Mwazudka bwanji Africa? Malawi is the warm heart of our motherland and since this cold is becoming unbearable in Nairobi, it’s time we headed where the warmth at. Straight from Malawi, we hooked up with Dizzo, who has just released a new single, “Zimachitika” that is surely blazing the scene around Africa. Well, see what Dizzo is all about.
Iwe, muli bwanji? Let’s start this on a Chichewa note, dzina lanu ndani na mumachokera kuti?
My name is Alex Kachepa but everybody and their mother (including mine, lol) calls me “Dizzo”. I’m a rapper/singer/producer/songwriter and aspiring entrepreneur from the warm heart of Africa, Malawi. I run my own production and artist development outfit called “a1musicgroup” and I’m currently working on my mixtape titled “The D.O.L.O”
Ahahah, my mom is excluded though. So how long have you been doing this?
I’ve been around music all my life, my grandfather Kenneth Katenga Kaunda and his band, the Katenga humming bees, were the 1st recording artists from Malawi so music has always been in my blood you may say…but I really started coming to form in my late teens while living in England where I was introduced to a studio and taught how to construct music, interact with different artists and generally make music. I started off as just a rapper but then once I was shown how to make my own beats around 2003/4 I just picked it up and ran widdit! I’ve considered myself an artist since then so you can say I been in the game for about 10 years, but locally I been at it for about 5 or 6 years.
Safe to say you were born with it, but why did you embrace it really, you could have chosen another path, you know?
Ima be honest, all that glamour I saw on TV…the women, the cars, the bling, the lifestyle…I got into that a lot and just wanted to be somebody who could say “Hey, look at me…I’m a rapper!” But eventually I grew out of that and I realized that I had a talent and a passion for something so I made the decision this is what I’d like to do for the rest of my life and earn a living out of…Music!! My parents weren’t too happy though, lol!
For someone with such a background, you must be playing a couple of musical instruments, right?
Sadly, No…Wait, does being able to play “Happy Birthday” on a keyboard count?
Lol, that’s subject for discussion. So why would people choose your music amongst the crowd of other artists Dizzo?
The most common expression used to describe my music wherever I go is “Dude, you don’t sound like you’re from around here!!” And that’s coz of the eclectic mix I bring with my music…from the message, the delivery, the beats, the image…I try to mix a whole lot of different
experiences, sounds and inspiration which a lot of people relate to because music is expressive…it’s not meant to sound a certain way, as long as it sounds right. So I think my versatility is what I bring most because it ends up setting me apart from the usual crowd…the fact that I have the ability to be alone in the studio and literally make a track from scratch up to a finished enjoyable product also helps!
How did you put all that together to create your distinct sound?
I get asked this a lot…but there’s no general answer to it probably because I don’t have one particular style, lol. Like I said my artistic expression is very versatile…but what I’m most known for is switching styles right in the middle of song…one minute I’ll be dropping bars and the next 16 I’ll start singing my heart out. That came from a lot of time spent studying and listening to the most varied music…a lot of artists miss that part out nowadays but it helps you grow as an artist, eventually, it all came naturally. I never set out to develop a certain “style” but once people started pointing it out to me, I took advantage and developed it into what people hear, for example in my latest single “Zimachitika” where I sang the hook and bridge but rapped the rest of it yet it’s still undoubtedly me.
So do you feel you have evolved the sound since you began?
Wow…A lot…if u heard what I was doing 5/6 years ago and played it next to what you hear now…you’d be amazed!! Its mainly due to the fact that I make sure my music grows with me…my identity stays the same but my personality is evolving and I like to communicate that in my music as well…so from the “then” to the “now” I think the biggest change has been the content…as you grow you learn more, know more, and want to say more…because you’re a better and bigger human being…my music has changed that way too…I have more to talk about than jus “I want to go to the club” or “All these pretty girls want me”
Maturity surely comes with age. What embarrassing music is secretly hidden in Dizzo’s mp3 player?
Hahaha, I’m not sure if I should answer this one…but I will anyway. Right now…I have an obsession with the “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack…it’s all a bunch of sad love songs and that but man I just can’t get enough of it…and every time one of my guys finds it, all hell breaks loose on me!!!
