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Up close and Personal with Nkulee Dube

Nkulee Dube a versatile artist, a great performer, songwriter and a businesswoman has managed to package all these qualities in a kind and sensitive spirit that she is. Never letting fame and success get the better of her. This must have been the busiest season by far as she has accomplished so much in such a short period. She was honored with the ultimate distinction of a proclamation issued naming June,10 Nkulee Dube Day by the City of Buffalo, the second largest city in the state of New York. She currently rounding up her successful World Tour 2018, with dates on the summer festival circuit at Major European Festivals. She kicked off the year with a highly rated performance at Rebel Salute in Jamaica, then she hit the studios to record for Roots & Kulcha on the Live n Joy Riddim with the song ‘I Am Woman‘.  A song with a powerful message that provides a perfect soundtrack that sums up the trial and tribulations of her Journey through life and music. In between touring and recording, she managed to find time to get up close and personal in this lively interview with MissLee for MzansiReggae.


MR: How and where did it all start for you?  
NKULEE: It started when I was sixteen, and I was in a group called VOG {Voices of the Ghetto}. We were performing Ekasi (Township).. And met up with Lebo Mathosa and then I started working with her and one day she gave me the mic and pushed me forward. She told me I belonged not at the back, but in the Light.

Does it bother you that you Fathers name always precedes your introduction til this day?
No. I doesn’t, because my father’s legacy lives on through me and all his kids. So I am proud to be able to carry on his name”.

You have traveled and performed a lot outside of South Africa, Can you draw parallels to other Countries in regards to Reggae Dancehall?
Yes, there are a lot of different situations. There are only a few clubs in South Africa, particularly “African Storm’s Ragga Nights” in Johannesburg on Thursdays that showcases Dancehall. So the difference is in other countries they have more places that play Reggae Dancehall every week than we do in SA.

How is it that you get to perform a lot more outside of South Africa than in your home country.
My manager Mark Miller has worked on worldwide touring activities for 40 years now. He was Bob Marley’s former stage-manager and also worked for my father Lucky Dube for almost four years. So he knows just about everyone there is to know, he believes in me implicitly as to what my talent and where my drive is. And he also is my adopted dad now and looks after me. We tour the world a lot together every year now, and this coming year (2019) we are looking to perform a lot more in South Africa and on the continent in general next year. And also the South African massive need to be more alerted via radio and TV, plus live performances, to feel my music and understand the message

Your performances are ever so lively, so entertaining and engaging, what preparations go into it and how do you manage to keep up?
Divine intervention! Lots of exercise, lots of positive mental exercising and also the urge to share what I bring to as many people as I can.

ABOUT MUSIC

What was the first song that you recorded and how did it do in the market?
The first song I recorded in my life was “Feel Like Making Love’(a cover version) and it did pretty good on Jozi-FM. And it opened my eyes a little more as to how the music scene really is in South Africa.

Once, in one of your performances, you mentioned that the Honey Pot Riddim was actually made for you or that you were the first to voice it, tell us more about that, how did you get to work with Silly Walks Discotheque? How does it feel now that the riddim took off like so?
Silly Walks I met in Germany on the first occasion of my being invited to the Afrika –Fest. We met, hit it off, and they offered me the riddim and wanted to be part of my first album. I chose the Honey Pot Riddim as it fit my thoughts on some lyrics I had been writing already, et voila, “Luv the Way” is what was born from it. Then four years later after my release, a host of other talented artists wanted to utilize the riddim.

Your debut album, ‘My Way has got some amazing jams in there, but I do feel that it was not pushed, am i wrong in saying that?
You are not wrong at all. We did more promotion and marketing of that album outside of South Africa than what we could have accomplished in South Africa.

It dropped in 2011/2012, since then you have not released a studio album?
We are about to launch my new release “The Journey” album later this year. With every journey the first step is the most important, and I wanted to bring a new vigor, a new breath, and a new vision to all the Dube and music fans.

