Pretoria - One of Tshwane's finest producers and DJs, Essential I, released his debut studio album Rise Up on Friday.
Essential I, real name Itumeleng Riba, of Ga-Rankuwa said the first single off the album, titled The Weekend, would be serviced to radio stations across the country during the first week of next month.
He described his album as contemporary house, or laid-back soulful house tunes. On Rise Up, the DJ, producer, songwriter and remixer believes he found his niche, art and vision.
The material on the album was composed and produced by Essential I and saw him explore contemporary influenced house grooves overlaid with live percussion, brass, keys and guitars that he arranged.
“The whole contemporary/house vocal influence was something I have always wanted to do and I just took a leap of faith and did it. I wanted to show my versatility as a DJ, producer, remixer and songwriter,” the 32-year-old said.
Deeptone Recordings recorded and engineered while the mixing was done by Essential I at Ga-Rankuwa Studio to help capture the diverse influences that he brought to the studio from the time he started planning the project away from the public eye.
The album features some of the finest talent in and around South Africa, including Relo from legendary hip hop group Skwatta Kamp, award-winning R * B artist Bryce Anderson, up and coming songbird Ole and Vuky J as the musical director of the project.
Essential I, said his musical journey started from childhood as he grew up.
His first hands-on experience was in 1999 when he used to accompany his uncle to community parties, weddings and other functions, where he would help with sound equipment connections and monitoring.
Through that he gained some knowledge on how to handle the sound equipment and the kind of music to play at various functions.
In 2001, he got his first chance to play on turntables at a friend’s place where he learnt the skill and technique of mixing and blending music and also track selection.
From then on he started collecting his own vinyl records and started playing at some of the hottest parties around his hometown.
It was not long before his name was on people’s lips.
Due to the ever-changing trends of the music scene, he got exposed to the world of music creation in 2005, the same year he matriculated.
He studied electrical engineering in 2006.
After completing the course he saw the need to continue with the music, as a result he went back to his home studio to sharpen his production skills with the help of other musicians and producers who had been in the industry for a long time.
Taking in all the tips and inspiration from his favourite artists and producers, he went on to create music for the next four years.
His first release (not studio) was in 2009 under Infinite Records headed by the duo Infinite Boys. Staff Reporter