Welcome to the World of Art!!

What a time to be alive! South Africa is trying to find its feet again, after a huge low blow from this pandemic. It is so fortunate though that Saturdays carry a different feel into our lives. Last week, Sam Wecu was urging us to unleashing the Rha-satshas within ourselves, and you know I don’t take such messages lightly. I went and found another firecracker, another Rha-satsha who is performing miracles within the Hip-hop space. Not only is he multi-talented, but he is very much opinionated. Allow him to liberate your minds…

Getting to know the Artist…

This week, we are engaging with Kwazi Titi. Kwazi is an eighteen year old Grade 12 student from Butterworth High School. Kwazi is a song writer and music producer who started writing music at the age of 14. His music career was greatly inspired by his cousin and other artists that he grew up listening to. I gave him an opportunity to describe himself;
“I am a humble, loving, hard-working and quiet person who is really passionate about what he is doing”
Okay, so I did mention that he is a Hip-hop Artist, so join me in the shock of meeting a shy Hop-hop artist. I just knew at that point that the interview was going to be interesting. He goes by the name ‘Alter Kay’, and I couldn’t help but ask what it means. I always find stage names very interesting because they clearly display an artist’s creativity;

“Alter means ‘change/transform’, so to me it means that I keep changing for the better, musically. The word ‘Kay’ is taken from the first letter of my name. I fused those two words and created a stage name or pseudonym for myself”

Spiritual Identity..

Alter Kay identifies himself as a Christian. The issue with spirituality is a very sensitive one in South Africa today, which is why we make it a point that we touch on it in order to see if these little creatives are in touch with their spiritual lives. For someone who is not aware what Christianity is all about, I asked Alter Kay to tell us more about Christianity and teachings that keep him going;

“Christianity is a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and various scholars who wrote the Christian bible. One of the teachings that I carry everywhere I go is obedience.

Creative juices…

As a song writer, I was extremely interested in knowing how his writing process is structured. As an artist, we have to learn from each other in terms of how processes are carried. Sam, last week, said she gets inspired by the most random things and her writing process can just explode from anywhere, anytime she feels a sudden urge to write;

“I get inspired by the things that I’m experiencing as I grow and things that I know. For example, things that are happening in our communities”

I could sense his shyness screaming loud, but because I was eager to hear what he had to say, I asked what kind of things that he was talking about;

“Things that affect teenagers, like peer pressure”
In most cases, artists that get inspired by societal issues are artists who are committed to educating through their music. Alter Kay is a very open minded artist, with insightful remarks about so many issues that affect our societies.

Artistic journey

“My song titled “W.I.D” got over 3000 downloads. My other two singles titled ‘Wide awake’ and ‘Premonition’ got over 1000 downloads. Altogether, my mixtape titled ‘Self Conscious’ got over 5000 downloads and 1000+ YouTube views. My fifth single titled “Offload” got over 2000 streams and peaked at number 35 on SoundCloud New & Hot: Hip-hop & Rap. It also peaked number 36 on SoundCloud New & Hot: All genres. It also received Radio air-play in many radio stations, including Greenhitz FM (USA). In 2019, I was nominated on the Mbashe Youth Music Awards in two categories (Song of the year and Artist of the year). I was SADMA Awards in two categories (Best Upcoming Artist and Best Hip-hop Artist). My single titled ‘So Much Love’ also reached over 1000 streams in 5 days and peaked at number 9 on SoundCloud New & Hot: Hip-hop and Rap. It also peaked at number 13 on SoundCloud New and Hot: All genres, spending 7 days on the charts, receiving 8 reviews in USA. I have also shared the stage with the likes of Nathi Mankayi and Pastor The Dj..”

For an 18 year old, that is quite a mouthful. Alter Kay is truly making waves in the online community and his figures are satisfactory. I hope Artists may take that lesson home, that it is very important to introduce your work on online platforms to spread your wings. I asked what his journey has taught him, because each experience in life has a lesson wrapped around it;

“My journey has taught me to keep working hard in order for me to achieve my goals in life. I’m now more persistent and devoted .Distractions may be there, but I don’t and I won’t let them make me lose focus or get to me. Patiently waiting for my time to come but not wasting time with meaningless things at the same time”

For an Artist with that much following online, I was interested in knowing how he handles the pressure that comes with being a Hip-hop artist;

“Having people that believe in me keeps me motivated. My friends and fans play a big role in keeping me motivated even though the pressure can be overwhelming or too much sometimes. I also told myself that ‘ I got this’ and there’s no going back”

Mhhm.. It is so refreshing to come across a Hip-hop artist who preaches obedience and who is as grounded and down to earth as Alter Kay. As mentioned above, he is 18 and that is a very sensitive stage in life, so I asked him how he prevents himself from being involved in things that teenagers find themselves involved in;

