It’s hard to talk about the history of South African music without mentioning Oscar Bonginkosi Mdlongwa, better known as Oskido.

Andile Ncube, DJ Oskido, Zonke Dikana and Arno Carstens during the X Factor launch at the Montecasino Ballroom on July 9, 2014 in Fourways, South Africa. Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and DJ Oscar "Oskido" Mdlongwa were announced as the judges and Andile Ncube will be the host of the show. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo)

Andile Ncube, DJ Oskido, Zonke Dikana and Arno Carstens during the X Factor launch at the Montecasino Ballroom on July 9, 2014 in Fourways, South Africa. Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and DJ Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa were announced as the judges and Andile Ncube will be the host of the show. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo)

Having launched musical heavyweights such as Boom Shaka, Bongo Maffin, Thebe and Mafikizolo, Oskido has earned himself the title “The godfather of South African dance music”.

With a great understanding of local music and the ability to stay relevant in a highly competitive industry, it is no surprise he is among the most sought-after producers in the country.

With The X Factor SA premiering on SABC 1 in September, thousands of hopeful musicians will have access to the musical maestro. Oskido will be judging and mentoring contestants alongside songstress Zonke Dikana and rock singer Arno Carstens.

Very often, winners of talent shows tend to fade away from the music industry even before they have made their mark. The X Factor SA’s decision to get Oskido on board offers the contestants the best chance of making it.

For the past 20 years, Oskido’s record label, Kalawa Jazzmee, has been at the forefront of discovering some of the country’s best talent and making their dreams come true.

He says: “I’ve always been passionate about young musicians. The idea of contributing to someone else’s success is very exciting to me.”

The 46-year-old’s journey to being a leader in the music industry was not easy. Having grown up in Zimbabwe, Oskido moved to Johannesburg as a teenager to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. Inspired by DJs such as Frankie Knuckle, Louis Vega and Steve Silks Hurley, Oskido would reproduce their records by adding vocals in vernacular and putting them on cassette, joining the musicians who helped create the unique sound of kwaito.

Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and DJ Oskido during the X Factor launch at the Montecasino Ballroom on July 9, 2014 in Fourways, South Africa. Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and DJ Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa were announced as the judges and Andile Ncube will be the host of the show. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo)

Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and DJ Oskido during the X Factor launch at the Montecasino Ballroom on July 9, 2014 in Fourways, South Africa. Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and DJ Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa were announced as the judges and Andile Ncube will be the host of the show. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo)

After six months in a stable job at a car dealership, Oskido quit and decided to make ends meet by selling hot dog rolls in Hillbrow instead.

“I know what it is like to struggle to make a career out of something you are passionate about, he says. “It’s very easy to find a musician who is famous but is also broke – that really breaks my heart.”

Despite being snubbed by major record companies such as Gallo, Sony Music and BMG Records, Kalawa Jazzmee has grown to be among the most successful black-owned record companies, dominating at award ceremonies such as the SA Music Awards (SAMAs) and the Metro FM Awards for years.

Known as the man who would go as far as buying groceries for some of his struggling artists, Oskido says his success lies in the number of musicians he has helped.

“When you are passionate about music, money can’t be your only driving force. And for me, money has never been important – but artists need to take themselves seriously to be able to feed their families and have sustainable careers.”

As a mentor on the show, Oskido will also be sharing some of the biggest lessons he has learnt in the industry.

“Thinking that you are untouchable is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. I always tell young artists: ‘Never stop listening to advice.’ Yes, you are working at clubs and parties where there could be drugs and groupies, but treat it like a nine-to-five job.”

“You need to be focused and level headed to get a ‘yes’ from me.”

Source: Nandipha Pantsi|Citizen.co.za

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