GROWING up, music was never part of the list of Khotso Ramaili Thahane’s career options owing to his strict father’s perception that music was not a career for serious people.
However, due to the passion he had for the craft, Thahane persevered until his father accepted his choice and now, he is a well-known music producer making a living out of his artistry.
A singer, producer and engineer, Thahane has made strides into the music scene and believes there is still a lot of work to be done for Lesotho’s arts industry to blossom.
Known for the smash hit Eng eng, kae kae le mang mang, Thahane has probably laid his hands on dozens of famous tracks that are played daily but remains in the shadows.
Having worked with greats such as Tshepo Tshola, Budaza, Lebo M and Selimo Thabane among others, Thahane says Lesotho has shown remarkable progress and will continue to improve if artistes are persistent.
Born in Belgium and raised in Washington DC, the artiste’s desire for a career in music blossomed during his University of Bristol days where he studied Economics and Economic History from 1992 to 1996.
“Back in university I would join bands and participate in talent shows and people would always tell me I had huge potential in music so I decided to do it on the side quietly initially,” Thahane said.
After completing university in 1995, he then committed all his time and resources to music, a decision which bore fruit for him when he landed partnerships with established musicians back home.
He would frequent Lesotho during holidays as his father was still working for the World Bank in the US.
“I started music back in 1995 singing and writing songs but my first big project was in 1997 when I worked on Tshepo Tshola’s Reconciliation demo.
“Ntate Tshepo was pleased with the work I had done on the demo so he started playing it for people in the music industry including people like Lebo M well known for the music on the lion king movie,” he said adding that he then got more work from Lebo M.
He released his debut album Reflections in 2000 in the US, a project which he says did well.
“I came to Lesotho for the promotion of my first album and I lived in the country for a few months.”
In 2002 Thahane then started working intensively with Tshepo Tshola and was one of the producers for his album New Dawn which came out in 2003.
“This project became one of my biggest as I got to work with people like Hugh Masekela who was the executive producer and Kaya Mahlangu and Blondie Makhene,” he said.
In 2008 he moved to Johannesburg where he worked with Lebo M at his recording studio and participated in the production of the music played at the opening and closing of the 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Both tournaments were hosted by South Africa.
Thahane invested his earnings in studio equipment with the view of opening a studio in Lesotho after his eventual permanent move to the country in 2010.
At that time, Thahane wasn’t recording anyone but he collaborated with singers such as Budaza on his Babalase track which became popular at that time.
“I wrote and produced Babalase and also collaborated with Tshepo Tshola for his Leseli album,” he said.
In 2013 he recorded another album Haeso Lesotho which carried the hit track Eng eng kae kae le mang mang. The project is his last musical project as he has now been concentrating on production.
“I have been focusing on production and building the studio and gradually buying equipment,” he said.
He opened his studio KRT Productions at the beginning of 2018 in the Station area of Maseru and he says he is pleased with the quality that he has produced.
He said the studio is open for every musician who hopes to make quality music.
“A lot of people complain about studio rates but I have made sure that my rates are affordable because I understand our country’s economy. However, I want to help our musicians produce music that is good enough to compete in and outside the country.”
Thahane said from the days of his first album, he sees a lot of progress as when he released his album the music industry in Lesotho was still in its infancy.