Busi Sibisi aka BusiJazz DHLA innerview presented by Nyasha Themba Dhliwayo


Did you see the video clip that Fistaz Mixwell shared on his Facebook page a few weeks ago!?

The one of a beautiful lady coaxing out a toe-tapping melody on a keyboard, while a thumping House beat accompanies her skillful interaction with the instrument.

Like us you most probably shared this clip while wondering all the while who the lady tickling the ivories was.

We couldn't quite get a full night's sleep till this all-important question was answered.

Our fervent enquirers eventually lead us to one Ms Busi "Jazz" Sibisi, a classically trained pianist and professional musician.

Her mastery of the piano has seen her laying keys for some music luminaries in and beyond South Africa.

Allow us to introduce the "lady in the video" or shall we say "Piano Bae".Check the vid right here

DHLA: When Fistaz Mixwell posted that video clip (which promptly went viral) of you playing at an event he was also at, he gushed about how he had seen a "miracle".

How did such recognition from an industry heavyweight make you feel?

BusiJazz: It was really a huge honor to be recognised by an artist of his caliber.
I'm still excited by this!

DHLA: Going right back to you earliest introduction to music where you were introduced to and taught how to play classical piano by the late Bella Jellin, who is recognised as a legend.

What do you remember about those first days learning how to play the piano?

BusiJazz: I have the fondest memories about those days.

My late grandfather would take my cousins and I in his Volvo from Soweto all the way to Yeoville to Miss Jellin.

She had about three cats in her flat, was Jewish and was very strict so you had to make sure that when you go to your lesson you had practised well (My late grandfather made sure of that).

As a reward, after the lessons mkhulu would take us swimming.

I am grateful to both of them, may their souls rest in peace.

DHLA: What would you say were the most important lessons Miss Jellin taught you about music?

BusiJazz: I was very lucky that mkhulu took me to her at a young age.

I learnt the basics of piano playing (Classically) and I also learnt theory of music which gave me a headway when I eventually went to school.

In addition to teaching you how to play the piano what other lessons did she teach you about music as a whole and life?

BusiJazz: I learnt patience and to love and be passionate about your craft.
She was a wise woman.

DHLA: You could have moved on to learning and mastering another instrument, what made you fall in and stay "in love" with the piano?

BusiJazz: It's an instrument that is loved in my family.

My late father was a music lecturer so almost everyone in my family played at some point in their lives, however only my dad, little brothers and myself carried on playing.

DHLA: A lot of people do not appreciate the sheer hard work and long hours of practice that go into mastering an instrument. Tell us a bit about your journey in learning how to play the piano to a high level.

BusiJazz: It truly is a lot of hard work...

Well, after we came back from the lessons we would each take turns to practice on our piano at home.
We would start with scales just to loosen the fingers, then we would go on to practice music pieces given to us by Miss Jellin, then close off with Scales again.

After that it would be time for theory of music.

We barely had time to play with other kids, but no regrets from me.

DHLA: It's very interesting to note that you studied contemporary music at The National School Of Arts then went to on to study Jazz (majoring in Piano) at Technikon Pretoria.

What are some of the new things you learnt about music during your school studies?

BusiJazz: Laughs It's been a while since I left school, but one major move that I did make in school, was to move from classical music to contemporary music.

A lot changed for me at that time.

I had to adjust to learning how to play chords, how to improvise and many other things.

DHLA: Talking of school, when putting together a song, a number of artists learn to play by ear, where basically they work till a piece of music "sounds right" to their ears.

How important do you think it is for producers and other artists to get a formal education in music where they actually go to class to learn the "ABCs" of music?

BusiJazz: I think it is quite important to get the theory behind it all as it makes it smooth sailing moving forward.

Not to take away anything from artists that play by ear.

I have respect for them as it took me a while to adapt to it since I was classically trained and we had to read everything we played.

DHLA: One thing that struck people about the video clip posted by Fistaz Mixwell is the beauty and effortless grace you displayed when playing.

