Prince Kaybee talks about ‘Re Mmino’, his new 2019 album
Prince Kaybee is one of South Africa’s favourite and award-winning DJs. The JOOX team recently caught up with him at his studio on the day that his new 2019 album, ‘Re Mmino,’ went platinum.
In our in-depth 2019 interview, Prince Kaybee opened up about his new album, favourite songs, creative process and other interesting thoughts.
How does going platinum feel? What’s the formula to that success?
“It feels great. It’s nothing [I] anticipated. I was just dreaming about it. And finally now today we announced our platinum with my third album.
“So, I had to reach three albums to get to platinum. I appreciate the love and support. I can’t do this alone. It’s you guys, people that put us on these big streams, where you know, on the media for people to actually access us. So, shout out to the media, one time, and the fans, and the love, and support from the team.
“I think anything successful takes a while. This is a reflection of that. If it takes you one album to do platinum I feel like it’s a bit of a problem in a sense. You might hit the ceiling. What is there to achieve next? You know, so, it simply shows that you need more time to perfect your craft, and that is exactly what has been happening.”
We love one of your quotes, “Always wanna remember how far I’ve come to remind myself where I’m going.” How would you say this statement translates to your musical journey?
“If I could play my own songs. You know what I mean. So, I always play them to check how far I’m going. Wow, man. It’s energy. Energy always, you know, transforms me, especially in the studio. I get in the studio sometimes and I’m thinking about how I want to rock, sometimes I’m feeling sad. Whatever. It’s never about going back to where I was.
“You know, I always play that to you know, remind myself that I’m not going there. I’m going forward. You know what I mean? It’s very important that in anything in your life to reflect and remind yourself.”
Speaking of reflection, 2015 was a huge break-out year for you, and we’ve seen momentum from 2015 to 2019. We noticed that you have a series of tattoos on your left arm. Tell us about them?
“They’re all the hits. It’s from the first one, 2015. Yeah, from the first one.”
Looking at that, those different hits, how do you think you will be able to maintain that momentum? How do you think you can keep it going further beyond, so you can add more?
“I feel like, first of all, you don’t go to the studio and say that you’re making a hit. You do what you feel at that moment because if you are going to dictate how you feel it’s going to be a bit of a problem. Your mind is going to struggle with your heart. So, you must always follow your heart as far as the music is concerned. That’s what I always say.
“Sometimes you don’t get a hit. It’s okay. Sometimes you get in the studio after the first ten to fifteen minutes you like, oh, I see where you’re going. Sometimes you get there [at the studio] and you’re just blocked.
“So, it shouldn’t be about dictating, but you get to a certain point in music production where you design the song. So, what I mean is, you get to the studio, the idea is there but there is no motivation behind it. It’s like having a nine-to-five. You go to work but sometimes you don’t want to go but you have to go and produce whatever you know. So, that’s what it is like in the studio sometimes. You design the song. You work according to what is in your mind and you just execute.”
Looking at your journey; is there anything you would change?
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
Why wouldn’t you change anything?
“There is nothing I would change. Like, if I could change something I wouldn’t have a platinum-selling album today. You know, so everything is going as I want. Some people might say it is slow. Some people might say it is too fast. But I think the pace is amazing.”
What do you look for when searching for a vocal collaborator?
“I mean, talent is talent. Anyone can tell who is a good singer but only a few people write, and songwriting is very important to me.
“So, I look for that. I look for how you carry yourself in the studio, and well, of course, I’m looking at what we are going to present on stage. When I make music, I always imagine the crowd. So, how will you move around on stage, stuff like that?
“Remember, a song, when you are a music producer and the vocalist comes on, it’s two ideas, two energies that need to complement each other on the song. It’s not about me. I know I do the mixing, mastering and the final product but the vocalist with the songwriting does actually does a lot, fifty percent of the song. So, you need to get that right with obviously a dope voice and you know, you have a hit.”
What has working with Msaki been like?
“Msaki is a special case, man. I remember when I sent her a song two years ago she wasn’t feeling it. So, I’m a big supporter of people that say what’s on their mind, not because you are approached to do a collaboration, you’re doing it just because. You need to do it for the music, you know. Firstly, we need to identify that. So, for me, Msaki came out just like that, she didn’t like the song. So, I could tell from a producer’s perspective, that she knows what she wants.
“A few years later. Two years later. She managed to get on the song, and we recorded the song. With that, she admitted that she didn’t feel the song at first but now that I’ve played it a couple of times I can write for it. So, for me, not only for Msaki, for every vocalist, you need to know what you want. Even a studio mustn’t come and overpower you. If I have ideas I put them down and the best idea wins. It’s not about who has the best idea or who is trying to overpower anyone.
“So, that’s what Msaki came across as, as someone who knows what she wants.”
How did the song “Gugulethu” come about?
“We were in the studio with Indlovukazi, Afro Brothers and DJ Supta. Everything is about urban stuff, city lights and all that. So, I was like, let’s try to take back to where we come from. You know, this was done back in the days when kwaito was big. Everyone was singing about the townships but now I hardly ever hear that. Sometimes in music when you come up with the words, they make sense. I could have easily said ‘Alex’ but the music has to flow. So, ‘Gugulethu’ was the one.”
What is your favourite Prince Kaybee song?
“‘Fetch your life.’ ‘Fetch your life’ is an amazing song. I never in my life felt so strong about a song. It’s not even about the ‘it’s me, yes, I did this song’. It’s not about that. It’s how I see the song as motivating people in my life, in my family, the fans and even my peers. I’ve heard so many songs that were inspired by that song. So, that for me is an achievement, to actually pave the way forward for upcoming artists.”
Black Coffee or DJ Fresh, whose music would you rather listen to now?
If you had to pick between your “Club Controller”, “Charlotte” or “Wajellwa” songs, which one would you choose?
Which hairstyle would you choose between dreadlocks or a fade?
Which was a better year for you, 2015 or 2019?
Do you prefer being on stage or in the studio?
We know that you made a playlist of songs that you like to drive to. So, when it comes to cars, do you prefer ‘speed’ or ‘sound’?
“‘Sound’ and ‘speed’. I think I would say, when I’m in a car, I hardly listen to music because I have got really loud cars. I’ve got a team of guys and we race a lot. You know, legally so. So, I would say ‘speed’.”
We enjoyed hanging out with Prince Kaybee. The thoughts he shared about his career and music are inspiring.
Watch our interview
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Listen to Prince Kaybee’s new 2019 album ‘Re Mmino’
Find out why Prince Kaybee’s new album ‘Re Mmino’ just went platinum. Listen to his new 2019 album now.
Enjoy the ‘The Club Controller: Prince Kaybee’ music playlist
Listen to this exclusive playlist now.
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