Katleho Tshola building own music legacy

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Mamohlakola Letuka

AN APPLE does not fall far from the tree, and this one apt depiction of musician Kat-law, born Katleho Tshola, whose passions have led him straight into the footsteps of his father.

Son to renowned jazz musician, Tshepo Tshola, Kat-law is the youngest son to the Village pope as his father is popularly known.

While he has not ploughed directly into the furrows of his father’s jazz, the young artiste is slowly carving his niche as a rapper.

The 28-year-old rapper said he first fell in love with hip hop while he was still in Johannesburg when he first heard the track Ammunition by Mr Selwyn featuring Proverb and has never looked back since.

“My love for hip was born in 2001 in Johannesburg when I first heard Ammunition and I just related to the sound more than other genres,” Kat-law said.

He said then hip hop was the only culture in the belly of the gold city where they lived and convincing his parents to follow the genre was tough although the eventually yielded.

“Rap culture was the heart and soul of Johannesburg down town at the time and my parents did not take it well but they later let me follow my dream.

“My older brother was also a rapper and he made the situation much easier for me because he had introduced the family to hip hop,” he said.

The artiste said being exposed to music all his life made it easier to penetrate the market.

Earlier in school some unrecognised passion had led him into sitting in the entertainment committee while he also participated in the school choir.

He attests, although it had never been coordinated, he has been a performer most of his life and he gives credit to his family for boosting his confidence.

“It is amazing being in a musical family. I see so much of the industry that most people will never experience and meet amazing people who have shaped me.

“Being the youngest is just a cherry on top. I can learn from my elders’ mistakes and grow from them. It has made me a bit smarter and more vigilant at what to do and not to do,” Kat-law said.

The artiste feels lucky that he is surrounded by people who understand the industry better than he does and says that helps him to become a better artiste.

However, being a legend’s son, he is expected to work harder and not expect his name to open doors for him.

“I have to work just as hard as the next person. Obviously, the industry caters for hard work more than talent at this stage so not even my name is enough. I have to hustle to be noticed like everyone else and I prefer it that way,” Kat-Law said.

In 2010 he released a mixtape with Bataung Moeketsi, popularly known as T.U.R.K titled Next and has since then been releasing singles. In 2012 he won the Vodacom superstars and is compiling an extended play (EP) titled Heir to the throne.

He however, said he has put aside his EP to focus on the family album that will be dropping soon.

“I am working on the Tshola Legacy album with my dad and brother so the EP will only come afterwards.”

He said like every son, he has always dreamt of working with his father and prides himself in seeing a father when the rest see an icon.

“He is just my dad. He always has been dad more than the legend. It is great working together because I can genuinely be myself around him because he is a vibrant character so we are more like friends in the studio.

“He gives me advice and we vibe (understand each other) and create something special every time because he encourages my creativity,” he said.

While he has seen the greatest artistes on stage including his father, he attests, the stage is the most nerve wrecking part of his career while it is also most cherished.

“The stage has to be the scariest and at the same time most amazing especially with my dad because he is incredible on stage. His aura is undeniable and all you can do at that point is follow when he leads,” Kat-law said.

Speaking on the challenges that the local music industry is faced with, the musician said his return home has made him realise that music culture in the country is in its infancy and requires branding.

He said that the fact that foreign artistes are paid more than local acts shows disrespect to the local craft.

“The fact that an artiste from outside our borders gets paid more than locals is disappointing and to a certain extent extremely disrespectful to our craft.”

“I have noticed that to be taken seriously by promoters you have to create a following outside the borders which says a lot about how we look at ourselves as the entertainment industry.

“The government needs to step in and assist us to brand our musicians as well as the arts and culture industry as a whole,” Kat-law said.

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