Part-time producer, radio and club DJ Sabelo Mtshali, better known as DJ Sabby from YFM, is one person who has his mind set on the hustle.
Sabby hails from KwaZulu-Natal and besides being a DJ, he is also an MC, an actor and owns a clothing brand called Get Paid. Recently, Sabby has also taken on music production with the help from his friend Phatpro.
“I’m just doing everything that I’ve always wanted to do. The time is now. I’ve been procrastinating this whole music thing, same with my deejaying,” says Sabby.
To get where he is now, Sabby had to take the opportunities he was granted.
“I’ve always wanted to be on YFM. I just thought I was never cool enough. The only way I could get on YFM at that time was through the Y Academy in 2010. Did my six months then I moved on to doing traffic for Dineo Ranaka, Warras and Tholi B. So that was like my foot into YFM.”
In 2012 they felt he was ready for his own show. Sabby got the chance to host The Grave Yard, 12-3am on Saturdays and Sundays. He then moved to a day slot on a show called The Weekend Shake Up and shined. Finally he was rewarded with a weekday show called The Best Thing Ever.
“I left The Weekend Shake Up with a good 500 to 600k listeners, and that was a massive push. Now I’m doing day-time which is every radio DJ’s dream, 12-3pm Mondays to Fridays man.”
Clearly, numbers don’t lie and that’s why YFM granted him a better slot. That is not the only part of Sabby’s hustle that he has been working on. He is also focusing on music production. Sabby has a partner which he works closely with called Phat Pro who is a music producer and is referred to by Sabby as 40/40.
“You know how Drake has his best friend 40 as his producer too?”
I nod, anticipating the reply,
“Well yeah, that’s me and my boy. He is like my 40,” laughs the DJ.
They are currently working on a few projects. He has a remix he worked on with Habida called “I love you (DJ Sabby remix)” that features Flabba and Jovislash. They are also working with Zambian-based musician Zone Fam. Pushing production is one way a DJ can get out of the comfort zone and also bring artists together to create great music. We’ve recently seen this being done by the likes of Speedsta and Dimplez.
“My goal with music is to pretty much try unite Africa through music. Just like a game of soccer would unite people and bring them closer together I feel like I also want to do the same. I mean we just a few hours away from each other.”
While Sabby is on the road trying to unite artists, unity was not the key word for YFM’s CEO Kanthan Pillay when a few DJs left earlier this year. We saw the likes of Thando Thabethe, Warras, Tumi Voster, Scoop, and Sizwe Dhlomo leave the station. Rumours were flying about why they left and some of the DJs voiced their feelings about the departure on media platforms. Sabby was chilled about the whole thing,
“People will talk. There’s nothing we can do about it. They had a lot to say when DJ Sbu left and even before that. At the end it’s also about change. All the DJs that left were off to bigger things in their careers,” says Sabby.
He doesn’t stop there. Again, numbers don’t lie,
“I mean we still doing really good for ourselves. We have 1.6 million listeners regionally. If you look at 5FM they have like 1.9 nationally. So we still are a big deal; we are doing something proper.”
YFM takes in DJs while they are raw and carves them into professionals. They create opportunities to make sure that young talent doesn’t go to waste.
“It’s all about growth. I mean Bonang wasn’t gon’ be on Y forever. The likes of Oskido, Sbu weren’t gon’ stay there forever. Even our DJs now like Mo Flava and myself won’t really be at Y forever. We have to grow and people really don’t see it that way,” states the DJ.
On a lighter note, DJs are known for having girls show them love, behind the mic and behind the decks.
“Groupies? I’ve always appreciated my female and male supporters. I also took them out one day for an ‘experience with DJ Sabby’. At the end of the day they are the people that add to the profile, they are the people that add to the numbers, but eissh….” He bows his head and raises it with a smirk on his face before adding,
“It’s a hard one hey, sometimes you do meet girls who appreciate what you do and you look at her like, ‘Yeah she’s nice.’ But I can’t date a fan. I have that thing about not dating a fan, because you met Sabby first so I feel like you’ll look at me like there isn’t more of who I am and my life. There’s more to that than the colourful life we live, and I doubt some fans understand that.”
Sabby is certainly one who’s not easily distracted by fans, and has no plans of dating one neither. He has bigger plans like advancing his music production, becoming “The Best Thing Ever’”and also pushing his clothing label Get Paid, which can also now be found at the Amerikana store on Juta Street in Braamfontein.
As rappers say when things are falling in place, “Big things poppin” and that’s what seems to be the case for Sabby.
Follow DJ Sabby: @DJ_Sabby