- There is no doubt that South African electronic music is enjoying a huge wave of popularity across the world and one of the leading lights of the Afro-House movement will showcase his latest album in Nairobi next month.
- Multi-award-winning musician DJ and producer Prince Kaybee counts Barack Obama among his fans after the former US president included his song “Uwrongo” in his playlist of favourite tracks of 2020.
There is no doubt that South African electronic music is enjoying a huge wave of popularity across the world and one of the leading lights of the Afro-House movement will showcase his latest album in Nairobi next month.
Multi-award-winning musician DJ and producer Prince Kaybee counts Barack Obama among his fans after the former US president included his song “Uwrongo” in his playlist of favourite tracks of 2020.
“I remember when the news broke, I was performing in Zambia and when I got off stage my name was trending on Twitter,” he said in an exclusive interview with BDLife, ahead of his performance in Nairobi next month. “Uwrongo” also made it on the list of the Top 10 songs of 2020 by US publication TIME Magazine. Prince Kaybee is currently receiving huge global attention with his song “Fetch Your Life” on the soundtrack to the new film “Coming to America 2” starring Eddie Murphy.
Prince Kaybee will be in Kenya next month as part of a tour to promote his new album “The 4th Republic”, released globally on March 15, 2021.
He says that while the foundation of electronic music is foreign, South African artistes have managed to make it their own by introducing elements that are unique to their style.
“Whether it’s kwaito, Mzansi House, or the current popular variant of amapiano, the revolution is dynamic and very interesting and the artists are big on ownership of their music. It is very competitive and we'll see who will still be around 10 years from now,” he said.
The current trend of South Africa amapiano sweeping across many countries, he says, is a challenge for the industry in those countries to promote their own rather than aping what is happening in other parts of the world.
“I want to get to Kenya and hear your stuff, not have you playing South African music back to me.”
Kenyan artiste Polaris is among the featured artistes on the album and as Kaybee explains, their connection took place via Twitter after she recorded her vocals over some beats that he had uploaded online.
“She jumped on it, and uploaded the song back online and when I heard her voice, it was love at first sight.”
He chooses to work with talented artists who are just emerging and showing promise for greatness, like Polaris.
“Some artistes are still raw and just need a bit of shaping and that is a struggle I am happy to undertake with the new talent.”
He admits being nervous because fans have high expectations of the album and catering to a diverse fan base means that he had to balance between those that like a mainstream sound and fans who prefer a sound that is a little more cutting edge."
“I believe that the fans that have supported me are my republic and so I have dedicated this fourth album of my career to them for their loyalty, hence the title,” says Kaybee, adding that “I would like us to have a conversation via music.
The album artwork was a result of a contest he organised among fans which attracted a massive response so he created a collage of the different fans imprinted on his face, symbolising a relationship with his fans. He says the Obama nod was a huge boost to his career.
“This is one of the most important people in the world having an opinion about what we do. The world is watching South African music and we need to do more,” he says.
The pandemic has offered important lessons because the coronavirus hit when he was at the peak of his career travelling and performing and at the ‘snap of the finger’ that stream of income was shut.
“You never know what could happen at any given time so you must always save some of the money you earn.”
He is optimistic that all the positive reviews will translate into millions of streams of his new album: “I want people to stream this album like it's the last album on earth,” he says with a laugh.
Fans of Prince Kaybee in Kenya can look forward to April 24, when he will be playing a set from his new album at the Captain's Terrace Restaurant overlooking the Nairobi National Park on Mombasa Road. The concert will feature an opening set by Kenyan Afro House DJ/Producer Saint Evo.