Black Coffee is an extraordinary individual. He started DJing aged 13 – his grandmother didn’t mind too much as long so he was home to milk the cows at 0500 and 1600.
At 14 he had a terrible accident. He was celebrating the release of Nelson Mandela when a car veered into the crowd he was in. His left arm was permanently damaged and he only has the use of one hand. It didn’t stop him.
Through sheer determination he has become one of the most sought-after DJs in the world, regularly playing at iconic clubs in Berlin, Ibiza, Miami, and more. He’s also an award-winning producer of Afrohouse music and a luminary of the African music industry.
He says: "I find significance in the fact that the name of such a great man is linked to my accident. It’s a constant reminder of what I need to do as a young African guy who understands how much Africa needs guys who want to make Africa great. So every time I think of my injury, I think of this great man and I think of the responsibility that I have."
Black Coffee's latest passion is transforming the relationship between African artists and record labels: I've just bought Gallo, the biggest record company on the continent. Signing artists to labels is the worst way to help artists because the contracts are never fair. We’re starting a new way where we want every artist to have their own record label and own their music. Hopefully that’s something that can grow to the entire continent.”
He’s just dropped his much anticipated new album ‘Subconsciously’ - his first for several years. It includes collaborations with Celeste, Pharrell Williams, Usher, Diplo and many more. “I’ve never had an album this successful. We’ve hit over 100 million streams on it.”
But it hasn’t been met with universal enthusiasm. South African fans are holding back: “The locals are like: 'This album is not for us. This is not the Black Coffee we know.' But I’m like its 15 years later now. I’m definitely not going to sound the same. I need to move on, I need to grow, I need to find other people to collaborate with. I need to do a song with Coldplay now, with Adele, with Beyonce.”