“It’s always been about energy” – a statement from Focalistic which proves to be true over and over through his music. We’ve seen this artist dabble in different genres and with songs like Shoota Moghel, Never Know, Overload, Atchu and verses “Ase trap ke pina tsa ko kasi!”, multi-faceted musician Focalistic has risen to the top and is is now considered one of South Africa’s leading Amapiano and hip hop artists. We had Focalistic (who also calls himself Pitori Maradona) over at sportscene Studio in Sandton to talk about his rise in the music industry, his journey to the top as well as the things that inspire him.
Focalistic really needs no introduction. Fame however, has not gone to the artist’s head. Having collaborated with some of the biggest names in SA hip hop (queue Major League DJs, Cassper Nyovest, Kamo Mphela, DJ Maphorisa and Moonchild Sanelly), Focalistic has chosen to stay grounded ever since his rise to fame in the music industry by in remaining in touch with himself as a person. The artist mentions that his music is an extension of himself which he’s happy people have accepted, and adds that growing up in a shack in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria, was a bitter sweet experience as it has taught him respect for others and being yourself, saying “it’s tough being yourself if being yourself is not fashionable.”
His favourite part about making music
Focalistic adds that he gets to correct all of his mistakes and see something in his head come to fruition. He recalls planning one of his songs around the visualization of telling girls to shine their (phone) torches if they’re feeling pretty, adding that he got to perform to a crowd of 20,000 people taking out their torches while he was performing his song. He wants to connect with his supporters by making them feel happy (he does not refer to his listeners as fans). The artist does not believe in chasing the feature, mentioning even that he has many unreleased songs with Riky Rick, but releases should be done at the right time for everyone.
He praises the Amapiano genre for being a GENUINELY South African sound – with us not having to sound like Americans, because with Amapiano, Americans can never sound like us.
He believes in being yourself, and not asking for advice in the music industry. 5 years ago, he met Cassper Nyonvest in Menlyn Mall and asked him if he has any advice to share with him. Cassper told him to be himself, and at first he thought this advice was cliche, but looking back, he is grateful for the advice because it has resulted in his music truly being a reflection of himself.
Our Weekend Turn Up feature sees us collaborating on weekly basis with Adidas to share South African musicians’ stories leading up to where they currently find themselves within the industry.
Artists featured so far include Focalistic, lordkez, Zoocci Coke Dope, Dee Koala, The Big Hash, Lucasraps, Costa Titch, Willy Cardiac, Nadia Nakai, Nalu and many more. Check out the full Weekend Turn Up playlist on YouTube.