house music · Interviews · music business · music industry

DJ XTEE Music2Deal Interview

Kagiso Mokgari aka DJ Xtee is a very outgoing, outspoken and friendly musician that loves to interact with young people. He uses his motivational skills to help them alter their way of thinking so that they can build a positive future for themselves. Music is the only language that he understands clearly – it brings people of different cultures together.

Restrictions do not exist in this sought-after DJ/ Producer.  House Music is the specific genre he loves producing, even more specifically Deep, Tribal, Soulful, Dance, Electronic and Jazz House. The only exception being Classical/ Soulful Hip Hop (Conscious Hip Hop).

DJ Xtee is part of a global movement called Ancestral Voices that focuses on African spirituality. He’s part of the music team for a very successful documentary titled Spirit is Eternal that’s currently being selected for an award and screening at the Pan-African Film Festival (PAFF) in California L.A

His anticipated album entitled Africa Elements Vol. 1 which features the likes of Dumarokar, Lims and Nubia Soul has been released under ARON PRINCE ENTERTAINMENT from the grounds of New York. African Elements Vol.1 was recently featured on several international compilations such as:

Smooth and Groovy Vol.8

Cut in deeper vol.1,

Deep house to the club,

My Soulful Sunday vol.3 and

Sommergeschichte-3.

 

His work has propelled him forward exposing him to more influential musicians around the world gaining international access to radios, print media and getting to music remix for top record labels and artists in USA

 

kagiso DJX

When did your relationship with music start?

It started to show back in 2004 when I was still in school. Whenever there was an event, I always excelled. Back then and even today still, drama; choir; poetry and music are my favourites. Art is my gift from The Most High.

From way back then, I was learning the basics of production, with production software being the very first thing I learnt. After a few years I went onto learning to play various music instruments from two pastors, both very good in various instruments. Pastor Mpuru taught me music theory and gave me some advanced lessons on Piano. Pastor Malatji continued teaching me Piano and more several keys on it. In later stages he started teaching me how to play lead guitar. I was very lucky to meet David Moore the CEO of Paratebrain Records, a very good producer from USA, who helped me with mixing and mastering. Also how to work with vocals when doing remixes, especially time stretching.

Aron Prince from Aron Entertainment in USA also came into the picture when he signed my album. Teaching me important business aspects, also giving me serious access to serious platforms I needed to be independent.

Today after 10 years of experience in the industry, I have managed to push my production to the next level. I have managed to do remixes for top house artists, all seven songs in my album were features in international compilations released by top Record labels across the world. Many producers and deejays are currently pushing my music in major clubs globally. Most music from my album and that from my Record Label have being playlisted in various radios in USA, UK, CHINA, Italy and Ukraine. So far by one button click, you can get Djxtee’s music on every major platform online.

 

Who have you worked with in the industry?

I have worked with various artists – both local and international – such as Lemogang Mahlangu (Lims), Palesa Moatshe, Dumisane Nkosi (Dumarokar), Nubia Soul and many more.

On the international platform I have worked with Anthony Delpiano from Italy, DJ Vibes from the UK and Ferry Terry from Italy.

My production also got the thumbs up from some of South Africa’s Music’s Pioneers especially House Music  – the likes of DJ Clive Bean, DJ Qt, DJ Kanunu and Thulane The Warrior.  This includes the mixes like “it’s time to think about it” which I did for Piratebrain Records and Audiobites Records. The artists under such labels are Mr V, David Moore, and Roland Clark and many more.

 

Tell us about some of the work you have released so far?

I released 4 “Deep House promo tracks” with international artists in 2014 which got 6700 Downloads under various music websites. I did a lot of remixes for David Moore and Aron Prince. I have produced a lot of music from my records label for the following artists: Tizurs Blaze I produced both his hip hop songs. I produced a beautiful song that is dedicated to Africa featuring most deepfam records artists. I did 4 beautiful afro house songs with Dumarokar and Nubia Soul, including Dumarokar’s his new single “The Rhythm”. I have produced two songs on Nubia Soul’s album, and also did several remixes for her.

 

What is coming?

