Sifiso S Magagula aka S-tone DHLA innerview

24.5.19


House Music has never been found lacking in the production department. Besides the record spinners and powerful producers, there lies an essential element, that of backing vocals. According to us,there is no one with a back up game, well maybe save for Zano, greater than that of Sifiso 's -tone' Magagula . 

Ladies and gents lets...


DHLA: You were born in the streets of eSwatini, take us back?

S-tone: I was born and grew up in the capital city, Mbabane in Eswatini.

DHLA: What are your fondest music memories? What was blazing in the stereos back then

S-tone: My fondest memories in music has to be my love for RnB, Rap music and Kwaito too.
I grew up listening to LL Cool J2PAC, etc @BoysllMen and other RnB NeoSoul acts like Musiq Soulchild , @Dwele, etc. I would recite these rap songs and Rnb songs for fun as a youngster and i was known for that amongst my peers. 

My love for kwaito was big too as I still got mad love for that sound.
DHLA: Then you made that transition to SA, what prompted this?
S-tone: My transition to SA was actually prompted by studies. I studied at MGI in Midrand and AAA School of Advertising. This also allowed my engagement in music whilst in SA in my spare time.
DHLA: How would you describe the house music vibe in eSwatini compared to Mzansi
S-tone: In terms of the vibe and people's reception to house music in Eswatini compared to SA, I'd say the love an appreciation is quite the same.
Whatever trends and new sounds that exist in SA, Eswatini has like an equal understanding to it.
In terms of house music produced in Eswatini, I feel Eswatini musicians and Djs in this field are really doing well. The creativity and sound is great and the world is yet to receive great material from Eswatini. I’m proud.
DHLA: We have breakthrough artist like Nomzamo Zamo Dlamini emerging. Seems iSeSwati is trending lately, why is that?
S-tone: Well you mentioned Nomzamo Zamo Dlamini who is quite a talent. I think Siswati is trending now because of the way the language sounds when articulated, certain words are nice(if i may put it that way) and there aren't that many artists singing in Siswati in SA.
Something special about it. I guess it’s kind of refreshing in a way to listen to melodies in Siswati these days...and on top of that, the music accompanied by it is good.
DHLA: How would you describe your voice to someone who has never heard it before?
S-tone: I've got a strong Rnb background and influence, my approach is mostly based on that in my songs.
That being said, I'd say l got a kinda soft not harsh Rnb voice, with a slight Kwaito rhythmic approach (especially on my coming album).
DHLA: Your backing vocal game is unmatched. By far the best in Africa. Take us through a backing vocals session



S-tone: Wow, that’s a lot of credit, lol.
Well l take it as a choir, because I've been in a choir.
To make a song sound rich vocally, I'll sing each part(alto, tenor, etc.), if need be, a couple times in certain special parts such that the vocals are stacked in the song, sounding like multiples of people.
This is a common exercise that all recording artists know and apply.
What will make it special however, is the person's voice, the texture...since people have different voice textures.
I always knew it would be commercialized somehow. 

