Ballantine’s Scotch whisky and long-term partner Boiler Room are pledging to do their part in creating a safer, fairer future for music culture through their new global event series True Music Studios. Building on their commitment from the past seven years to champion global diversity in music, True Music Studios features a mix of live performances, educational events and community experiences curated by cutting edge collaborators who are pushing forward local music scenes. The hybrid sounds of Amapiano will be led by the dubbed female boss who helped define the scene, DBN Gogo.
Music fans can expect live and globally streamed performances from the pioneering headline acts, shared with millions around the world, along with special guest appearances by those defining each scene. There will also be educational ‘in conversation’ talks with leading artists, promoters and producers from the local communities who are pushing boundaries and shaping scenes, and masterclasses with local collectives. Community events will see local promoters being handed the keys to the True Music Studios to set the stage for emerging talent, providing listening sessions and creative spaces where music collectives can collaborate.
Music lovers will see the Possible hitmaker, DBN Gogo curate a 9 days’ experience that will include live performances from Mzansi’s top Amapiano vocalists Boohle and Lady Du headlining the globally-streamed parties. The line-up also includes Musa Keys, Young Stunna, Kelvin Momo, Que DJ, DJ Stokie, Kyotic, Uncle Waffles, Ms Party and Sfarzo Rtee.
The series will also include educational talks aimed at tackling how South African music has rapidly grown internationally in recent years. Key industry players will unpack the journey and challenges in the music industry that ultimately culminated in this rise and global recognition. This pivotal conversation hosted by DJ and radio presenter Lamiez Holworthy will include creative force Busiswa, DBN Gogo herself, as well as the senior marketing and PR expert, Ayanda Mhlongo.
True Music Studios will provide community emerging talents a platform to make use of the space for listening sessions and creative collaborations with Lawk Fest and premier LBGTQI event platform, Same Sex Saturdays. The community events will also include Ebumnandini & Prime, DJ Lag, Blxckie, Lelowhatsgoo and Kat Upendi.
Boiler Room X Ballantine’s True Music Studios schedule:
In Conversation With Busiswa, Lamiez Holworthy, DBN Gogo, & Ayanda Mhlongo: The Rise and Rise of SA Music
Ballantine’s presents IDA dance workshop and Pretty Girls Love Amapiano
Party Broadcast: Boohle (Live) / Young Stunna (Live) / DJ Stokie / Kyotic / Uncle Waffles / Sfarzo Rtee
True Music Fund Party: Ebumnandini x Prime
Community Party: Same Sex Saturdays
Masterclass with Thuli Keupilwe of Lawk Communications: Music Industry 101
Community Party: Lawk Fest
Party Broadcast: Lady Du (Live) / Reece Madlisa & Zuma (Amaroto) / Musa Keys / Kelvin Momo / Que DJ / Ms Party
Our very own collaborator and Amapiano boss, universally loved for her captivating DJ sets and high energy charisma.
A huge personality in the scene with an avid online following and one of the seminal Amapiano hosts, watch out for the killer dance moves too!
The breakout singer from Vosloorus, East Johannesburg, has had a rapid ascent. Whether it’s on her hits Wamuhle, Mama or Inyembezi, or her hook on Cassper Nyovest’s enormous global hit Siyathandana, her gospel-influenced vocals are currently inescapable in the Amapiano landscape.
Undoubtedly Amapiano’s current hottest name, Young Stunna has followed a string of hits with a huge album in ‘Notumato’, which not only hit number one in South Africa but has charted high across the continent. With heavyweight co-signs from the likes of Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, the only way is up for this incredible talent.
Stokie has long been a trendsetter in the Amapiano scene, breaking tunes long before the public get their hands on it. As one of the most respected DJs currently doing it that side, the BR debut was long overdue!
The resident DJ for Back To The City Festival (aka the biggest Hip Hop festival in Africa), and an incredibly versatile DJ who can play music from right across the SA music spectrum.
A viral sensation, her stock has risen exponentially after a video of her dancing to her own set put the internet alight. While she undoubtedly has charisma by the tonne, it’s underpinned by a very astute and finessed track selection which keeps the grooves heavy and deep.
One for those that know, Pretoria’s Sfarzo Rtee has been a secret weapon for club-ready Amapiano selectors for a few years. Now finding his own success with huge tracks such as ‘Possessed Whistle’ it’s time to give him his shot.
Singer, rapper, DJ, producer, dancer, radio presenter… There’s very little Lady Du doesn’t do, and do well. As one of the most prominent and recognisable voices in the Amapiano scene, her talents have been employed by its biggest stars, from Maphorisa to JazziQ.
Reece Madlisa & Zuma (Amaroto)
Despite being relatively new to the scene – having released the first Amaroto record in 2020, Reece and Zuma have quickly shot to the top of the scene as two of amapiano’s most charismatic performers and consistent hitmakers. Having worked with a who’s-who of the production superstars, from DJ Maphorisa to Mr Jazziq to Busta 929, the Amaroto stock continues to rise
Tipped to be one of the scene’s next global production stars, Musa has been building a steady catalogue of hits, not least his ‘Vula Mlomo’ and huge collaboration with DBN Gogo – ‘Possible’. Also a skilled dancer and a style icon, this could very well be the spark that he needs to go global.
Known for his deep and soulful production, Kelvin Momo is known for keeping things classy, with understated club tracks that are heavy on mood and low on cheap pyrotechnics.
Que DJ (gqom set)
Once half of the all-powerful Distruction Boyz duo, Que DJ has branched out on his own to create a refined Gqom sound that has a polished and refined feel, but still manages to capture the rhythmic chaos that makes the genre so exciting.
A long time fixture on the Joburg DJ circuit, Olwee made their first step into releasing music in a big way with the Josiah De Disciple and Lady Du featuring ‘Ms Party’. One of the few openly queer DJs in the Amapiano scene.
The cultural powerhouse that is Lawk hosts a spin-off event from their huge flagship event (the last festival had thousands of attendees) showcasing their new signing and up and coming talent, with a few special guests in the mix…
Same Sex Saturdays
As Joburg premier LGBTQI event, SSS has provided an essential and flourishing platform and space for the cities queer scene. DBN Gogo has played several of their events, and they are renowned for their vibrant party atmosphere.
Mellow & Sleazy
Mellow and Sleazy represent the new generation of Amapiano vocalists.
Additional artists featuring in the programme, amongst others:
- Ebumnandini & Prime
- DJ Lag
- Lamiez Holworthy
- Ayanda Mhlongo
- Thuli Keupilwe of Lawk Communications
- Blxckie (Live)
- Kat Upendi
- There is an operational lift providing access to all floors of the venue from street level
- There is ramp access from ground floor to the first floor
- An accessible toilet is located on the first floor
- There are both steps and ramps providing access between the dancefloor and bar area
- There is limited seating for guests at the venue
- There will be event lighting in operation, with the potential use of strobe effects
- Ear plugs will be available upon request; please ask a member of staff
- A quiet space will be available upon request should this be needed by guests, please ask a member of staff
- A medic will attend all events
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