Shimza: “You Need to be Positive About Everything that You Do”

Aug 17, 2022

John Cameron

3 min read

Few South African artists are becoming as well known overseas as Tembisa-born, Mzansi-based DJ, producer, and label owner Shimza. If you ask the man himself, he owes his meteoric rise to an optimistic mindset.

When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, artists in countries all across the globe had good reason to feel uncertain about their livelihoods. Shimza opted to focus on the good. In a 2020 conversation with Red Bull Music Academy, he declared, “You need to be positive about everything that you do.”

“When everyone was impacted by the pandemic I asked myself, what can I do to keep my head afloat,” Shimza said. “I decided to put together a couple of friends of mine and do something that ended up being one of the bigger things that we’ve done.”

“I could have the One Man Show June Edition in Soweto, so I thought about the people that need the music to get them through the pandemic and that’s how I came up with the iconic places that I did,” he continued. “And because people couldn’t attend the event, I partnered with TV stations for us to get it to the supporters.”

According to GQ, Shimza’s lockdown parties were broadcast on Channel 0, Africa’s continent-wide television network. This played an undeniable role in keeping him relevant as nightlife remained paused during the pandemic. It’s possible, even, that his perseverance in the face of the global crisis garnered him more fame than he would have achieved under ordinary circumstances.

Some of Shimza’s earliest memories include his brother listening to house music on the radio when they grew up. The late DJ Khomza inspired him to start collecting records and taught him how to DJ before he passed away in 2018. Music became a full-time pursuit for Shimza when he started finding success as a promoter and lending out his sound system for other organizers’ events.

Shimza now has ambitions to expand the influence of South African music across the globe. “We can influence how South Africa is perceived and also have the platforms to export the music to the world,” he told Red Bull Music Academy. “I think there is so much potential and young producers and DJs that need platforms like these to introduce them to the world. It’s something I want to be a part of.”

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