The Tribe Featuring DJ SIYA
Katima Mulilo export DJ Siya is a Namibian musician who has managed to break out beyond borders with his music reaching fans in countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe South Africa, and Zambia.
A producer, DJ, and performer who’s worked with many industry giants over the years, DJ Siya sits down with Ché Ulenga on ‘The Tribe’ to talk about his music journey.
Tell us about how the journey started for you and what music means to you?
I’d say music is in our family. I remember when I started in 1998, I was not a professional yet but I remember my two late uncles inspiring me. One of them is DJ Bolly, he was one of the famous DJ’s back then and the other one, John Mutonga used to be NBC’s Service Manager. Those are the people who introduced me to the music industry. At first, I did it because I wanted to make money but then I fell in love with it.
What challenges did you face in pushing out the three albums you now have to your name?
The first album was a bit hard because only a few producers believed in what I could do.
First of all, I’m not really a vocalist, I would do the intro on many artists’ songs but then I decided to try something. I used to DJ at a few big events and I decided that I can’t be playing people’s songs all the time, at least I must play my own songs.
I came up with a song titled ‘Katima Mulilo’ that I did with Mr. Glo. I want to take this time to appreciate Glo. He was one of the first producers that believed in me and he encouraged me to do the music thing.
What are your international collaborations doing for your name and your brand?
At first, I didn’t want to work with bigger artists because I thought it would kill my name. Sometimes you work with big artists on a song and after that song, people would expect you to do something better, so that was the fear at first.
I knew Petersen before I started singing, while I was still a DJ. My Mum is half Zambian and they come from almost the same area, so we speak the same language which is Lozi. Working with Petersen and other African artists is a blessing to me. I always tell people that music does not need a passport for it to cross borders.
It’s always good to work with people from different countries because you learn a lot from them.
What do you think can happen for us to create a door to open up music from the far North-Eastern side to Windhoek and for it to grow here?
Life is like an instrument, we learn every day that thing we did not know yesterday or last year. Opening up our music to the rest of Namibia requires unity in the music industry. I would like to encourage and pray for unity in our music industry and we should try by all means in all our songs to promote unity because that’s the only way we can move forward.
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