By Temnotfo Mvubu
The first time I heard his music I was standing outside Mario’s parking lot with the team. This was the very same night that we met Sjava and the only reason we were at that particular location was because intel had us believing that the rapper had already arrived for his show. Wrong. He was, as stardom would have it, fashionably late and we would soon discover why. However, while standing on the curb watching as Vizy collected tags, a band began to play. The sound was coming from inside the complex and the tune was undeniably catchy. We made our way inside just as the artist began to perform. The lyrics were laced with humour as they told a story of a woman walking out on their lover. The song you may ask? Camp chair by the ever so dapper Carrency of course and man did he light up that stage. Fast track to 2019, and riding a super high wave of the hit song, new single MaOut and a looming album tour, it’s safe to say that this star is rising and if you don’t pay attention, you might just miss it all. We took a minute to pick the local muso’s brain and this blog post is all things about that.
Who is Carrency and what moves him?
“My real name is Castro Motsa, stage name Carrency. I was born in the Kingdom of Eswatini and I grew up in Moneni, a township right outside Manzini. Music moves me, art moves me. I’m all about art and making sure that I live my life to the fullest. My stage name is a mix of both my real name and the idea of how international I want my brand to be. I didn’t want to box myself in using a name that’s only relatable to Eswatini, but I wanted something that was inclusive of the entire world; same way in how everyplace on the globe has a currency. It’s universal.”
Why did you choose to venture into music?
“I’d say music chose ME.I have always been surrounded by people who love music, like my dad who’s a huge fanatic as well as my siblings and our mother. So I grew up listening to a lot of music and writing it too. Although I started recording late, I have always been writing. So it has always been a part of my life. I can’t even imagine a world without it.”
You debuted Camp chair in 2018. What was the concept behind the song and who did you work with on the music video?
“Camp chair came about as a story I wanted to tell. It felt like something everyone would relate to cause we have all at one point or another experienced rejection or a breakup. So I wrote the song (not from personal experience though but out of relevance) and then added some humour with the idea of my lover getting fed up and leaving with everything except the camp chair. For the music video, I worked with the visionary and super talented Director Kwenu of Motion Skies Pictures and the pretty model was Nomcebo Dlamini. “
How would you describe your sound and what inspires the music you make?
“My sound is a fuse of afro pop, kwaito and a bit of regular pop. I grew up listening to a lot of Tkzee, Zola, Mafikizolo and even Malaika. So it was a fusion of southern African sounds. You know, that South African vibe where you get the nicest hook, beat and a tempo that people will be able to sing, listen and dance along to.”
Who in the industry whether international or local have you worked with?
Locally, I didn’t work with anyone on my album because I just wanted to be myself and show the world who Carrency is. I didn’t want any outside influences, just my own feel, own sound as well as own ideas around the project. However the album was produced by Mr Kangaroo, Eimsofly, Young Pro and Hass.
What’s the biggest challenge with producing music in Eswatini and creating a career around it?
“Obviously the situation where we independent artists have to provide for ourselves financially so we can create the best quality music. Money is still a problem for most of us especially because there’s not much coming in from what we do and rather we’re just pushing passion. So the biggest challenge is just finding ways to work hard so we can build a life from what we do as well as just trying to find the balance. Most artists here have to be 8-5 people by day and musicians by night, so that’s the struggle. Despite it though, we’re still creating the music because this is our dream. “
Tell us about Umsindvo and the upcoming Album tour.
My album is out on every digital music store worldwide. The title is Umsindvo, it has 13 tracks and it’s nice, feel-good music. It’s a mix of different genres, from kwaito to hip hop and even gospel. It’s a great album and I will be doing the album tour nation-wide, starting at Siteki on the 1st of June. The end game is to then tour beyond our borders. I have my fingers crossed about taking my music to South Africa and even Europe too. Still working on that. The lead single on the album is Camp chair, followed by MaOut and I will be dropping my third single soon too. Stay tuned for that.
What do you hope for people to take from your music?
“I’m just hoping for people to enjoy the work and appreciate the kind of sound I’m making. I’m honestly trying to create an identity whereby people will relate to the Carrency sound and acknowledge how different Swazi music is in terms of rhythm production and song writing. I also hope people will appreciate the storylines behind the music. “
Your style is unique. Would you consider yourself a fashion icon?
“I AM a fashion icon. I truly believe so. I’m trying to brand myself differently. I’ m very unique and I’m not copying anyone. The sishweshwe is something my team and I came up with as a way of shaping the entertainment culture and making sure that I can create a trend that people aspire to. I don’t want you to just follow the music, I want you to follow the whole package. The fashion included. It’s just wanting to be different.”
Any advice you would give to other artists trying to break into the music scene?
“What I can say is; stick to your goal and don’t put pressure yourself. Everyone has their own time and season. I have mine and you have yours. Work hard on your brand and make sure you put all your energy into what you want to do and the rest will follow. Above all that, make sure you live your dreams. And remember that no one is going to do the work for you so get it done”