At 26, Benny Afroe is making waves in the music industry, earning respect from both industry leaders and fans. He shares with us where it all began and his success tips
South Africa is no longer a stranger to global music stages and studios. Many renowned artists, such as Black Coffee, Lira, Sho Madjozi and Nasty C have been raising the South African flag (and music) high, paving way for up-and-coming artists to do the same. Benny Afroe is already enjoying a number of milestones, like releasing, This Feeling, featuring Ami Faku, which is receiving a lot of airplay, as well as showcasing at the 33rd annual South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (SXSW) in Texas, this March. He sets aside his busy schedule to chat to us about his journey:
Take us back to your childhood in Limpopo, what were your career dreams?
My childhood was filled with a lot of music. I used to be sick a lot as a child, so I used to stay at home and watch my dad rehearse or listen to some of his music, as well as other songs from other musicians. I have always wanted to be a musician, although the dream almost faded when I reached my early teens because my parents discouraged me from doing it
Your influence in music came from your dad, but your parents were not happy with your career choice in music? What were the main concerns for them?
The music industry has a lot of challenges, which I have personally seen since I started doing music and I think those were some of the things that my parents were trying to protect me from. You work under a lot of pressure and sometimes, things don’t go the way you want them to and there is a lot of negative energy, which is not good for any human being. In the beginning it’s very hard, especially financially and that starts having a toll on you.
Share with us how you broke into the music industry and what have been some of the challenges you had to face?
I was a music producer for a long time before I started rapping. Then I met people in the industry who recognised my work and they introduced me to their network. That’s when I decided to be in front of the mic and put my music and music videos on the internet. The biggest challenge was trying to reach a bigger audience, especially when I was independent, as you don’t know the right people and it was financially burdensome to put myself out there.
You also studied law, do you think that has helped you in your career, somehow?
Definitely, I think studying law helped me a lot because I am more conscious of the business side of the music industry. I pay close attention to what I sign and what the fine print really means because I want to make music for the longest time and need to be careful with what I sign
Why did you decided to showcase at the 33rd annual South by Southwest Conference and Festivals and how do you hope it will grow your career?
I’ve always dreamt of an opportunity like this. One where I could have the chance to share my homegrown talent with the rest of the world. This opportunity will also give me the platform to network with other musicians from all over the world. This is a dream come true for me
Who is your target audience and who do you want to resonate with your music?
My target market is anybody who is a fan of good music. I am not a genre-based musician and that gives me a chance to interact with different audiences from across target groups. I love reaching out to people from different backgrounds through a song. I think honest music connects and if people can resonate with it than I count them as my target audience.
How do you define success?
My definition of success is having an impact. Doing something that you truly love, wouldn’t mind doing it for free and exuding positive energy from it, that for me is success.
What are your success tips to young people?
Keep at it, be consistent. Always learn and put in the 10 000 hours.
Check out his song with Ami Faku below: