‘I never thought I would be a musician’



Through the power of music, we can relate to other people’s experiences and we can be motivated to be the best and gain a sense of happiness. Our creative energy can also be stimulated, triggering our artistic and productive juices. Let us now fix our eyes into the life of one of South Africa’s talented hip hop artist.

Born in the town of Mofolo in Soweto, Sakhile Zulu also known as Pop-D is a hip-hop song writer, composer and professional dancer.

As a young man Sakhile became inspired by dancing groups, such as, Dru Hill, Silk and LSG. His love for dancing intensified after watching You Got Served, an American dance movie. He finally decided to form his own dancing group, with the aid of his brother. The Reptilez, as it was called, went on to become one of South Africa’s biggest dancing groups after winning the Red Bull beat. As the years progressed, his focus shifted to developing his other talent, music. His journey into the music industry began in 2013 when he became a part of a music group called fusion.

Pop-D is on a serious mission to change the lives of the people within his community and in the country through his music. He aims to bring to light issues in our communities that are mostly ignored and spread hope to those who are going through the rough patches of life.

This incredibly talented artist managed to lend me some of his time from his busy schedule to tell me more about his journey through this “dog -eat-dog” world of the music industry.

When did you discover your passion for music?

When I was growing up I used to participate in choir competitions, but I didn’t really read much into it. In 2013 I was introduced to one of my friends’ brother, who was in a band. He asked me to sing a bit and I did. When I realized how good I was at vocals I wanted to focus more on building that.

Did you always see yourself as a musician?

To be honest, I never thought I would be a musician. I had always dreamt of being a dancer. Music is not something I thought I’d be doing today.

You were part of a group called Fusion, right? What led to the formation of the group?

Fusion was not really something we planned for, it just happened. Two of my friends and I formed it around October 2013 upon realizing how well we worked together.

How was the whole experience for you?

It was amazing! it taught me a lot and helped me grow as a musician, because I was working with uniquely talented people. I got to learn something new from each of them.

You’re now venturing on your own, how has that been so far?

It has been very exciting, because I got the opportunity to explore my own ideas and try new things. I also received a lot of support from the people around and that really pushed me to keep working hard. There were some obstacles I came across, but I managed to tackle them at the end of the day.

After being a part of a group and learning to rely on the other members, was it not scary to venture out on your own and do things by yourself?

No, not at all, it was actually fun. I got a sense of freedom to explore the world of music by myself. I focused on building myself and explored my own ideas and experimented with my own music.

Where does the name Pop-D come from?

The name Pop D was derived from the nickname my family calls me by, “Papas”, which my peers then translated to “Pops”. So, everything I “Pop” in my verses has meaning.

The “D” is for Definition of everything I rap and sing about.

You have recently released a new single called Keep It Moving, what is it all about?

Keep It Moving highlights issues that our communities are faced with today and life challenges that people go through on daily basis. This album also encourages people to never give up no matter how hard life gets. Always keep your head high and do your best to succeed on your goals.

How is your music different from other music?

My music draws from my own personal experiences and life challenges. It highlights issues that people are faced with on daily basis. I want people to relate to my music.

What motivates you to all this?

I am motivated by life itself. I draw this creative energy from the environment that I am in, my own life experiences and the unique life stories of the different people that I come across every day.

What are the challenges you encountered along the way?

I have encountered many challenges since I ventured on my own. As an upcoming artist it’s hard to get a breakthrough. You have to make everything happen out of your own pocket; I had to organize money to get studio time, and to get my music played. When I attended gigs as well I had to draw from my own pocket to cover things that weren’t provided for and getting a producer who understands the kind of music you want to create is not easy.


The music Industry seems to be a very challenging platform to get a breakthrough, would you advise anyone to pursue a career in music?

Music is life and if you are passionate enough about it, then you shouldn’t let anything stand in your way. You must push through all the obstacles that stand on your way and get what you want.

What message would you like to send out there for young South Africans who aspire to be in the music industry?

Never undermine yourself. Always believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you otherwise. You need to understand that everything takes time and you will have to wait until it is your turn for a breakthrough. Do your research and get informed before you jump into anything and do your own thing.

What can we expect from you this year?

I am currently working on an EP called Man on the Mission, with a very unique sound. It will be out sometime this year.

Where can we follow you for updates?

You can follow me on my Facebook page (Pop D), on Twitter (@DaRealPopD) and on Instagram at (TheRealPopD)


By Tebogo J. Mphatswe




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