Local artistes have to up their game
LOCAL artistes need to be innovative to remain relevant or risk being left out.
This was said by rising deck master DJ Kopper in a recent interview with the Xpress People.
DJ Kopper is one of the performers on a stellar line-up which includes superstars Oliver Mtukudzi and Tshepo Tshola and a host of other stars scheduled to perform at the forthcoming Lesotho Times Fanfest scheduled for 3 November 2018 at Setsoto Stadium.
Other artistes scheduled to perform on the day are AKA, Kwesta, Thami, Amanda Black, Lerato Kganyago, Nasty C and Lady Zamar among many others. The event has been organised to celebrate Lesotho Times’ over a decade of service to the country.
The disc jockey said he was thrilled to be part of the hefty line-up and said he is readying his act for performance of a lifetime.
DJ Kopper said the showbiz scene is highly dynamic and often local musicians get left behind because of lack of diligence and lack of gate keeping.
He said most musicians concentrate on building celebrity images before they polish their music resulting in the release of half-backed projects. The DJ said local artistes also lack resources which has forced most to release unfinished projects.
DJ Kopper said this has resulted in local radio stations playing foreign music at the expense of local content.
“We lake resources and our artistes release incomplete projects,” DJ Kopper said.
“Some of the music is not even mastered while some still use digital programs like Fruity Loops which belong to the 1990s so the music cannot survive beyond the country’s borders.
“There is also no gatekeeping while this is worsened by the fact that our branding strategies are flawed since we concentrate on being celebrities first before the artistic side. In the end we complain that promoters bring in too many foreign artistes but in essence our music is not sellable.
“This is also the reason for which local radios play foreign music and some complain but the truth is that most of our music is below standard.
Born Kopano Alotsi on 12 July 1986, DJ Kopper is the last of three boys and says he had to fight running battles with his father and oldest brother before they could accept his career choice.
Starting off as a house DJ back in 2009, he said he had to be innovative when the genre took a knock as South African Hip Hop soared to dominance and settled for Nigerian music popularly known as Naija.
“I was initially a house DJ since 2009 but as music evolved Hip Hop took over denting dance for a few years. Hip hop DJs gained a great market share and everyone started playing that sound. I decided against playing Hip Hop because it was not my style.
“At that time, I also realised that the world was now paying more attention to African music and I chose Naija as my niche. I saw an opportunity and seized it.”
Born in Teyateyaneng in the Berea district, DJ Kopper spent his teenage years in Mohale’s Hoek where his police officer father had been transferred when he was a teenager.
He left Mohale’s Hoek in 2006 to join his oldest brother who had just graduated from the National University of Lesotho and was relocating to Maseru to find a job.
It was in Maseru where he was introduced to the entertainment scene by Loud Sound, a local music stable “which was big back then”.
“I joined them in 2007 and worked with Master H, T Spoon, Mtsuzi and Mzi for about three years. After that I was mentored by the late DJ Thabbie and the late DJ Pozzino who taught me the business side of showbiz until I broke solo and got a booking at the first edition of the Vodacom Summa Feva in 2014.
“The following year, I registered for the Vodacom Super Star to get affiliation with Vodacom and eventually signed a contract to become their inhouse DJ from 2015 to date.”
He said working with Vodacom has been a blessing as it has helped him to understand the importance of experience in his trade.
“DJing is not all about playing music because anyone can play music so there is need for a lot of understanding that this takes experience.
“In Lesotho we have two kinds of DJs, one who hires out sound and ends up being a DJ by default and on the other hand there are serious club DJs. You will find that there are a lot of branding mistakes that people make here because once one starts concentrating on being a DJ neglecting the sound aspect.
“For me the most important aspect of being a club DJ is consistency. Music evolves and the earlier we understand that the better.”
A holder of a Higher Diploma in Marketing Management from the International Business College in Maseru, DJ Kopper said the qualification has helped him understand the importance of being competitive.
“The qualification has helped me understand that we are living in an era where everything is about competition. It became an eye opener as I realised the importance of selling myself as a brand. For events management, one also needs to create hype.”
DJ Kopper said he is now concentrating on his company Big Events having previously worked as an operations manager for his brother’s Seal Technologies from 20116 to 2017.
“When I left my brother’s company I got employed at Pere Business Solutions as a marketing officer from January this year but left in June. Now I am focusing on my company, Big Events which hires out sound, does events décor and management,” DJ Kopper said.