I am working on some music featuring local upcoming artists and producers across Mzansi. This year will be releasing a lot of music from my label including all its sub labels. I will also be dropping another album independently from my label, featuring talented from Nigeria, South Africa and USA. A lot of music videos, Documentaries and short films will be released featuring Djxtee.

 

What type of music do you produce?

Any feeling that I can translate into a beat, I simply do it.

 

What else do you do besides making music?

I studied IT Internet Engineering/Network management and a short course in business management and entrepreneurship. I currently co-own a call centre and marketing facility company in Pretoria. I am now the owner of my own record label DEEPFAM RECORDS. Music is the heart and soul of my life.

 

What do you look for in someone you want to collaborate with?

I look for a spiritual artist, someone that takes music as a healer of all wounds. Someone that can create timeless music that will continue build and inspire others that follow his or her music. Some that was born for music, not individuals that take changes because they have access the next thing they have disappeared with one song released. I’m looking for conscious writers with serious lyrical content. People that write music about our everyday challenges in life. Musicians that story tell by the means of Poetry and music. The ones that respect the most High’s created healing power that ease one’s soul.

 

What do you look for in an artist before you sign them?

Normally we prefer artists that suit our repertoire, Deepfam Records is a conscious movement that focuses on story telling music and conscious lyrical content.

 

What do you think are some mistakes young up & coming artists who want to be signed are making?

Their biggest downfall is that they want to be signed! Not even understanding the meaning of this words “Record Deal” and how things work. Many young artists don’t even know what are performance rights or even an ISRC code. What is it that the publishing company do; they don’t even know the types of contracts they sign every day. They mast know and understand the business side of this industry, if not they going to crash easily. Take advice from the best in this game, I didn’t make CEO by night fall. I have learned from the best with respect and patience by following instruction. Young upcoming artists need to know the industry they are dealing with. You can’t be in an industry and not understand a thing – it’s a disaster. It’s like trying to cross a highway with your eyes closed.

 

What are some of the difficulties in starting up a small record label?

Every business need something called “Capital” in business terms. Without proper funding and resources, everything will be a challenge. A record label has to have a backup of Public Relations personals, Video teams, band members, road managers, and sound engineers you name them. All of this doesn’t come cheap. Sometimes I often see promising record label that lack talent. But have a lot of people claiming to be artists. When it’s time to put in the work and implement, people disappear.

 

Why did you decide to become an ambassador of music2deal?

Three words I LOVE IT, I have never seen such a big online platform that’s only dedicated to music. And to make things more interesting is that they don’t ask you money. While you can access artists globally and collaborate, maybe sign your next major deal. It’s a cool platform I think every artist should just jump in and access endless information about music related business and information they always need.

 

Music2Deal Profile: Kagiso Mokgari aka DJ Xtee

 

 

 

English · Interviews · music business · music industry

Meet Sheridan Rupert – SA Representative to Music2Deal – a music professional obsessed with people development and systems

Sheridan Rupert is in the music business in South Africa and has always had an inherent interest in the development of people. But she hasn’t always been in the music business. She started playing piano at the age of 5 and studied through Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College throughout primary school. She attended the Johannesburg School of the Arts from 1985 to 1989 where music was her speciality and majored in piano and organ (through Unisa).

After school she completed her performer’s diploma through Trinity College and tutored beginners in her spare time. This creative also dropped out of law school – the signs were always there that a creative environment is where she belonged.

After nearly 2 decades in corporate, she ventured into the music industry in 2015, volunteering her services so that she could learn.

During her time in corporate she was always in an HR/ Training & Development Role and particularly in the last 6 years of those, strongly focused on career development (succession planning) and database development (she designed a learner management system).

These have always been her natural tendencies, which is why she naturally landed up doing that in the music industry.

The last 2 years she spent as an artist manager, mostly in a voluntary capacity, to understand the music industry and gain experience under her company, Slight Edge Events, which was registered in 2017.

She is currently on the Kumisa Artist Management Programme (2017) which covers music law, contracts and other areas of the music industry essential for any artist manager to be an expert in. KUMISA, the KwaZulu-Natal United Music Industry Association, is a non-profit, regional music industry organisation that aims to serve and represent the interests of the music industry in KZN, nationally and internationally.

 

Sheridan

 

What were the main difficulties you experienced getting into the industry?

