13 October 2016 Last updated at: 5:24 PM
Malawi24 Up close: Who is DJ Sley?
Helping your soul to Malawi urban music, you are likely to be welcomed by the sound signal, DJ Sley, in most of the songs, a solid testimony of the producer’s remarkable contributions in the country’s creative industry.
This week Malawi24 features top notch record producer, DJ Sley in up close segment.
DJ Sley, real name Sichile Sapa was born on 28th July in the capital Lilongwe. He hails from TA Kalembo in Machinga district. Having completed his secondary education at William Murray, he enrolled with National College of Information Technology in 2007 where he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Information Technology.
His journey in music began way back in the 90s, as a young boy he was inspired by his elder brother in the name of Richard Sapa who sings in a church choir. His alacrity to do music grew when his brother started to offer him piano lessons.
“I was introduced to music at an early age by my brother Richard who has been singing in a church choir since my childhood. I loved watching him sing with his friends, at times I could join them,” he said.
Family has always been a key part of the Area 18 producer. He has always found morale boosting backing from his blood. He is an iconic producer we know today because of the support his father and brothers gave him.
“In 1992 my father bought a keyboard in Japan which my brother Richard used to teach me the basics of piano, and in 2002 my other brother Jeffrey installed music production software on his laptop which I started to play around with,” he said.
Sichile’s interest to use the studio software developed when he visited Mwai K studio where he found DJ Snokey Smoke using it. Having drawn the motivation, he worked tirelessly until he could make instrumentals worth marriage with vocals.
“My friends, the likes of Wilson Naming’oma and Panji Kapanga seemed to like what I was doing then they started using instrumentals I was making,” said Sichile.
As a form four student at William Murray, Sley frequently visited a studio at Nkhoma where he used to make instrumentals with Gracium Nyambo, Grant Solo and Davie Nsaku. This widened his knowledge in production that he did not find it hard to continue with the art when he finished his secondary education.
Having friends with an interest in music helped Sley grow as a producer. His relationship with musicians Gwamba and Emmq just made things bigger and better considering that they were on the same chapter being all musicians. They did not have an idea as to what was going to be a public response to their music, to them it was part of chatting, and that is where the idea of Chit-Chat Records came about.
With an Advanced Diploma in Information Technology, DJ Sley’s passion remains deeply rooted in music production. He dreams to have a big studio just like any other big producer such as Timbaland, Don Jazzy, Oskido, you can name them.
“I feel am heading in the right direction, music production is what am really focused on and its passion that keeps me in this rather than going for job hunts,” he said.
The 28 year-old has worked with all major local urban artists; Tay Grin, Piksy, Gwamba, Malinga Mafia, the late Mafunyeta, Sam Simakweli, Sangie, Young Kay, and Third Eye among others. Internationally he has worked with Nigerian award winning musician 2baba, and DJ Cosmo.
DJ Sley is the producer behind Malawi’s anthem, Chipapapa, a song by Tay Grin featuring 2baba. The African elements in the instrumental make him another beatmaker to admire in Africa.
The capital city product has been nominated in this year’s Urban Music Party Awards in the best producer category. He faces strong challenge from BFB, Gaffar, and last year’s winner Tricky Beats.
Every time you listen to music that passed through his hands, be inspired by his advice.
“The only advice I can give the youth is, you have one option is life. Do school first then you can pursue your dreams so that if you fail to get papers required for you to be employed, you should have a backup plan, I don’t make music without a backup plan,” he said.
If you wish to host him in your house one day, make sure you have rice in your stock and minced meat in your refrigerator because that makes his favourite dish. As a proud Malawian, there are also plenty of local foods that waters his mouth.