do what I do because I love it and I'm passionate about it. I also don't hang around people that like gas me up too much that are like ah, Euphonik Euphonik Euphonik! I stay away from people that are Yes Men.”
Nkosi doesn’t see himself being a DJ forever, explaining to African Voices: “We all know that the industry is very short-lived, do I wanna be a 50-year-old DJ? Nahhhh. So I decided while I'm doing what I'm doing, let me get involved in other business interests, but also in line with the things that I'm passionate about.”
African Voices goes with Nkosi to his clothing store, Debut, which he says he opened because he “Wanted to create something where if internationals came to South Africa they could say this t-shirt I bought from a store in South Africa.”
Nkosi is also passionate about his love for Africa. He confesses to African Voices: “I travel, I get to see other people view Africa. Africa definitely isn't a jungle. It's one of the most beautiful continents out of all continents, and I've travelled a bit so I can say this.”
He describes the importance of cross cultural platforms that begin with individuals telling African Voices: “I need to be Euphonik from South Africa. And bring my own flavour from my own country from my own people, and take that to the rest of the world so that my own people are proud of me when whatever I'm doing is on that global stage.”
Nkosi hopes to inspire others, telling the programme: “A lot of people need hope and we need to be the people that give people hope. And if you're in the position where you can inspire, even if it's one other person, hey, do it, because that one person could possibly go out there and change the world. You know?”
African Voices featuring DJ Euphonik airs on Saturday 23 May at 04:30 and 16:30.
Tune in to CNN on DStv channel 401.