Thanks to us, they just did find out, hahaa. Any genre of music you can’t listen to?
Oh man, sadly…it’s the local music that was made in Malawi during the 90’s era…My parents’ generation loved it so much and it always played in the house but as a musician, the lack of quality, depth and creativity in both production and content jus offends my ears! Only a few good musicians came out of that…
Who dare hates that? That was the richest form of music bruh! But I feel you, let’s talk about the current state of the industry in Malawi.
This is a hard one coz there’s so many factors involved…the game is picking up and people are warming up more to supporting local artists and accepting them into their culture…dudes are getting good paid gigs now, we have awards, the internet has made distribution issues a thing of the past so overall, the game in the country is in a much better position than it was even jus 3/4 years ago…but now the artists and gatekeepers need to step up and control the quality of music that gets out there. It’s no secret that EVERYBODY wants to be a rapper, but there needs to be a certain level of control on what gets out there to the public apart from who’s got the biggest pocket or who is friends with the most on-air-personalities/program producers. In the end such controls will take us all to greater heights than where we are now.
We hope you guys reach there soon. By the way, do they talk of dark forces in Malawi too?
Hahaha, I can’t wait till the day someone calls me “Malawilluminati” it probably wouldn’t hurt my publicity game man!! But on the real…that’s just how people are with entertainers as a whole I
think…that rock star image will attract the negative as well as positive connotations…people need to chill out though…I mean even the Beatles had negative attitudes towards them, can you imagine that? The Beatles????!!!
You are funny. What to you determines who gets to the top?
Nowadays, pure hard work…there’s so much competition out there, you can’t slack! Talent is barely enough to get your foot in the door but it’s necessary, once you have people’s attention you just got to keep pushing until you get exactly what you want, that’s what separates the boys from the men…so to speak.
When it comes to collaborations, are you with it? If so, who would you like to work with?
I love that!!! I mean what the Nigerians are doing right now with Tuface and T-pain, Dbanj and Kanye, P-square and Rick Ross I think it’s awesome especially for the African Music Industry.
I definitely have my own wish list of artists to work with like Wyclef…he’s been my idol for years, his music is genius and he straight up crazy…get him and me in a studio and guaranteed nothing less than amazing would follow, haha!
Do you have that performance that turned out so well you can’t help but cherish the memories?
I think, earlier this year when I performed my collabo with the legendary HHP at a club full of people who had never heard it and by the second hook ALL of them were singing along to my chorus…that was amazing!!
That must have been something. Music aside, what don’t we know about Dizzo?
I cook!! I mean I just like cooking mahn…every time I’m stressed out and there’s no music to make…I head to the kitchen and jus start cooking…and no one’s died yet so I must be doing good!
Apparently ladies love that. Talking about ladies, would you date a celebrity?
As long as it’s Rihanna or that fine young lady from Camp Mulla…yes…I definitely would 😉
A brother is allowed to dream you know….. Which country has the ‘IT’ when it comes to African akazi?
Oh, no doubt Malawi man…there’s a reason we are called the “WARM” heart of Africa…everything here is HOT!!!
Hahahaa, I guess I need to polish my Chichewa vibe then. Where would you love to chill and just have some good time?
On a beach in Angola…No brainer!!
Is there anything crazy you’ve ever been busted doing?
Hahahaha, well me and my peoples do tend to get a lil crazy when we decide to have fun so most definitely…I have…but at least nothing illegal…yet!
What do you wish for Africa man?
I wish Africa could just wake up and see the potential within!
How best can we help unite our Motherland?
More tolerance, less violence and a whole new wave of young, dynamic leaders who see more similarities than differences…and we aint too far from that I think.
Amen to that. Back to your music, what will make you feel contented at the end of your career?
My Ultimate goal and hope at the end of my career is firstly to have become an example to people…that even a Malawian can make it outchea!!! Secondly, to have made all the music that I have constantly rushing through my head until I ran out of ideas and die of “Lack of creativity”
And we trust you will achieve that. Zikomo. End this with a shout out please….
Shout out to you guys and your blog, my team @A1MG_mw , the fans who keep listening and the haters who keep fuelling…until next time!!!
Download “Zimachitika” here