“I am a self-aware person, so most of the time I know when something is not good for me. Luckily, I have adults in my life who are also there to help me avoid distractions”

The sound of being ‘self-aware’ caught my attention, and I asked him to elaborate on what he meant by that;

“I am aware of who I am and what I want. It starts when you know what you want in life and surround yourself with people who have nothing but good intentions for you”

Power of association! As an artist, it is very important to surround yourself with people who keep your spirit and soul alive. You become who and what you surround yourself with, so be very mindful of who you let into your space. The world needs more Hip-hop artists who are as smart as Alter Kay to change the general narrative about the Hip-hop Culture.

South Africa today…

As we all know about the outbreak of the Covid 19, we also know that it has affected so many people around the world, especially Artists. Artists are struggling to survive, and I asked Alter Kay to share a few survival tips to keep people on the positive side of life;

“Artists need to have hope because this issue will come to an end someday. They should spend their money wisely, save it and keep working hard. Most importantly, they should keep their fans entertained”

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Instead of sitting at home and feeling sorry for ourselves , let us work hard in the safety of our homes and keep our followers entertained online. Basically, Alter Kay is spreading positivity. I asked him what he foresees, after the lockdown, looking at the current state of the country;

“I foresee better days. Things will be fine again although they will take time. By better days, I mean things will be better. People will be able to do things that they couldn’t do during this phase. For example, some people will travel and others will go back to work. The world will be like how it was, or even better”

Positivity! When I asked if he is aware that the country’s economy is already on its knees, he still didn’t lose sight of his positivity;

“The country’s economy may be at its lowest, but it will eventually recover after some time. Developed countries may also invest on helping developing countries”

I asked what he thinks needs to be done, in order for us to get to the better days he was talking about, except for hoping for assistance from developed countries;

“South African citizens need to work extra hard and be obedient to the instructions that the government has given, to avoid getting more people sick and infected with the virus”

Obedience goes a long way. Not only is a trait that one needs to apply to him/herself, but is rather a trait that shows excessive amounts of respect from an individual. One of the pressing matters that we are facing as a country is the reopening of liquor stores, so I asked his take on the matter;

“People have been waiting for alcohol to be permitted, but I feel like some will act wilder when alcohol is finally permitted. By saying ‘wilder’, I mean people will not obey the rules and they will be out of character. I feel like the government should have reopened the liquor stores in level 2”

My sentiments exactly. With so many health care facilities closing down due to this pandemic, I also feel like alcohol will only worsen the situation. Another very serious matter that we are facing is the reopening of schools, and I also asked Alter Kay what his thoughts are around that;

“A lot is at stake, including our lives. The government should have waited a bit longer before reopening schools because learners’ lives will be in danger”

Seeing that Alter Kay had a lot of disagreements with the current system and how things are done, I asked what he would change if he were to act as the President for a day;

“I would try to find a plan to make sure that the police do their jobs by patrolling and keeping people indoors during this lockdown”

I strongly believe that it is every person’s responsibility to keep safe from this pandemic. The police force can only do so much, but as the President said, our lives are in our hands. I asked what Alter Kay thinks is the reason why people don’t stay at home when they are asked to;

“Some are going around with the intentions of getting what they need, but there are some people who are just bored and who would just roam the streets just for fun”

It is a very unfortunate case that no matter how much people are begged to stay at home, they just don’t. People are always on the streets, and that makes me wonder how the spread of the virus will ever be minimal. Since the schools are reopening, I asked him what he would like to say to the matric class of 2020;

“We as students need to work hard and focus on our books because this is the last or final year in High School. Strive for excellence in order to qualify for varsity. Don’t give up”

There you have it, class of 2020. Alter Kay is telling you to strive for excellence and I promise you, that is the only method you are going to have to familiarize yourselves with, for a better future.

Furture Endeavours;

For someone this smart, I couldn’t wait to hear what to expect from him in the future;

“I am currently working on a mixtape titled “A Teen (18)”. I’ll drop a few tracks before I drop the whole project, so people must expect something new soon..”

I’m sure you now agree with me when I say that Alter Kay is the breath of fresh air. Everything he has shared with us on this platform makes so much sense, I actually cannot wait to see him in future.. A very big thank you to Alter Kay for engaging with us, and his manager, for ensuring the success of this interview.

To follow him online;

Facebook: Alter_kay_sa

Twitter: Alter_kay_sa

Instagram: @alterkay_sa

Artist of the week: Kwazi Tini

Article by: Cinga Dyala

Photo credit: Photos supplied.

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