6B: You began working in the Music Industry while the old laws of apartheid were still governing the country. Despite that you still made your mark in the industry. What inspired you to keep pushing?
Sipho: I come from a generation of musicians who saw themselves as an investment, an invest in ourselves. If you believe enough in what you do, then you have to invest in yourself so that others can believe that they can invest in you, be that materially, or intellectually. We’d go out, rehearse, book the venues, write the banners and put them up, we’d load the equipment, drive ourselves to a venue – we were investing in ourselves. You don’t find people doing that anymore – all they want to do is rehearse and wait for a promoter to knock at their door.
6B: How has the music industry changed over the years?
Sipho: I call it “The dependence syndrome” It’s what is affecting younger musicians these days – They believe that the only way they can grow musically is through record companies and promoters. “I want to remain an artist and let everybody else take care of what I do…” This is a dangerous space to be in, because you find that you cannot create a space in which you can operate on your own. Interestingly, the challenges have always been the same, the issues around royalties, copyright, remuneration and so on. Unfortunately, most young people, particularly black young people, see music as an escape from poverty, and the only way in which they can find themselves employed – through television, recordings and performances. Little do they understand the pitfalls and the challenges that there are. We would never discourage them from wanting to be performers, but they also need to understand what it is that they are getting themselves involved in.
6B: You have said before that you thought you were destined to become a doctor or lawyer, what made you decide to go into music rather?
Sipho: I am studying through UNISA at the moment. I managed to complete my matric last year, because I wanted to do it. I left school to pursue my dreams, we had a band and toured all over Africa. I’m not encouraging youngsters to drop out of school, but I do encourage them to actively pursue their dreams – whatever that means to them. Just stay grounded whilst doing it.
Read more at 6B Magazine – Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.