You did a collaboration with NC Dread on a single ‘Look to You’ which was a banger, but I kept thinking to myself, what an unlikely pair, did not expect that combo?
I met NC Dread’s manager, a really cool guy by the way, and we discussed the possibility of my contributing to his artist’s new single. The result I feel came out great, and I was proud to be part of it. As for how well it did, from my understanding it’s doing well all over Africa

Any more collaborations that we can expect?
One never knows…I have a few in mind and hopefully we’re able to arrange some interesting projects.

I believe you also have unreleased material, you have been giving us teasers, when can we expect it to come out? The Duet with your brother specifically…
That material you are mentioning will come out later this year. My brother TK is busy with his own album, so we’ll be trying to make our schedules fit. Watch the space!

TOUR LIFE

There is little or no footage of your performances especially in Africa, how is that?
It’s difficult touring on our continent, and the promoters try their best just staging shows. And they are limited as to video production so it’s difficult getting good footage to share. Or maybe they are having such a good time they forget to press ‘record’.. lol

You performed for Yah Yah Jemmeh in Gambia on his special invitation. Did you perform for the masses or was it just a special occasion?
Oh wow.. That was absolutely amazing. Yes, we did several shows in the Gambia and we love it. We did the President’s birthday party on the first trip, and on the second trip we did two shows, one in Banjul and the second in Kandalai. I want to go back to the Gambia as soon as possible, all the people there are so very wonderful and it’s a great country”..

Which countries in Africa have you performed in?
Reunion Island, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia, and we are waiting on Kenya and other possible big events in Uganda, Ghana, and another return to Lagos.

Big Up on your World Tour. Tell us about that, how is the reception?
It has been absolutely amazing. And from the very first show in California at the beginning of June too. The audiences have been fantastic and they are the ones who drive me/us onwards. This year we took it up a notch and did a run of shows across America. We went to New York for the first time, Chicago, Minnesota, and then on to Europe where we currently are finishing the summer festival season. The festivals we are doing are some of the largest in Europe! I love every single one of them.. Onwards and upwards, always forwards!

When on tour what type of typical questions do you get asked in general?
People ask me a lot of funny questions like are you married Nkulee, or “ Is that your real hair?

When will your next tour be?
We have some shows to perform before the end of the year like Reunion Island on October 19th, and then we are already planning the 2019/2020  touring season. We’ll be out promoting the new album on the next world tour run, so we’ll be looking to visit as many cities and countries that will have us!

UP CLOSE

What would you consider your highlights and downlows in your musical journey or in general?
My highlights, is basically receiving the recognition for what I love doing. My downside is achieving all of that without Mum, who passed away last summer. I miss her each and every single day, and I wish she was here to see it, however I know she is watching everything I do, and every move I make. She is forever with me.

If you were not into music, what would you be doing?
I would be a dancer/choreographer with my own studio

Which is your favourite song from all your recordings?
A Bit of Love” and also “Umendo’

Which artist would you like to work/collaborate with? Dead or alive. Local or international
Dead or alive? lol.. Well, I think artists like Thandiswa Mazwai, and Miriam Makeba would be great to work with.

What are you listening to now, whats on your playlist
I don’t listen to particularly one artist, I have a wide range of tastes from Katie Perry to Babes Wodumo to Rhianna to Queen IAfrika

Is Nkulee Dube married, Boyfriend, Friendzoned or what..
No,… no,… yes,… and yes…lol

Whats your favourite colour?
I love “Royal Purple” and the Colours of the Rainbow

Whats your favourite dish?
Pap & Morogo

Whats your favourite saying?
“Be good to the people on your way up the ladder, cause you will need them on your way down”

Whats your pet peeve?
People who say one thing and then do another thing

Who is your favourite designer/who dresses Nkulee?
I design all my own clothing and jewelry. We are talking with several people about the possibility of marketing the designs soon too.

What have you got in store for us in 2018/2019 season
The rest of 2018 and 2019 onwards is looking bright, that I just can’t wait to get to it, and see as many new faces around the world as possible!

How can promoters get in touch with you or your management team.
Interested parties can contact us via email at: Nkuleedubeproductions@gmail.com or get hold of my management on telephone number: +33 6 42 50 87 93
@nkuleedube247

 

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