PRODUCER and disc spinner, Sechaba “Sir Schaba” Moqoko says he will not rest until the majority of local artistes start to make a decent living from their work.
“For a long time, Basotho artists have been lamenting the failure to receive royalties for their music to a point where we cannot say we are artistes with careers but merely people engaged in their hobbies,” said Sir Schaba who is also Vice President of the Lesotho Music Rights Association.
“LMRA is committed to ensuring that musicians get the recognition they deserve and we can achieve that goal by working with government.”
The Ha Leqele-born Sir Schaba started making music in 1992 while still in high school.
“I have always loved House music and when I started collecting music was a hustle and we were able to get by ‘dubbing’ on cassettes from Radio Metro and Bop Radio.
“One would be lucky to have friends studying in Botswana who would bring new releases every time they came home for holidays.
“I learned to mix during that time and one would have to connect two radios to the same speakers to allow songs to blend or play simultaneously.”
He further told this publication that he started considering music as a career in 2000 while studying Electrical Engineering at Technical College of Free State (now Central University of Technology).
“I wanted to be an electrical engineer but I always had that passion of music and would collect vinyls which cost M70 at the time.
“During my spare time I would shadow a resident DJ at a club which was called La Freek and then I started getting recognized by the crowd. From there we moved to the Club Absolute as my love for playing grew stronger.
“I graduated in 2006 and worked for Eskom (South African electricity supplier) as a senior technician but never stopped playing music. While my colleagues would wait impatiently for their salaries on month ends I would be having a lot to spend from the gigs I would have had on weekends.
“It was never about fame or money for me and I remained true to house music even when other genres gained popularity.”
He said he finally returned home in 2010 to help develop the music industry, adding, “But the question that lingered in my mind was how I would make a living in a non-existent industry”.
“I knew there was a lot of talent in the country that lacked resources and I decided it would be a blessing to be part of the struggle as I would take pride when our industry had developed to be a paying one.
“I then launched Maseru Beach Party in 2011 as an event which would accommodate different artistes. I had given it a five-year shelf-life and the first three editions did well but attendances declined in the last two so had to stop it.”
In 2013 Sir Schaba was appointed to the panel of judges of the Vodacom Superstar Competition and in the same year he released his debut offering Opulance lesson 1 which featured local artistes such as Mapule, Linkeng and Hunky D.
The album won him the Best Newcomer and Best Compilation at the Ultimate Music Awards in 2014.
That year, he also established his record label YME Music and signed rapper Mega Hertz as his first artiste.
Last year he was selected by the US Embassy Maseru to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) that was held at Stanford University in the United States 22 to 24 June.
He was also presented with an honorary award for his contribution in music at the Fashion Meets Music Awards in November 2016. He is also working on an online music store (YME Tunes).
“YME Tunes was supposed to be launched last year in August but since we are working together with telecommunications giants in the country we are still yet to iron out a few things and hopefully by September this year it will be up and running.
“Much like iTunes and Traxsource, YME Tunes will enable Basotho musicians to sell their music online with buyers paying through mobile phone-based money transfer services such as M-Pesa and Ecocash.
“I have also inked a distribution deal with Canadian company NHR to make it easier for Basotho artistes working with YME to get their music recognised globally.”
Sir Schaba recently released a single, Changes featuring songstress Mapule. The track is currently receiving airplay on local radio stations with the video having over 11 000 views on Facebook within a week of its release.