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South African House Music King, Prince Kaybee

 Prince Kaybee [Courtesy]


You’re one of Africa’s most celebrated Electronic and Dance music producers and DJs. You are a champion in the Afro-House scene in South Africa. What has it been like from the start of your career till now?
It’s been amazing. But, I always stress the fact that South African House music is a foundation of something we do not own. I stress that House Music or Dance is a foreign language. The interesting thing about us is that we have managed to make it our own, in our unique way, own it in a sense, and it has worked for us. When I stress this, I’m just conscious of the fact that I don’t try to be like the foreign dance music, I always try to come up with Afro-House and show this side of the world. It’s really been an amazing journey, looking at everyone else that came before us, that are coming, our peers right now... It’s a beautiful scene to watch. How do you describe yourself away from the fame and the limelight? Honestly, on an everyday basis I’m just a normal guy. In fact, if I had things my way, I wouldn’t even take photo-shoots or do videos. I’d just want to be in my own space, at my own time, with the people I want to be with, with music of course. But unfortunately for us to be known, we must do these kinds of interviews, take photos, be in music videos, and do all these things. Away from the fame, I’m actually a 2 out 10 (laughs).
  If you could describe yourself in five words without ‘kind’, ‘loving’, ‘generous’, ‘musical’, and ‘hard-working’, what would it be? How is this even possible? (Laughs). This is impossible. Strong character, tough love, I’m really shy, but people don’t know this. In circles I’m unfamiliar with, this happens a lot. (Debates with his team about creative and hard-working before he settles for creative). I’m also very talkative.  Do you believe success has changed you in any sense? Yes, I don’t believe I’m successful to stay the same. The goal is not to stay the same. It has changed the way I look at things. I’m more prone to successful people, stories, people that want to be successful. Actually my circle, my background, or people that I’ve known for the longest time, if they’re not adding any value to my life, I don’t deal with them. So it has changed my life.  As a champion of Afro-House sounds in the South African music scene, what would you say are the elements of a good song in your world? I think a chorus makes a good song. The piano as well. There is no way I can make a good song without the piano in there. A build-up is fundamental to me as well, a dope build-up is it for me. I don’t like songs that have everything built up from the beginning; I like to start in bits and pieces like a foreplay. I like introducing the sounds then it gets to a climax. The past couple of months saw an influx of South African artistes in Kenya, riding on the Amapiano wave. Many in the industry worry that while the love is warranted, opening our doors to such huge numbers is harming our industry by making us take in less of our local music. What are your thoughts on this? Yo! (Sighs).  It’s a valid point. I do support that notion. The influx of South African music anywhere in Africa, you get to a point where you travel to a country like Tanzania and Kenya, you want them to play you their music, and it’s your music, and you’re like “Guys don’t you have your own stuff?” Psychologically, I understand it’s messing with these places’ artistes, and they might feel inferior, and also the overwhelming influx of our music is wiping out the local genres to a point where even when SA artistes come around, they want to hear the stuff the locals are making and they play back the stuff we’re making. It’s affecting these places negatively.     Let’s talk about the new project; your album, ‘The 4th Republic’ that dropped barely a fortnight ago. Break down the title for us: why ‘The 4th Republic’ and what should fans expect? ‘The 4th Republic’ is an album with 24 tracks and the title is so because I believe that my fans who have supported me since the beginning are a republic. So it’s time to dedicate an album to them as a present for being loyal Republicans. I’m the leader, and these are my fans, so we’re going to have a conversation through fire music. This is a new project, for me. I’m very nervous about it because sometimes when you’re in the game for a minute, people start saying you’re doing the same thing, or they just get bored or irritated. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I’m expecting big numbers from it. How did the process of creating this album differ from the hit-filled 2019 album ‘Rre Mmino’? It doesn’t differ that much. Sometimes you record in uncomfortable spaces. Sometimes you want to unearth new talent, and you have to go to them, and vice versa. The process for me, however, is pretty much the same. What’s different is the new artistes that come on board.  You selected Polaris (Pauline Wendo), a Kenyan artiste, to be on one of the tracks in ‘The 4th Republic’. Tell us how it happened that you linked up with her for the feature? I met Pauline on Twitter. I uploaded an instrumental a while back. She heard it, jumped on it, recorded, and uploaded it on Twitter. I saw it and it was love at first sight.
Your song “Urwongo” alongside Ami Faku, Shimza and Black Motion was one of the bright productions through a dark 2020. Former POTUS Barrack Obama even enlisted it as part of his annual playlist. How huge has it been for you? That was a big nod. One of the most important people in the world having an opinion about what we do was amazing. The track-list nod for me was amazing, although it didn’t have much impact on the numbers as I thought it would. But like I say, all the time, the world is watching. We just need to do more. You’re currently signed to Universal Music, and your song, “Fetch Your Life” was also listed on the ‘Coming 2 America’ soundtrack. Were you excited about that? Yes, I don’t think that song will ever expire or whatever the case, it’s just one of those songs. That song has achieved so much, and done so much for me and my fans. Shout out to Msaki and the beautiful words she wrote on the song and “Coming 2 America” soundtrack. What other Prince Kaybee song could go there! The song fits the bill and I’m excited about it. It’s unfortunate you will not be gracing our borders as expected since the pandemic. How have you been coping personally and professionally? What advice do you have for artistes that aren’t as established as you are, and perhaps didn’t generate as much bread to sustain them through the pandemic? It’s an unfortunate time, but the best thing you can do is to save your money, even if it’s not music income. We just don’t know how long it’s going to be here. I remember when this thing came out, I was at my peak when it comes to travelling, and that stream of income was just blocked by a snap of the fingers and I was so pissed off. It made me realise that anything could happen at any instance, so you must save your money. 
 Prince Kaybee [Courtesy]


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