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DJ Pepsi (pictured) is back with his first album in six years and the proud man is smiling with glee. Glee because sales-wise Royal House Collection Volume 2 is doing better than any other CD released in his career to date.
Proud because he believes it is his best offering so far. Obviously it is vocally uplifting house music, as is to be expected from Pepsi.
“I took care with each song. Each and every song has a story to tell,” says Pepsi.
“I wanted to grow with my audience and they appreciate music like this. There are no rappers on this album, no jump-jump.”
Instead, what he has done is to gather a collection of top vocalists for the album. This includes New York house sensation, Monique Bingham, as well as Dr Malinga, Afrotraction and Judith Sephuma.
In fact, this is the famous jazz singer’s first attempt at house music. She opens Pepsi’s album on a track featuring Magesh.
So just how did this house DJ get the queen of South African jazz to feature on a banging house track with a notorious kwaito artist?
Pepsi smiles his famous smile: “I just asked her. I wanted to work with serious vocalists from other genres and see how they could fit into house. I just phoned Judith and she said ‘yes’. I had never met her before. The first time I saw her perform was in the Blues Room in Sandton back in the day. I fell in love with her music. She’s a big artist and I was so nervous. She is very funny. She oozes positive energy.
“The song was recorded in Zwai Bala’s studio. She was like: ‘Yeah, I want to do this’. It was so amazing recording the song. As for Magesh, well, if he didn’t want to do what I wanted him to do, I just bullied him.”
The track with Bingham, Pride, is doing well on iTunes as are many of the other songs, including the track featuring Afrotraction. Like Sephuma and Bingham, Afrotraction have an older following which again appeals to DJ Pepsi’s market. However, the album is also enjoying success among a younger market.
“Most young kids don’t know who I am. I am faceless, but that hasn’t stopped them enjoying my music.
“With this album, I went into the studio a boy and came out a man because of the calibre of the artists I worked with. I also took a while in between albums because I am not one of those guys who goes in just to do an album. I was supposed to take three months and instead I took six. This is the best album I have ever done in my life.
“Before, I would just ask kwaito producers and do something quick, quick, but now I want quality. I took my time mixing the vocals with Kalawa Jazmee’s Bruce Dope. Bruce is the master blaster; you can’t go wrong with him.”
Pepsi is particularly proud of his collaboration with Byron Stingily of Ten City fame and EL who was a backing singer to the groundbreaking house crew. But he knows he will fly with his big single, Pride.
“We are planning remixes including one with Mahoota (his close friend and business partner) as well as the Kalawa Dance label. We are planning a European release as well as in other parts of the world.”
DJ Pepsi has also spread his wings to radio and now has his own show on Radio 2000 from 8pm to 10pm every Friday. He has also been nominated for a Metro FM Award against DJ Tira and others and is planning DJ trips to the US and Europe.