The main difficulties are getting access into an existing eco-system, where people don’t’ know you and don’t’ know if they can trust you. It’s also difficult coming into a system where it seems as though there isn’t enough work for everyone. Any newcomer is not exactly welcomed, you become a bit of a threat. To get into the system, I did volunteer work of any kind I could find. People are not eager to teach. So I learned by doing. I think this is how everyone starts and you can believe it when I tell you I had egg on my face on far too many occasions. It wasn’t easy, but it was probably the best years of my life.

 

How has the artist management programme changed things for you?

I will forever be grateful to Kumisa for granting me the opportunity to learn as I would not have been able to afford this one-year programme. If you are an artist manager or a professional in this business, you know how much there is to know. This course has changed my life in every possible way.

When you are new in an industry, it seems that everyone around you knows more than you do, and you kind of get sucked into a system where people appear to know what they are talking about, but don’t really know.

It frightens me that musicians don’t’ know about royalties and copyright and if I had my wish about the difference I make in the industry, it would be in that area, making sure musicians are educated.

Having studied now and learning everyday has changed my confidence. It has changed how I work and who I work with.  I have also come to value my work.

After managing people for 2 years, I also know that I would not like to manage people full time. I don’t’ have the right personality. I would far rather be involved in designing the career plan and milestones for an artist. Ensuring that they develop holistically, be psychologically prepared for what’s coming and how to cope in the industry. Selecting strategic festivals and people to meet. And then make sure they each teach one 😊

 

If we gave you a magic wand, what would you create?

A music centre in Durban. A gigantic building with many spaces for a few recording studios, rooms for photoshoots and video shoots, skype calls, coaching rooms, lecture rooms, boardrooms, administration offices, individual computer terminals. A one-stop shop to get your music business set up. A building that would have musicians coming in and out all day, providing services which don’t cost an arm and a leg. More professional education available on a more regular basis. I believe that the whole game changes when certain information and services become available to EVERYONE and not the select few. Like the change that happened in the world when the internet came into being. All of sudden the information hoarders were not so powerful. You could find anything you want by simply googling it. We still have far too many musicians who don’t know what they don’t know. I want that to change and I will work to change it.

 

You still have the magic wand. What would you have done differently if you had to do the last 2 years over?

I would have gone to Kumisa earlier – I would have banged down their door until they put me on a programme. Nothing else. As much my lessons were painful ones and I lost a lot of money, the experience is priceless.

 

You’ve been using Music2Deal for 6 months now – can you describe your experience.

I volunteered to market the system because I could bring my passion for connecting with people  together with my passion for marketing. Your network is your currency and it is not possible to get anything done in this industry if you don’t know who are the right people to speak to. This system made that happen for me. However, it wasn’t really until my 3rd month that I started to realise it’s power. When the realisation hit me of what was possible, it’s like a new energy came about in marketing it – that new energy is because I was selling my experience now and not a system. I would honestly not continue to market something which doesn’t work for me. Music2Deal is one of the best things to happen to me which is why I work on it every day.

 

What else does Slight Edge Events do?

I have one artist manager working with me – she is managing one artist. My focus has changed to quality over quantity. I mean at one point there were 22 artists and my little car – I really did have my head in the clouds for a while and I won’t ever forget those times or the poor musicians sardined in my car with the blaring music.

I currently offer an administrative service to musicians in terms of music registration and online music platforms, which include online stores. I also assist them in writing biographies and basically consult on getting the basics in place like social media presence etc.

I do event support in terms of promotion, photography and videography. Although I am not a qualified photographer and videographer, I do these for artists who could never afford to get anyone to do it for them. My job is to get a clear performance which shows the artist’s stage presence. I leave the fancy stuff for the video gurus.

I spend the rest of my waking moments updating my database of blogs, media and radio and get an absolute thrill every time I use my database.

 

Where can we find you on social media?

Facebook personal https://www.music2deal.com/za/KUrGphv5MmvjHfcDZ067sGQkufA

Facebook personal: https://www.facebook.com/SheridanSlightEdgeEvents/

Facebook Company Page: https://www.facebook.com/SlightEdgeEvents/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWQJLqneNv67z0-cGH4vKfw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sheridanrupert_slightedge/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheridanrupert/