Hitmaker Dr Feel is driven by passion
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Pretoria - Dr Feel is one of the most consistent and busiest producers and musicians in the Afrohouse/tech scene in the South Africa.
And his recipe for consistency and success is simple: “Passion gives me the biggest drive each day when I wake up,” he said.
“It’s like there is that gnawing voice deep inside telling me to create something whenever I feel like not doing anything.
“It’s persistent enough to give me the drive to get up and keep crafting.
“Also due to the ongoing lockdown and restrictions on artists to perform because of the pandemic, this forced me to focus more on creating music and making solid connections over the world wide web.”
Dr Feel said he had been creating music during the lockdown as a coping mechanism and a source of healing to other people who are going through a rough patch.
“As they say, music has the power to heal and it’s very therapeutic to some,” he said.
Dr Feel is based in Johannesburg and has been a part of the music industry since the late 2000s, working with many up and coming hip hop artists from Pretoria.
“My diversity, experience and talent allows me to create and produce any genre of music depending on the artist,” he said.
He has been around musical environments from a young age, from the time when he went to church with his parents when he was a young boy.
“The mood was always vibey.
“My church used certain African musical instruments which motivated me musically.
“From there I developed the love for music.”
He then started to carve his own path in the industry, inspired by the likes of the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the group’s imbube music.
Thee group’s vocal harmonies inspired him to do music, and he eventually joined a group which specialised in the genre.
He also looked up to kwaito artists, including Mdu, Mandoza, Zola, Mzambiya and Brothers of Peace.
“Kwaito was quite a cool genre, especially as it gave kids from the ghetto a voice; so I also wanted to be a part of that.
“Because of kwaito it was very easy to draw inspiration from USA hip hop artists, with the likes of 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, 9th Wonder, Jay Z, 2Pac, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and many others.”
Today, Dr Feel is one of the most notable ambassadors of Afrohouse/tech.
His production is dominated by African tribal chants.
Describing his sound, he said: “I am fascinated by telling African stories and history through my music.
“I try to fuse the electronic sound with African drums, and since I came from a gospel influence, there will always be heavy keys which honestly creates a unique style of Afrohouse/tech.”
For Dr Feel, every song has its own creative process so it’s quite difficult to break it down.
He said: “Sometimes I get musical notes while I’m taking a walk, then I record them on my phone.
“Another creative process is that I just switch on my laptop and start rocking.
“Sometimes I get a whole song in a dream, or I will be cooking then hit a spoon on a pot and there comes a rhythm hence the saying, music is all around you and it resonates with a lot of sound around us.”
The serial hitmaker said he would love to collaborate with Black Coffee, Manoo, Enoo Napa, Toshi, and even Adele if she ever would want to do a dance song. Drake is also on that list, because “he is versatile”, according to Dr Feel.
In addition, he said he always wondered how would Kanye West sound on an Afrohouse beat; he dream of collaborating with the iconic rapper in the future.
Dr Feel still refer to the advice he was given early in his career for strength – Humility, persistence, perseverance and determination.
He also referred to the quote by Allen Nyampa, which says “God’s will gets you the hammer factor”.
For a star with so many hit single, Dr Feel battles to select his best productions.
However, he singled out Ngoma, which had been played by Black Coffee in his overseas gigs.
The legendary DJ, in whose Dr Feel would love to be the opening act, also selected it on his Track IDs on Spotify.
His other songs that have been receiving much love and appreciation include Vaudzeyi Vanamate and Alien Speech.
If it was not for music, the producer said he would probably be an investigator.
“Seriously, I love the idea of making a difference in people's lives and catching bad guys and making sure they face the full might power of the law sounds pretty much dope to me,“ he said with a laugh.
He was also full of praise for the Internet how it impacted the music business.
“The Internet has given us the power and the platform to spread our wings and fly.
“The music industry used to be a one-sided affair with the record labels being the only way to release music.
“Now you don't need any of that as you can distribute your music from your phone and make a name for yourself.
“So many talented musicians have been discovered from the Internet, which is a great thing.
“Yes, there are downsides to it, for example piracy and the life span of music being very short, but that doesn’t hinder the freewill it gives to creatives to getting their voices head.”
And he had a word of advise for others wanting to venture into the industry: “Allow yourself to be driven by passion more than money.
“Also you need to have a thick skin.
“The music industry is not for the faint-hearted.”
Asked what he could change about the industry, if he could, he replied “it’s definitely the music contracts that turn artists into slaves”.
He closed the interview with his plans for the future: “As long as God is by my side, I’m coming with a lot more new music and more live performances once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
He will also be landing a helping hand whenever he can to other upcoming artists who needs guidance.
“This is the beginning; more great music with amazing collaborations is coming,” he said.