Q: How do you classify your music?
A: The music I make falls under the “Amapiano” genre. It is the in thing right now and it seems to have some staying power. I am all about keeping current and right now that is what the people like. I must say that although this is my current vibe, it does not mean I do not work on other sounds. I have recorded other genres and collaborated with many artists outside the Amapiano genre. I cannot wait to share what we have been working on.
Q: We were introduced to La Tonde` the artist during the very first lockdown. Was your career a result of too much time on your hands or are we just late to the party?
A: I have always been a part of the music industry but was just never on the stage as a performer. My involvement before this was through event organising and promoting and as a regular in that space, I developed some ties with those in the industry. I also have close friends in music production. So yes, having all that time on my hands during the lockdown, I found myself in one of the studios and the magic followed. I am generally a funny guy and I always make sure there are positive vibes everywhere I go and in all that I do. That has helped make my transition to music smooth.
Q: What is your favourite music genre and why?
A: I like enjoy all types of music but I have a soft spot for rhumba. I love it because it incorporates a lot of musical elements. I grew up watching DRC Rhumba videos as well as Franco and I admired what they did. But as I said, if it’s quality, it really doesn’t matter what genre it is. I will jam to it.
Q: Did your passion for the rhumba influence your music career?
A: Yes, rhumba music is very particular about quality and originality. So yes, it has had a big influence on the way I approach my music. It is all I play in my car and it helps me to holistically understand sound. Amapiano is a very flexible genre that reminds me of kwaito in that gives us artists the leeway to experiment with sound.
Q: How do you balance having a full time job, a family and your music?
A: Being busy is really good for me. My wife is very supportive and my job has entertainment elements to it. But although it balances out in that regard, it is extremely challenging. My wife complains sometimes, especially if she feels like I am not getting enough rest. We are recording a lot now, and by the time the industry reopens, we will be able to dedicate a lot more time to performances and less to the studio.
Q: You are one of the few artists in Botswana to have received the Yarona FM Top 40 plaque for Best Song in the country. Tell us about that experience?
A: That was definitely one of the highlights of my early career, being one of only two artists to ever receive it to-date. That was a huge accomplishment for me and my team. I am still absolutely amazed by how well all our singles did on radio. I owe my music career to my Producer and Friend who is really the true genius behind the LA-Tonde brand. To everyone who has been with us and supportive, God Bless. All of the singles, Dibulele, Askies and most recently Thandile, have all made it to the Number 1 spot on the charts and that is an incredible thing, especially for me as a new artist. It really motivates my team to work even harder. We look forward to our new music doing just as well.
Q: Over a very short period of time, you have managed to establish your place in the Botswana music industry during a pandemic. I can imagine that it must have taken a lot of hard work. What sacrifices have you had to make to ensure your success?
A: Late nights in the studio, looking for ways to make curfew laws work and putting in a lot of time into the production were key to our success. We made sure that the content shared on social media was relatable to the audience as opposed to just using gimmicks to get the music out.
Q: Based on the social media dance challenges that we have seen over the past two years, you have very energetic and loyal supporters. How do you keep them engaged, seeing as we are in the midst of COVID-19 with limited human interaction?
A: It is very important for fans to see you for who you really are. Don’t change. Just give them your all and the rest will follow. I must say though that it was a shock for many because I have always been the ‘corporate type.’ So seeing me break out of my shell like that must have been really entertaining.
Q: You are nominated in two categories for the 2021 YAMAs, Song of The Year (SOTY) and Best Amapiano (BA) for “Dibulele” AKA “Serame Weee.” The SOTY category has a lot of heavy weight contenders. This must be a very big deal for you?
A: History in the making, to be honest. It is the most amazing accomplishment for myself, my producer Names, and my entire team. When I talk about my team, I am also including the supporters because ultimately the process is not complete without their input. But what would be even more amazing would be winning in both categories. I say history because I cannot remember this happening to any new artist in recent years. I stand to be corrected, but for the team it is an amazing feat. I must also add that Minister Peggy Serame, who is the main feature on the song, approves and loves the song, and that makes it all the more special and memorable.
SMS *BA01* TO 16106 OR *SOTY02* TO 16106 to vote for LA-Tonde`s Serame Weee