Zané van der Vyer, better known as SoulSista, is a South African DJ/Artist who plays everything from Soul, old school Hip Hop to House music. She has played in India, Singapore, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and was the host DJ during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
SoulSista was in Nairobi last weekend to play her first ever gig in the country at the “High Fashion, Dance, Mingle” show organised by events company Just Like That.
Bill Odidi caught up with her just before her performance at a club in Westlands to find out more about her style on the decks.
Why do you use the stage name SoulSista? What does it say about your personality as a DJ?
The people of the townships in Pretoria where my career started gave it to me. They told me Sista you got Soul and the name stuck.
What are your expectations on this first visit to Kenya?
I’m very excited to perform in Kenya as it has been a dream of mine to experience your beautiful country, your culture and your food and flavours. I am grateful to have received an invite from Just Like That Ltd.
How were you contacted for this gig?
Sonu Sharma, the Managing Director for Just Like That Ltd” contacted me back in 2012 and mentioned that she would like to host me in Kenya. Well, things happen when it’s time and here I am.
You have the ability to play a specific genre of music that is popular to a given fan base, so what will you be playing for the Nairobi crowd?
The invaluable opportunity to experience different cultures all over the world, accompanied by reading the response of very diverse and interesting crowds gathered on dance floors all over the world have inspired my current music choices.
I see a notable underlying alignment and an obvious awareness on current trends as it runs parallel with the general movement underlying all sectors of Pop-Culture. Each and every set I create is memorable, all of them are special.
Be it an intimate gig or up on a massive stage, all gigs are made up of different flavours. However, when I create the right atmosphere, the crowd in turn gives me back just the right energy.
How do you prepare for gigs in different parts of the world?
I always try to bring the African essence into any dance floor I perform at. But at the same, I research the kind of venue, the type of event and make sure everything is perfect.
Has the concept of the modern DJ evolved into that of an artiste/producer/performer?
As in all sectors, it always keeps evolving. We, as artists, have to put on many different hats and grow with the technology that is changing at a rapid pace globally.
Does house music which is so popular in South Africa overshadow other genres like hip hop and kwaito?
South Africa is one of the top five consumers of House music world wide, but it doesn’t overshadow the other genres. I would say each of them complement one another, and brings a different flavour.
What is the sound that we can expect once you complete production of your first ever album?
Expect the African roots in there with a new refined SoulSista sound - very groovy.
Are you playing some of the new songs at the Nairobi show?
Yes, I’m going to try some unreleased tracks on the Kenyan dance floor and would love to see the reaction of the crowd to my own productions.
Your Facebook page has a banner saying: one Africa for all Africa. How important is that message to you as an artiste in light of the xenophobia attacks in South Africa?
This message is extremely important as I have a voice and a platform to speak up. As Africans, we must unite against these horrendous acts of violence, we are all human first.