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Damario takes career to new heights

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — He is better known as Lefate’s other half whose love-life was once blamed for the group’s nasty break-up in 2010.
But make no mistake, the 32-year-old Lethapa Tikiso has long put the Lefate saga behind him and is making waves in the music industry.
Damario, as Tikiso is affectionately known, is now the head of Mokorotlo Galaxy Entertainment and has since released a 14 track solo album, My Journey.
The album was released last year and is receiving enormous airplay on the local radio stations.
The Khubetsoana born singer, songwriter and producer is also a one of the men behind the Mokorotlo genre.
“I started music in 1993 as an R’nB, afro-pop and house vocalist working with the likes of DJ Phyzix, the late Tsidoski and Lemeke.”
“I used to make music and perform for the ladies. I also learned how to produce music as well as making beats,” the muso told Xpress People.
Damario said the trio introduced him to live performances and ‘the celebrity life.’
“I performed live at various events until 1995, leaving my mark and then I met Molibeli (Stlofa) Mokake who lived in the same neighbourhood and we exchanged our music.”
Damario’s meeting with Stlofa soon turned into a fortune and a year later Lefate was born and the group released a six-track untitled album.
“We clicked so well and in 1996 we recorded an untitled demo with six tracks featuring a song called Lefate.
“We soon decided on the name of the group and that is how Lefate was born,” he reminisced.
The two musos met as independent artists with different talents which blended so well that they soon became the talk of the town.
The muso said he worked as a songwriter along his former band member but exercised his production love and made beats for the Mokorotlo outfit.
“Our music was received very positively but at the time, the name Lefate was perceived in a negative way so it took a while for people to get used to it. It was even worse for radio presenters to say the name on air.”
Damario said after the release of their first Experimental Project (EP) Life is like a lie, “We were almost unstoppable, performing at big events and ended up winning the 2007 Lesotho Haeso Music Awards’ best kwaito competition.”
“In the mist of all the shine, I left the group to pursue a career at the National Security Service (NSS).”
That however did not stop Lefate to continue making music.
“Molibeli tried to find “other Damarios” while I was away and continued to make Lefate bigger.”
Damario said his thirst of singing couldn’t leave him alone.
“I couldn’t contain a serious job so I quit (NSS) and returned to the group. In 2008 we joined BAM Promotions and recorded our first official album, Ha le lapa lea solla, a 14 track album celebrating 14 years of friendship and marriage in music.”
He said 2008 was a year of success, trials and tribulations for Lefate and the friendship was put to the test.
“In 2008 and 2009 Lefate was at the peak of its career and we were starting to see things differently, from the friends we kept to our views in approaching our music.”
Apart from the differences, there were individual issues at the workplace which took a toll on the group which led to its collapse in 2010, Damario said.
“In the end my love-life was blamed for Lefate’s breakup which was unfair,” he gushed.
“It was a moment in my life where I was really torn apart because the differences affected our friendship; it caused confusion among our supporters and I had to always give my side of the story regarding the breakup, it took me a while to deal with everything,” he said.
He said he was already working on his solo project way before Lefate’s troubles.
“Before Lefate troubles I was already working on my solo project and when the breakup loomed I decided to concentrate on the release of My Journey while producing for other local artists.”
Damario has earned his name in the production table after he worked on Zone 3, Rumo la Koebe’s albums.
He is currently working on Tshedi’s soul full album and DJ Phyzix’s house album.
“I have matured in the process. I am now able to keep my private life out of the public while I make independent decisions without consulting anyone,” he said. I however miss what used to be Lefate.”
Damario said being in the music industry has also helped him to help develop aspiring artists to reach their prime time.
“Hence most of the time I give beats to local cats that really need them but I also sell the beats to maintain the standard in the music industry.”
Damario said releasing his solo album had “brought him closer to his spiritual side.”
“The role I play in music is deeper than just performing. I have learned that many local artists look up to me,” he said.
He said the music industry still faces many challenges. His second album will be released in November while a single track will be available in August.

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