The term ‘Modern Pantsula’ may be more relevant when trying to define Tete’s essence. A kid from the ghetto “eKasi”, chasing his dreams. Not only does he see himself as a creative and motivator, but a great musician too. His music draws heavily from the sound and the character of the Kwaito, genre the soul of funk, and the heart of SA Kasi.

Exploring Tete’s Music and Single “Frostan”

How would you describe yourself as a musician?

I tell stories that derive from Hilbrow, where I come from. I tell stories that actually related to the common folk and the environment. Normally it’s the ghetto, iKasi.

How did your music career come about, and if it wasn’t for music what would you be doing?

I think I’d be a dancer.

So growing up I’ve always been a dancer and people around me would encourage me about being a dancer and music was just playing a major role in the background. Later in my high school times, that’s when I started venturing into music.

My first time was in 2012, being in the studio and recording. Since that day I never looked back.

Since you say you are ‘iPantsula lase kasi’ what does that mean?

 I am always trying to find the best way how to narrate stories that come from the hood. Where people can actually feel like they are considered.

From Dancing to Music: Tete’s Transition and Advice for Aspiring Musicians

How did you transition from being a dancer to telling stories through your music?

I outgrew the dancing thing with time. I ended up knocking on doors trying something different but from a young age I knew how to sing, I always knew that I could. One day I just woke up and didn’t want to dance anymore but to venture into music. The universe just placed me in the right place to meet with the right people just to get me in the right direction.

I also loved writing music from an early age, I think in grade 4 where I would just write lyrics, they don’t even make sense but that’s what I would do.

What would you say to someone who’s looking into starting music but is not sure how to go about it?

They need to keep at it. It’s a learning curve, it’s new experiences and lessons one needs to learn. I think just learning and perseverance and hard work. Because a lot of people get into music for the wrong reasons, fame and all these other things which is not the true reality of it.

Tete’s Love for Kwaito, Funk, Soul, and Jazz: The Birth of Afro Funk

Why Afro-funk?

I have been working with my producer for some time and there really wasn’t much progress in what we were doing. There was something I was actually yearning for and I couldn’t really put my finger on it.

Being exposed to Kwaito and coming from that background that’s all I knew but one day I was in the studio with my pianist and my producer and then we worked, that’s how the song came about. Before I knew it we were on ten songs. A fresh and whole new experience I was enjoying.

That’s when I said I need to give it a name, Afro-funk, a fusion of kwaito and African funk, soul, and jazz.

Honoring Mental Health: The Story behind Tete’s Single “Frostan”

Who does your music speak to?

I’d like to say, everyone. Anyone who listens to my music can relate.

Tell us more about your single “Frostan”?

How this song came about was actually crazy. It was after the passing of Riky Rick and we were just chilling in the studio talking about the mental illness issue being on the rise, especially as men.

So it was pretty much us paying homage and sending out love to everyone regarding mental health.

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