How Shimza's Kunye Records Came to Life
Sep 21, 2022
3 min read
The Tembisa-born DJ and producer Shimza traces his musical skills back to the age of fifteen, fuelled by the support and encouragement from his family. He extends this support to his community in many ways, including his record label, KUNYE Records. Following a historic livestream performance from Robben Island, South Africa, in July 2020 to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day, Shimza continued his quest to promote South Africa’s rich musical heritage with the launch of Kunye Records.
“KUNYE Records is literally our voice as South African artists in the Afro sound. It stemmed from us trying to export the South African Afro Tech story to the world in the most authentic way. Through official remixes, we have also connected our music with international artists. We also host our own events that play that sound we’ve commercialized. We aim to open up the space for people to learn about our music and also use KUNYE as a vehicle to export our music to the world as a movement and deliver it how we would want people to learn about the music. The basis is to have a home and house to present these sounds to the world.”
KUNYE events have grown over the past year or so with events in Paris and Portugal. The collective plans to take the shows worldwide and continue collaborating on remixes with international artists to expose the music to wider audiences. Shimza’s first London showcase happened in March of 2022 to a sold-out crowd featuring rising African artists like Msaki, Culoe Du Song, and Thandi Draai.
Admired for his charitable efforts and initiatives across South Africa, Shimza now turns his hand to promoting the local music scene through Kunye.
“Most of it is mainly just putting on guys that ordinarily wouldn’t be behind such big labels supporting them because of the type of music that they make, which is not radio commercial music. So we are using KUNYE as a vehicle to drive our music.”
With tour dates locked in across the globe, Shimza continues to work tirelessly to spread his sound and champion up-and-coming South African musicians. Shimza continues to set the bar at an all-time high in 2022, with upcoming shows scheduled in Colombia, Switzerland, Ibiza, South Africa, and the US.