What would you say is your personal style when playing?

BusiJazz: I'm a fan of blues scales which is what I use a lot when jamming,
I guess that came across in the clip, the love for the instrument and House music.

DHLA: In addition to be able to play an instrument what are some of the other things would you say make a good session musician?

BusiJazz: That's a tough one, this industry is not for the faint hearted.

Networking is imperative, as it helps you meet new people and be able to sell yourself/work.
I've had my fair share of ups and downs as an artist.

I used to work a 9-5 job for seven years trying to make ends meet but I found myself quitting.
It's been hard since then, constantly having to prove myself, more especially because I'm a woman.

By the grace of God however I'm still here doing what I was placed on earth to do.

DHLA: Most people know you as pianist what other creative pursuits are you involved in?

BusiJazz: I do some adjudication work in KZN.

We judge music competitions in the rural Northern KZN, helping young up and coming artists get exposed to the artistry world.

Yazi I would love to dance professionally laughs I think I can really strut my stuff laughs again.

DHLA: I'm sure we would like to all see that! Still on creative pursuits, do you have any original compositions and if not can we expect you to compose and release some?

BusiJazz: I do have some music that I did while still in the duo Jazzulu.

We had a single "Can I" featuring Phila Mazibuko and it received great reviews,
I've also done a few features.

You can definitely look out for music coming from me in the near future!

DHLA: Right now what do you think will take your career to the next level?

BusiJazz: Definitely proper management and PR and obviously a lot of hard work from me.

DHLA: Having played alongside House Music heavies like Black Coffee , Boddhi Satva , Dj Vinny Da Vinci, Mbuso Phezulu and other prominent players, you have experienced live some top class House Music.

DHLA:Which local and international House Music DJ's, producers and artists will
always have a place on your personal playlist?

BusiJazz: Wow !!!

Sai & Ribatone, Black Coffee, Culoe De Song, Dj Vinny Da VinciVinci, Claude, ZanoUrban, Mondli Ngcobo, DJ Fresca SA  , Glenn Underground, Josh Milan and Dawn Tallman .

DHLA: Why these particular artists though?

BusiJazz: Some are close friends of mine whom I've learnt a lot from and are inspirational artists.
In my opinion they are also masters at what they do.

When it comes to vocalists, wooooo I have a weakness for them yazi.
By the way I do sing as well.

DHLA: One of the trademark characteristics of House Music (especially Deep House) is its use of jazz-influenced piano chords. Sometimes we however hear a lot of local House Music where the piano keys are out of sync or straight terrible. What should producers (especially emerging ones) do to improve the quality of the piano keys in their music?

BusiJazz: Takes us back to a question you asked earlier, know the theory behind the practical part then practice, practice, practice.

Something that I have noticed is that some people play but have no clue what they are playing, it makes for such good pleasure to understand what you are playing.

DHLA: You have played in a number of bands and currently if we are not mistaken you are the pianist for female band Basadi Women of Jazz who you have performed with across Africa.

What are some of your most memorable experiences when touring?

BusiJazz: Unfortunately I'm no longer part of Basadi.

When we traveled abroad it would be to represent the country, so we would travel with our very own talented African musicians such as Salief Keita and Phuzekemisi to name but a few.

Regarding memorable experiences, where do I start...

The world needs to be explored...
Abroad we were treated like royalty.

In Egypt and Algeria we had bodyguards, translators, red carpets, the works, which is something us as artists do not get in our own country.

We were offered an opportunity to spread our wings in different countries, and learn other peoples' livelihood.

Big ups to the Department of Arts and Culture for the opportunity.

DHLA: Talking of bands, some bands barely last together beyond a few months or years while others like the Rolling Stones are still going strong 50 plus years later. What would you say is the "glue" that keeps a band together?

BusiJazz: Communication and transparency is key, just like in any partnership.
It's sad to invest your time, energy, talent and so on only to see it go down the drain.


#BusiJazzinnerview #DHLAinnerview #DHLA

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