No one really expected a guy who got his inspirations from the veteran music maker and spinner, Oscar ‘Oskido’ Mdlongwa, to panel beat the sound that will form part of the house music revolution. He may not be your extraordinary typical industry shaker but the work of Qhubani Ndlovu, better known as DJ Qness, is proof enough that this new addition to the industry is on Fire!
Growing up as an RnB and hip hop artist, Qness thought those were genres that would one day serve as his mainstream platform. However, that changed soon after he heard Oskido’s first Church Grooves release. After that, house music became the sound that he wanted to pursue. “I had been experimenting with RnB and hip hop but those are not our original South African sounds. Dance music was closer to home. Our ancestors used to beat the drum and dance a lot, so the genre was much closer to me as an African,” explains Qness.
He comments that, when writing new songs, he used a lot of percussion, drums and congas to bring out that unique original African sound.
The new star says he worked like a soldier to break into the music industry. “I remember there was a time when I even wanted to give up my music dream, but each time I saw success in other local DJs and producers, it inspired me more.”
To make it big, a unique song has to touch the inner soul. This talented young man’s inspirations are drawn from many things, including his own life experiences. “I am a very musical person and most of the things that I see, which affect my daily life, are easily translated into music. Because of the emotions and feelings attached to those events, my sound has always been soulful.”
Putting together great beats is not the only difficult task in the music-making industry. One needs to establish if the beats created require vocals to compliment the overall work. As for Qness, his selection of people to work with is influenced by those he believes in and on the nature of the song he is jotting.
The vocals to the song that made him a superstar – ‘Fugama Unamathe’ – were recorded in the UK. The vocals where recorded through a mutual friend who introduced Qness to the vocalist, Oluhle. “Since she was based in the UK, I had to send MP3 samples of the instrumental. Oluhle liked the song; she recorded the vocals and sent them to me.” After listening to the vocals, Qness was convinced that what he just heard would perfectly suit his beats and ‘Fugama Unamathe’ was born.
The song has generated so much attention that it ended up being remixed by many producers throughout the world. According to the mastermind behind the song, ‘Fugama Unamathe’ blew up locally, was picked up by the people who follow the South African music scene from abroad and was then broadcast on radio stations in Europe. Owner of Offering Records in Belgium Boddhi Satva heard the song and expressed his interest in releasing it worldwide. Instead of releasing it as an original single, a dub version, together with remixes made by Culoe de Song, Mzee, Aero Manyelo, Koro, Marie Joly and Boddhi Satva himself, became part of the package and was released worldwide. The song became a huge success and was on the Trax Source Top 100 worldwide top-selling singles for weeks.
Doubling as a DJ, Qness believes that the advantage of being a producer and DJ is that you can make a song today, test it in the club tomorrow and monitor how people react to it. “Other than that, being a club DJ helps me a lot in the sense that when I sit in my studio and make a new song, I already have an idea of what people are most likely to dance to.”
Qness is undoubtedly one youngster with a lot of potential for raising the bar. His first song, ‘Fugama Unamathe’ is a good example of how skilled the producer is. It is just a matter of time before we start hearing stories of Qness profiled in different international entertainment platforms.