MULTIPLE award-winning Bulawayo house music producer and wheel spinner Mqondisi Sibanda — popularly known as DJ Skaiva — recently released a nine-track Extended Play titled Testify. DJ Skaiva says his latest work is part of introducing his brand. It was produced under House Rebels Records and carries tracks such as Baleka featuring Paulla Paloma, Umcebele with Hwabaraty, Mudiwa with Ashley, Ijongosi, Time to wait with Joy and Rakeem, Nemis, Inkomo zabantu with Lord Skeelz, Zwakala with Sugar Shane and Mawiza and lastly Mpopoma Soul.
The musician holds three Bulawayo arts awards for outstanding house musician and one Zimbabwe Music Awards gong. He has worked with Fun Deepstar, Benny T, Sandra Ndebele, ExQ, Rakeem, Mzoe7 and others.
The artiste was born in Bulawayo and attended Mpopoma High School before going to Lupane State University where he attained a degree in Geography and Population Studies. He has shared the stage with South African DJs Oskido, DJ Fresh and Tira, Pepsi, AKA, Cassper Nyovest and Black Coffee.
NewsDay (ND) Life & Style reporter Sindiso Dube spoke with DJ Skaiva (MS) about the album…
ND: Let’s start with the name of the album – Testify. What is in the name?
MS: Testify is my latest work and it talks about God’s favour in one’s life. In my career, God has done a lot. I have been winning awards and getting regional gigs so I need to testify of his good works in my life.Most importantly, being able to wake up alive and make music is the greatest gift ever. I should testify and give thanks to the most high.
ND: The CD cover is predominantly black and red. Any significance to that?
MS: The red and black colours on the CD sleeve are my favourite colours and I believe I make the most underground sound and black and red are underground colours.
ND: After releasing two albums and six EPs, what did you have in mind when you were making Testify?
MS: The EP is a continuation of my work, my approach towards house music and it has been long since I last released new music and I think it was about time I did so.
ND: Where do you see this EP taking you?
MS: I am still building my brand and I want people to know my music and where I’m coming from and where I’m going. If this project is the one that is going to take me far, then let it be. I put all my effort into my projects but if this is the one to change my life story, let it be.
ND: Looking at the stiff competition from other local genres, in your view, does house music have a future in Zimbabwe?
MS: Yes, definitely, house music has a future in Zimbabwe. The problem is we have a few house music producers in this country and most of them are underground producers who are not known.
ND: How can that be resolved?
MS: If only we can have a movement like the Zimdancehall, we would go far. I think it will be much easier to do so here in the southern region of the country where house music is appreciated more. We flood the market with our content and people will notice us easily.
ND: When you look at your art, who has been your greatest inspiration?
MS: Black Coffee from South Africa.
ND: And do you have a desire to also break into the South African market?
MS: Yes, definitely. I wish to break into the South African market. I have even started working on that, hence I perform week in week out in that country.