Posted on 16 June 2013.
DJ Black Coffee is an award winning, internationally acclaimed DJ and producer one of South Africa’s greatest musical asset. This quiet and stylish beat maker is also a husband and a father. Jucy Africa had a chat with him and his teenage son Esona in celebration of Father’s Day. This is what he says:
Tell us about yourself…
BC: I am the biggest music fan. Before making music I was a music fan. I started out recording songs as a young boy. Music has always been a huge part of my life.
Who are your musical influences?
BC: I have plenty…I can’t name one and leave out others. My influences are varied from those we consider legends to the youngsters making good music. I admire the young and the old. I listen to all types of music and decide on what to incorporate into my music.
You have enjoyed great success as a DJ, Producer and with your Africa Rising offering and concert. What’s next for Black Coffee?
BC: I am planning on taking the show around the country, hopefully we will get great sponsors and take it to the people. There is an inspiring story behind Africa Rising and we would love to share that musical story with the people. I am also focusing now on building the stable Soulistic Music. I am not really rushing into making another album but rather on the artists on the stable. We are releasing a couple of albums this year. I don’t know when I will be releasing my next offering, maybe 2 or 3 years. Also with Africa Rising it’s not just me but a whole lot of people including the artists I work with.
Are we likely to see Africa Rising touring the rest of Africa?
BC: We would love to see that happen, so far we have been getting enquiries for shows and to have it air in some TV stations around Africa. France and Switzerland have also made enquiries regarding some festivals. Hopefully something comes out of those and that we get to take it to the world. It’s nice to see the great reception from people from all walks of life.
Now let’s talk about Black Coffee the father. How do they refer to you at home, do they call you dad?
BC: (chuckles) they call me dad but the young one calls me so many names. Sometimes he calls me by my name which is a bit weird.
What are the biggest challenges of being a father in entertainment?
BC: The traveling is the biggest challenge. I’m always traveling and many times when I am at home I’m too exhausted. I always try and make time and be involved with my family. I fetch the kids from school when I can, when I can’t I will always call their mother to help out.
What are some of the biggest lessons your children have taught you?
BC: Whew! They have taught me so much and without having to say much they remind me of how important family is. For a while I was concentrating much on my work but priorities change and now I know I have to work for them. My family comes first and everything else second and there is also the greatest feeling at being at home with your loved ones. I remember last year around Esona’s birthday, I had to play in Newcastle on the Friday, on Saturday we had to go to his hockey game. We went down to where I was to play and drove back together on the Saturday to be with him, I had to leave again for a gig in Nelspruit and after all that I realized that I should get my priorities right especially as far as my family is concerned. I made a conscious decision that on the important dates in my family that I am available and not playing, I had to instruct the office as well to know that. No bookings on those important dates.
That’s great. So would you like to have more children?
BC: Ha ha ha!!! Yes one more….we want to have a girl. In that house are a lot of boys now…a little girl would be nice.
What can you say about the scourge of absent fathers in our country?
BC: To the guys not present in their children’s lives they are missing out on so much. Fatherhood is a great thing and conversations with these little people are always refreshing. How they think is special and a relationship with your kids is the most fulfilling thing ever.
What are your dreams for your children?
BC: I hope they grow to be happy with their choices and do what they feel is necessary for them. I don’t want to put my kids under unnecessary pressure and I don’t want them mentioning my name to get ahead. They have to work as hard and earn their success without using their dad. I will support them in all they want to do and be.
When you go out with your family and fans ask for photos and autographs, how do you deal with that?
BC: I am strict, especially when I am with my kids. I assess situations though because I know my fans mean well but at the same time I have to be a family man. Some people don’t take it well that I have to refuse them much attention but sometimes I have to draw the line.
Now Esona, what is the coolest thing about having Black Coffee as your dad?
Esona: He’s stylish!! I can talk to him about anything, anything I feel like sharing with him. He is easy to talk to.
BC: Part of the reason he says I’m stylish is because I always bring him stuff he likes and that looks good on him.
Esona: Yes that too, I mean I’ll like something but never be sure about it but he gets me, he always brings me the best and coolest things. I don’t even have to tell him what I want, he just gets it right.
Nathi, you are really stylish! What inspires your dress sense?
BC: Me?? ha ha ha!! Thank you! I have always had an idea of how I wanted to dress and look like. I would look at certain guys and be like “that’s the look I want”. I have learned early that style is not just rocking up at an awards show in a suit and tie but an everyday thing, from the socks you wear when no one is watching, your underwear- everything!! It goes a long way…it shouldn’t be about dressing to impress. I am currently working on something (fashion line) with the family.
You are married to a beautiful lady Mbali, how do you deal with the intense female attention you are still getting ?
BC: (chuckles) whew! For a while I have been out there, from the year 2005 when my solo album came out, now it’s 2013…I have done everything any young guy has done or would want to do. In every corner of the world I went to it was fun but I had to grow and realized that I had had my fun but now this is much better. It’s a struggle every weekend, every other day but I know I have to look at the bigger picture and that means my wife over everything.
Back to you Esona, would you ever consider a career in music like your dad?
Esona: ha ha…I doubt it….
BC: He has recorded a song, he sings and he raps. (laughs)
Esona: If I would pursue music I don’t think I would want to do the same genre as him. I wouldn’t be as good.
BC: I was actually asking him why he stopped singing because his singing voice is quite good. I also think it’s not necessarily about having to do music full time. I know many people with day jobs yet doing music, people like Bantu Soul. Esona has featured on the song We Are One, we sang together. That inspired Louis Vega to do the same in the remix featuring his wife and kid.
What is the highlight of your career?
BC: Africa Rising definitely!! From conceptualizing it, staging the show,the orchestra, the DVD, I doubt I will ever get used to it.
…and the challenges?
BC: Just like any other industry, one has to stay on top of their game and keep reinventing themselves. You always want to keep up, be on par with the world. Fortunately I travel a lot, I am always exposed to new things.
What’s your idea of fun?
BC: (Looks at Esona and laughs) Pro-evolution. For a while I was the champ at home but he has now taken over. My life is on the streets, my work so any chance I get is spent with these people. I’d rather be home.
Esona what do you want to say to your dad?
Esona: Thank you Dad for all the support, for everything and for taking me to a great school. Happy Father’s day!
Happy Fathers’ day DJ Black Coffee, thank you for gracing us with your presence.
By: Bonnie Meslane (too awesome a lady)@BonnieMes
Make Up: Mina Shembe @Minaashe
Photography: Lebo Len
Thank you Ms Sheryl Manchisi for the location.