Peekay’s first: Collaborates with Busy Signal
Simbarashe Mutizwa Showbiz Reporter
HARARE-based musician, Peekay (real name Patrick Kahlari), is the talk of town after having done the extraordinary — collaborating with the most sought- after reggae dancehall artiste, Busy Signal from Jamaica.While most local promoters have been trying to lure the Jamaican to perform in Zimbabwe, Peekay has not only met the star, but has recorded a hit track — Show me love and produced a music video with him in Jamaica.
Peekay rose to fame last year after releasing hit single Ma1 which features afro pop singer Ba Shupi. The track was an instant hit, receiving heavy rotation at local nightspots. It also saw Peekay being invited to perform at various notable events.
Saturday Leisure Reporter, Simbarashe Mutizwa (SM) caught up with Peekay (PK) at a Bulawayo hotel yesterday and had a chat with him.
SM: Who is Peekay?
PK: My name is Patrick Kahlari. I was born in Harare and attended Prince Edward High School. I was raised in different places in Zimbabwe, so basically I can say that I have different cultures in me. I come from a traditional family, with three kids and I am the last born.
SM: When did you venture into music?
PK: I’ve always been into music. Growing up I was that child who loved attention so I would go the extra mile to get it. I would dance and rap for people in class imitating Michael Jackson, Notorious B.I.G and LL Cool J. Each time we were free, they would beg me to perform for them. As I grew up, I found out I was more into rapping and focused more on that. In 1999, when I was doing my O-levels, I won an award for best rapper at a competition held at Gateway in Harare. After winning the award I was featured on Coke on the Beat and later identified by producer — Delani Makhalima. He recorded my first song Bounce in 2001. Unfortunately, the economic situation in Zimbabwe was deteriorating and musicians were the most affected. I was not spared. Luckily I relocated to the United States in 2004 where I was signed under Rich Rapper International/World Premier Music for a two-year contract. In 2005, I released my first album — Like it or love it. Afterwards, I figured the music industry wasn’t rewarding and left for a while. I returned to the industry in 2008 and released a song – Blue Jeans though it was only a hit in 2011. I left the industry again and made a comeback last year. I released Ma1 last year and Show me love this year.
SM: Were your parents supportive when you started doing music?
PK: Like any other parent, they wanted me to complete my education and look for a professional job. They were against the idea of me focusing on music so I had to make them understand. At first they were not supportive as they believed musicians were into drugs, sex and violence. Fortunately, they are now supportive as they view the music industry in a different way and appreciate what I do.
SM: How many songs have you recorded so far?
PK: My first ever track titled Bounce was released by Delani Makhalima in 2002. It was followed by Blue Jeans and Letting Go in 2008. I also worked with Plaxcedes Wenyika and have a 14-track mix tape titled Like it or love it released in 2005. This mixtape was inspired by what I was doing at that time; I was hustling through selling a lot of electrical gadgets like phones. I also did a 21-track Black Magic album in 2008. Last year I released singles Ma1 and Letting Go. I have an unreleased mix tape titled Hit Bangers.
SM: How many videos have you produced so far?
PK: I have five videos to my name. The first one is for Ma1 featuring Ba Shupi, Kwakumberi, Letting Go featuring South Africa’s Speedy and Blue Jeans. Show Me Love featuring Busy Signal is the latest.
SM: Of all the dancehall artistes, why did you choose to feature Busy Signal?
PK: It’s interesting how I got to work with Busy Signal. Last year when I went to the United States of America for business, I met Jay Reed from Bad Boy Records, who I had initially met in 2005 when I was in the States. He is the one who linked me up with Busy Signal. Jay who is now my mentor gave me four top Jamaican artistes to choose from. I settled for Busy Signal because I wanted to feature an artiste who appealed to all age groups.
SM: Who composed lyrics for Show me love?
PK: Busy Signal and I both composed the lyrics. I would send them to him and he would alter and send them back and I would also do the same till we were both satisfied. I roped in my producer Simba Taggz to refine the instrumental for Show me love and sent it to Busy Signal who loved it. After recording the audio track I then travelled to Jamaica last month to shoot the video.
SM: How was it like working with Busy Signal?
PK: It was weird because we were surrounded by his goons and we were in his hometown. Busy Signal has shot many videos and I have only shot a few so I was scared that I would disappoint. I was star struck but I later overcame all that.
SM: How do you curb piracy?
PK: Actually, I somehow love piracy because at least my music gets to reach a wider audience. I don’t sell my music. Gone are the days when artistes used to rely on CD sales. The world is now into downloads so I distribute my music through internet sites such as Reverbnation and Soundcloud. I get my money through performances at shows and online sales.
SM: Have you performed with international artistes?
PK: I have shared the stage with Uhuru, MiCasa and Sean Kingston.
SM: Are you working on other collaborations with international artistes?
PK: Yes, plenty. I am actually in the process of engaging a top male artiste from America and others in South Africa.
SM: Have the collaborations you have done so far assisted you in any way?
PK: I have collaborated with Ba Shupi, Speedy, Busy Signal, Simba Tagz, Yoz, Shinsoman, Roki, Stunner, Placxedes Wenyika, Briss Mbada and Legend Elly among others. The biggest benefit is that the collaborations have boosted the Peekay brand because their fans are now my fans.
SM: What does music mean to you?
PK: To me music is not about money, but it is about the passion that is within you as an artiste, though as an individual you have to be paid so that you may pay your dues.
SM: Who inspires you?
PK: I am inspired by all my peers who are in the music industry. I take some part of my business ideas from Puff Daddy, Jay Z and Rick Ross. My dressing is inspired by Stunner, some bit of craziness from Roki. I also respect Oliver Mutukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo for their outstanding contribution to the music industry and above all my father is my greatest hero who has inspired me to do great things.
SM: Are you married?
PK: I am single as I am focusing on making money. I’m not ready for commitment as I’m always on stage. I won’t have time for her as the pressure is too much for me as I’m still growing in the music industry.
SM: Besides music, what else are you into?
PK: I am a businessman. I have a clothing line — Heavywait which I launched this year. It specialises in street wear with clothes like t-shirts and caps. Soon I want to venture into jeans as I want my fans to wear the clothes I wear.
SM: What do you think about Zimbabwean music?
PK: I think our music is growing. Artistes are working hard to make a name for themselves and put the country on the map. I have seen quite a lot of collaborations between international and local artists and that is a good sign.
SM: What is your advice to artistes who are trying to make a name for themselves?
PK: Zimbabwean artistes need to understand that the person who matters is not necessarily the artiste himself, but the guy who is always walking besides the artistes because he’s the one with all the connections.