Getting to know DJ Tira, his love for music

“It’s not right because we all have our problems. Just like everyone else in the world, R Mashesha has problems and I wish people could leave him in peace.”

IN a question-and-answer interview the award-winning artist and producer, Mthokozisi Khathi popular as DJ Tira, shared his lifetime knowledge about music and how it personally influences his lifestyle.

DJ Tira explored the South Africa music industry back in 1996 as a youngster, but professionally made it with his first album in 2001.

The 38-year-old DJ has since then been releasing hits and grooming groups like Big Nuz into hit makers.

With his years of experience, DJ Tira fills us in on music, producing and his career. Below is an interview excerpt between Sunday World (SW) and DJ Tira (TIRA):

SW: What part did music play in your life when you were growing up?


TIRA: Music played a pivotal role in shaping who I’m today; I never really needed friends to be happy as long as I had the music.
SW: What influences shape you as a musician and songwriter?

TIRA: I love seeing people happy so every time I write a song, I write it with the intention of making people happy hence we make happy songs most of the time.

SW: What other styles of music speak to you?

TIRA: I listen to R&B mostly from the late ’80s and ’90s when I’m unwinding and some old school hip-hop always does it for me.

SW: You are a prolific producer that works with many

TIRA: It all starts creating a beat we all listen to it and then decide on a concept that would best suit the music that has been produced. We then jump into the booth and start recording. There’s no recipe to creating a hit song it takes good synergy and God’s work.

SW: How is the process different when you’re producing yourself in comparison to someone else?

TIRA: That individuals genre or style of music would influence the direction we would take but would obviously add that Afro flavour to their sound.

SW: People have declared that kwaito is dead, what is your opinion on this?

TIRA: Kwaito is a culture that is passed on from generation to generation and each generation defines its own kwaito sound but keeping the main ingredients that makes the genre. The current local hip-hop sound has a lot of kwaito elements to it and this means kwaito lives.

SW: How relevant is kwaito music today?

TIRA: It’s very much relevant if the likes of Big Nuz and others are able to sell gold and still get booked all year.

The sound has changed, and so did the lyrical content. There is a faster BPM in kwaito production, and it has a mix now of hip hop and dance music what is this new kind of music?

We introduced “Durban Kwaito Music” with the likes of T’zozo&Professor, Zakes Bantwini and Durban’s Finest back in 2001. In 2014 I was able to create another sound with hip-hop group Dreamteam where we fused house music, hip hop and kwaito on Dj Fisherman’s national anthem, “Call Out” which the masses enjoy.

SW: What’s the biggest misconception about the kind of dance music you are making?

TIRA: I don’t think there are any based on the love we get when performing around the country.

SW: As one of the most powerful ambassadors for Durban House music, what was the turning point when of pushing the regional music?

TIRA: When we started winning numerous awards for our craft, especially the ones where the public votes.

SW: It’s apparent that you have a very busy schedule, what kind of projects and performances take up your time?

TIRA: General bookings, corporate gigs and also my company hosts several signature events namely, “Fact Durban Rocks” during the Vodacom July, a Newcastle workshop dubbed “Gumba Fest” and “Fact Durban Rocks” on New Year’s eve at Moses Mabhida Peoples Park.

SW: You will be performing at Buyelekhaya Festival as it turns sixyears old. What can your fans expect?

TIRA: They should expect new music from afrotainment, it’s been a good year in the studio now it’s time to give the masses a taste of what we have been cooking. A great 6th birthday celebration it’s going to be for Buyelekhaya from me.

SW: What do you think is the role of music in SA?

TIRA: There’s not one specific role, music is like a medicine and it contributes enormously in our economy. I cannot imagine a South Africa without music as it brings a sense of calm and joy to everyone.

SW: What would you be doing if you were not doing music?

TIRA: I’d probably be an entrepreneur.

– Sunday World