Interview by ARMC | Edited by Reggie Rasodi

As we enter the month of love, with the new moon arriving later this week, we get to meet Qayisani, a 30-year-old visionary hailing from the enchanting landscapes of Cape Town, South Africa. As the driving force behind African Kulture Sounds, she proudly holds the titles of Founder and Creative Director. Additionally, her expertise extends to curating memorable events and navigating the digital realm as a skilled marketer. Join us in exploring the intersection of creativity, culture, and innovation on Qayisani’s compelling journey.

Hey, may you please introduce yourself by sharing a little about your musical journey?

Hello, I’m Qayisani, a 30-year-old creative force from Cape Town, South Africa! Founder and creative director at African Kulture Sounds, as well as an Events Curator and Digital Marketer. Music has been my lifelong passion, with roots tracing back to my early days in the Church choir during Sunday School (around ages 7/8). Fast forward to Grade 3, and I was belting it out in the school choir. Now, let me confess, despite my love for singing, I was pretty shy about it. You know, that stage fright feeling? But quitting the church choir wasn’t an option – I couldn’t have people thinking “Ndiwile” (backsliding), haha!

In my teens, I had this cool music book where I penned down lyrics of my favorite songs. It was my secret weapon to impress friends with my lyric knowledge. Fast forward to my second year in university, and I made a decision. I wanted a music career, but one that had me behind the scenes. The stage wasn’t my comfort zone, especially when flying solo. So, in 2015, I began exploring the thrilling world of a career in the music industry – behind the curtain, where the magic happens!

We love a self aware woman. What motivated you to choose music as your career path?

Having ventured down various career avenues—from corporate gigs to NGO roles, even the buzzing world of call centers—I always found myself circling back to my true passion: music. I mean, if doing what you love means never working a day in your life, then why not, right? Choosing a career in music was, for me, a leap of faith. It’s my way of showing the world that there’s so much more to this journey than the late nights, the fame, and all the glitz that comes with it. Because when you discover your path, the rewards are beyond measure, making it absolutely worthwhile to dedicate your time and energy.

Please share a moment when you felt empowered as a woman in the music industry and how did it shape your career?

One moment that truly stands out involves a game-changing conversation with Ralf Kollmann from Mobilee Records in Berlin. Picture this: I was 27, with a head full of dreams and the burning desire to kickstart a talent management agency right here in Cape Town. I had no clue where to begin, but I was convinced I could make it something special. Sharing this vision with Ralf was a turning point. Not only did he affirm my aspirations, but he also generously shared guidelines to kickstart the journey. Hearing his story of building Mobilee Records in Berlin left me inspired, determined, and ready to put myself out there.

Being at Bridges for Music,1st cohort. Talk about a game-changer! This experience was a treasure trove of insights into music production, collaboration with top-notch event agencies and festival promoters, and exposure to invaluable learning opportunities from industry leaders. The thrill of working with some of our country’s biggest festivals? That’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of!

I always tell our interviewees that at ARMC, we believe that representation matters. How has the concept of representation influenced your career, and what approach do you aspire to adopt in the music industry to serve as a positive example for future generatins?

Embarking on my career journey, the concept of representation hit home for me. Back in the day, powerful women in the music industry seemed like mythical creatures—I mean, did they even exist, or were they just hidden in some secret music industry lair? It became my mission to change that narrative. Now, it’s crucial for me to be the proof in the pudding, showing other women that not only is running a successful business in the music world possible, but it’s also incredibly empowering. Let’s break those glass ceilings and throw some confetti while we’re at it!

My approach to the music scene is all about being a walking, talking beacon of positivity for the generations to come. Picture this: a kaleidoscope of talent and perspectives, where everyone’s invited to the party. I’m not just in it for the tunes; I’m here to share my wild ride, be a mentor, and throw a lifeline to those underrepresented gems in the industry.

Thank you for sharing. To conclude, let’s chat collaboration, which is key in the music world. Could you tell us about a memorable collaboration with another talented woman and what you learned from the experience?

One of my memorable collaborations was with Bonga Kwana. It was at the very start of my Artist Management journey. Back then, I was not even trusting myself to pull it off but it is also where I saw that – hey, I can actually pull this off! Since then, the journey’s been a rhythm of growth. Teaming up with Koolaroony, an awesome female producer and DJ from Gugulethu, Cape Town, and connecting with talents like Sakhe and other incredible female artists has been a joy. Each collaboration is a chapter in my book of learning and growth, and I’m genuinely grateful for the inspiring women who have shaped my journey in talent management