I guess working with Sakhile 'simza' Simelane and other MULTI-RACIAL RECORDS members back in the day made me discover a lane to explore in dance music with my voice.
DHLA: And how do you prepare for a studio session? Does the preparation differ from that of a dj set?
S-tone: There isn’t much preparation for studio session except for understanding and feeling the beat I’m about to work on. It’s a feeling and if I’m in a good vibe, good space, most likely it’s gonna be good outcome.
Dj set, that’s performance of something I've already created and performing it is usually fun coz here people are now seeing the man behind the voice as well as hearing. Absolutely differ from each other.
DHLA: Take us through your songwriting process
S-tone: Half the time I write about my personal experiences. The other half about stuff out there. The beat usually guides me in terms of subject matter and energy since the beat itself resonates a certain way.
DHLA: Most of your songs are about upliftment, Africanism. Do share
S-tone: Most of the songs on the coming project are about positivity and good vibes, dominantly sung in Siswati. Those who know me from back then know that I usually sing love songs, which is a good thing too you know. We always need that.
I also think we need a lot of upliftment in our time.
Too much is going on amongst our youth and in society here in Africa and the need for making positive content was something needed as far as myself and my management were concerned.
Its good because its accompanied by awesome beats and rhythms that people will enjoy
DHLA: You have a huge catalogue of music that you have done in the past. Take us through it
S-tone: Featured on various house music compilations in the past whilst in tertiary in Gauteng during my spare time.
To summarize it, work include features on Sis 'n Jones' Capitol Kollective compilations, Rowick Deep albums.
Loxion House Kulca house compilations.
A track on Black Coffee's album "Have Another One", on a song called "Set Me Free".
A song called "Holding Back" which was produced by fellow Swazi producer Sakhile 'simza' Simelane, was remixed by Black Coffee at the one of the South African Music Conferences as a demonstration.
A track produced by RowickDeep called "Make It", which was remixed by Culolethu Zulu.
Involved in vocals on the hit "Mine Beng'dzakiwe" produces by Sabelo Sabside Simelane & Sakhile 'simza' Simelane featured on DJ Sdunkero & Dj Cyndo's albums amongst other projects over the years.
Fang DaRhythm & Edsoul SA album "The Rhythm Sessions" on a song called "Dance With Me".
Also worked with a few other Swazi producers like Czar DeejayThe Antidotes (Antidote The House Movement), etc.
Lately my journey has landed me at El World Music, and recent works within the label thus far include:
"No Stopping Us" & "Umalukatane" written and sung by me & produced Sun-El Musician...included in his debut album "Africa To The World".
Within the album I did supporting vocals in a few songs such as the intro "With You".
I also featured On Simmysa's debut album on the song "Incwadi Encane".
DHLA: Were you at any point signed to MULTI-RACIAL RECORDS?
S-tone: Yes I was.
DHLA: What is it about Pretoria that makes it such hub of fresh music genres?
S-tone: Lol that’s a difficult one. I can’t really explain it honestly but I've always felt it and witness it during my " MULTI-RACIAL RECORDS " days. Spending a lot of time in Pretoria in studio and out at parties, I always witnessed a certain vibe that Tswane producers and party people had towards deep & soulful house music produced overseas and in South Africa. Its all about vibe and identity I guess.
DHLA: Which song are you most fond of, besides no stopping us of course haha
S-tone: Lol that’s such a tough one. I'm really fond of "Umalukatane"(on Sun-El Musician's album AfricaToTheWorld). It’s based on a Swazi folk/traditional song sang by Eswatini maidens...and so i did it my way on Sun-El Musician's superb production. It’s a really special song to me. It’s a true afro-tribal house music masterpiece.

DHLA: How did you then come to El World Music
S-tone: A friend who I've known in the industry for some time, Mr Phethelo P Nkosi, who's my manager now at El World Music brought me to El World Music. He knew my work and he introduced me to Sun-El Musician and as they say, the rest was history
DHLA: And how is it like working with new talent like Claudio Jaftha that have been acknowledged by the likes of Aka for that Simmysa – umahlalela track
S-tone: Working with Claudio Jaftha is awesome...he's creative and a chilled dude. We spend a lot of time together and so we've know each other also more on a personal level.
Claudio is dominantly on production in my album. He is a talent to be reckoned with. His sound I feel blends quite well with my style and the direction this project is intended to take.
DHLA: Which years, besides 2018, would you say have been defining to your career
S-tone: I guess I would take it back to when I used to be at MULTI-RACIAL RECORDS with fellow Swazi producer Sakhile 'simza' Simelane in '06 and '07 onwards.
We made a lot of music together and that’s when I was also involved in a number of house projects including one of Black Coffee's albums and a song i did with Sakhile 'simza' Simelane that Black Coffee remixed called "Holding Back".
So, these in my opinion, are some of the most defining years coz around this time i was finding myself as a "house music vocalist"...as i was known in SA and Eswatini.
DHLA: What has 2019 have instore for you
S-tone:In 2019 people should expect a few singles and the full album of course.
DHLA: 5 songs from eSwatini that is currently on your playlist
S-tone: I find myself listening mostly to:-
Tendaness - "Jika"
Czar Deejay ft. S-Tone - "Let It Be"(Gruv Basement mix)
Bholoja Mbongiseni Ngubane - "Lendzawo Ngeyami"
Velemseni 'vee' Cele - "Utawubuya nini"
Nomzamo Zamo Dlamini - "tinyembeti"
DHLA: In terms of venues, where have you enjoyed performing, any top 3
S-tone: Wow it’s hard to come up with top 3 performances I've had. Too many to mention.
I had an explosive time on stages at DJ Nation gig in Taung, at Solanis in Eswatini in 2018 with Sun-El Musician and Simmysa and also had a bast at this year's Huawei Joburg Day in Johannesburg with Sun-El Musician and Simmysa.
DHLA: What should we expect from your album this year
S-tone: Listeners and fans should expect hot beats and rhythms, dope Siswati vocals...a fusion of RnB with a slight Kwaito approach here 'n there. Simmysa has a touch on it too. It’s a fun album...it’s a dance album. People are enjoying it.
DHLA: Your Social media handles
S-tone: Instagram - stonemusicsd
Facebook - Sifiso 's -tone' Magagula

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