Shimza launches Kunye Records with ‘Calling Out Your Name’ EP [Q&A]
South Africa’s electronic scene has long held a reputation for producing some of the most vibrant and eclectic house music in the world. Now, the country’s Afro-tech scene has its newest record label thanks to veteran producer Shimza. The Guatang-born artist has launched Kunye Records, his newly minted imprint dedicated to promoting South Africa’s rich musical heritage.
Kunye Records’ first release comes from none other than the label’s founder. Shimza initiates the label with his Calling Out Your Name EP, featuring stark vocals from Mikhaela Faye on the title track as well as remix honors from Kostakis. Dancing Astronaut caught up with Shimza to chat about his new record label, his ambitions for Kunye, and the label’s first EP.
Congratulations on the beginning of Kunye Records! How are you feeling now that the imprint is finally launched and what are your long-term goals for the label?
Shimza: “I feel great because now we have a home where we are able to release music that we want the world hear and we will be known for it. My long-term goal is to build a trusted global label that will be a bridge between local artists and the world while fostering social cohesion.”
You’re marking the occasion with Kunye’s first EP, Calling Out Your Name. What was it about this EP that stood out to you as the choice to the imprint’s first release?
Shimza: “I wanted to release my EP as the first release to show the direction that Kunye Records will follow and how I want the label to be represented.”
The EP’s title track features dramatic vocals from Mikhaela Faye about humanity’s impact on the environment and the globe. Are there any lyrics from “Calling Out Your Name” that particularly resonate with you?
Shimza: “We are living in a time where certain actions by humanity have severe reactions and effects on the environment as a whole. For example, the effects of global warming are becoming more and more apparent each day. We also have hate crimes which, more often than not, are caused by ignorance and lack of understanding. This has a further effect on how the outside world sees us as a country or a continent. So, this particular song for me is one that outlines [the reality] that we need to do better and treat our planet with more respect.”
You recently performed at Robben Island on Nelson Mandela Day. Can you describe the significance of that performance and what it meant to you?
Shimza: “Performing at Robben Island was a very iconic moment for me; being the first South African to have a musical performance there. I was able to do what I love and entertain South Africans in the comfort of their own home during a pandemic while raising funds for impoverished communities in the mother city.”
Can you hint at any artists that you’d like to work with on Kunye? Or can you give us a teaser for any projects in the works on imprint?
Shimza: “We already have three EPs lined up with great artists from South Africa. We believe that their sound resonates with what we want to put out as part of our debut.”
Featured image: Ryan Hings