Producer Speak: DJ Maphorisa on Humble Beginnings

It’s not often that you meet someone with a natural calling nurtured to the point of excellence. That is the story of Coke Studio Africa 4 superstar DJ Maphorisa (South Africa) who produces international guest star Trey Songz’s track with top African entertainers on the show, as well as a slew of artiste pairings.

The renowned hit maker says he has never had any music training; it was just something that came to him.

“I didn’t go to school to study music – everything I am I got from the streets. I started young doing hip hop beats at a small studio where I used to hang out with my cousin who was a rapper and singer. My first technology was Fruityloops (a digital audio workshop). That’s where it all started and where I decided to take the music where it’s supposed to be.”

The Pretoria native then moved to Johannesburg to get his big break.

He recalls: “That’s where it was happening. When I got to Jozi I was lucky enough to get to work with Kalawa Jazmee Records – one of the biggest companies in South Africa representing artistes like Mafikizolo and Bongo Maffin.” From there, the rest was history.

On Coke Studio Africa season 4, he produces the following artiste pairings: Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania) and Patoranking (Nigeria), Kiss Daniel (Nigeria) and Bahati (Kenya) as well as Jaguar (Kenya) and E.L (Ghana). He also produced some original songs while at it, such as Vanessa and Patoranking’s No. 1 Baby, and Jaguar and E.L’s Warrior.

Maphorisa seems to love all his songs as if they were his children.


“When I had come of age I started producing many artistes. Let me name drop the big ones – Yuri da Cunha’s Atchu Tchutcha featuring me, Mafikizolo’s Khona, Happiness and Colours of Africa featuring Diamond, among others… It’s been a long road.”


The DJ asserts that working with artistes can sometimes be just as hard as making it in the music industry. He advises all the upcoming music producers to “always humble yourself.”


This year Maphorisa released two EPs titled Dropping my album on my birthday 15 Nov 16 and the album Blaqboy EP. He also took home an MTV Africa Music Award for Best Collaboration for the song Soweto Baby.