The Bhoza M Mphela DHLA innerview presented by Nyasha Themba Dhliwayo


Bhoza Mphela
Boss things all day everyday
By Nyasha Themba Dhliwayo

We all know characters who dress like, talk like and even act like bosses.
Well, at least that's until it comes to getting down to the actual business of being a boss.
There's also the Bhoza Mphela types, who don't really have to pose like bosses, because they are too busy occupied with the business of actually doing boss things.
In the month when we celebrate and appreciate women, we grabbed with both hands the opportunity to chat with this particular boss lady.
In a career spanning almost two decades in the entertainment industry, Bhoza Mphela has solidified her a reputation as an efficient businesswoman.
Whether it's putting together an event, managing her artists interests (one of the more prominent being DJ Ganyani), or running the affairs an organisation that promotes her home province of Limpopo, Bhoza gets the job done klaar.
Grab a seat and notebook as Bhoza breaks down her recipe for success.
The boss lady also talks about, repping Limpopo haaard as well as shares interesting tidbits like how ages ago, she provided exposure to a then emerging DJ going by the name of Black Coffee.

DHLA: First of we would like to say that in terms of responding to emails and calls, you probably have some of the "fastest fingers" in the industry! You pick up calls, respond fully to emails and generally are super efficient. Despite a hectic schedule, how do you manage to keep on top of things while still maintaining a smile?

Bhoza: I have major respect for my clients and their businesses. 
Besides, I have learnt that time is money.

I understand that for a person to contact me, it is because they really need of me to deliver.
With regards to doing all that with a smile is attributed to the fact that I love laughing, and making people laugh.

I believe if I am miserable about any of the jobs I do, I should not make it another person’s problem.

DHLA: Being a self-confessed "entertainment dictionary" how did you gather so much in-depth knowledge about the entertainment industry, trends and music?

Bhoza: Apart from the love for the industry, I have invested my time in gaining knowledge through studying entertainment, marketing and music from Wits.
I ordinarily am the type of person who must know. 
I refuse to be in any space and not know.

DHLA: "Can you please be my manager Bhoza" is a sentence you most likely hear quite often.
What are the things you look at before agreeing to manage an artist?

Bhoza: Firstly, I am not big on quantity but I strive for quality. 
For me to agree to work with anyone, I must first believe in their craft and see potential.
This means, their talent, personality and marketability are the first things I look for.

DHLA: How did Dj Ganyani and yourself link up and establish a working relationship?

Bhoza: He approached me after an appearance he made at my gig. and then asked for us to sit and talk. There and then he asked me to manage him.

DHLA: A number of artists part ways with their managers after a lot of accusations and bad words have been thrown by both sides. What has helped the both of you maintain a smooth working relationship over the years?

Bhoza: Like in any relationship, we do not always see things the same way. 

But I suppose because of the time that we have been with one another, I end up knowing when he is not ok and how he prefers things and how he does things.

I have learnt him as a person and as a business person. 
In all that I think it is in the trust he has of me that I have his best interests at heart and history has proven that I have not lead him astray, that he obliges.

DHLA: As someone who has worked closely with him [ DJGanyani ] for years, what are some of the remarkable things about him that you would like to share?

Bhoza: He lives his music and believes in quality. 
As a person, he is a very funny guy.

DHLA: "Booking agent", "publicist", "accountant", "personal coach" and even babysitter are some of the roles that have been assigned to artist managers.

What's your definition of an artist manager and what duties do you believe they should undertake?

Bhoza: An artist manager is the strategic brain behind the artist, the planner and the executor. 
S/he is the one who needs to be in touch with what makes an artist in its entirety.

S/he needs to be able to think on their feet, manage working with people and understand the value chain around the successful execution of an artist.

DHLA: A number of talented artists are currently “self managing" because they have had bad experiences with former managers or they just can't seem to find the type of people who they feel can take their careers to the next level. 

What advise would you give to artists who desperately want to get a manager but just can't seem to get the right person?

Bhoza: Fact is not everyone who says is a manager should be believed as such. 
I suppose these days it goes for any profession. 
It is unfortunately up to the artist to seek a reputable manager. 
Artists should research.

More importantly they should also understand the business. 
Understand who does what and who will do what for them.
Understand their roles as an artist and be willing to learn.

Artists should not assume that just because they hear that artists are ripped of, then they too cannot trust managers.

DHLA: On the other hand we have a number of people who are very eager to manage artists but have been burnt by previous bad experiences. How best can they go about finding artists they can work with and develop?

Bhoza: Bad experiences are all around us.
 For example there are car accidents daily but this does not deter us from driving these or getting into cars.
 My point is that bad experiences make us wiser as they teach us a lesson or two.

We know now how to handle it next time.
 To answer your question, I always make an example with the number of people we see entering Idols, however out of those many are actually not cut to be artists.
 The search must however never stop.

When I began this interview, I mentioned how I am for quality and not quality.
 Even if it takes me longer to get the right artists, I will still be open to listening to new people.

DHLA: What specific skills and/or qualifications would you recommend that artist managers get before they start approaching artists?

Bhoza: Since an artist manager is an all-rounder, I would recommend that they know about contracts, marketing, negotiations and business management

DHLA: Which artist managers inspire you?

Bhoza: I am inspired by Amaru Da Costa​  .

DHLA: In another publication you shared that years ago before Black Coffee​ was THE Black Coffee that he has blown up to become, you always used to book him for your gigs so that people would get to know him. What did you see in the then emerging DJ that made you believe in way before many others did?

Bhoza: At that time he did not want to be booked but his goal was to get his name out.

 He would call to say he is coming to the gig just in case some other DJ did not pitch.
I remember we did this for a few years.

 Because I pulled in crowds, he knew that was the right platform.
He slowly started winning people’s hearts and being recognizable.

DHLA: You've stated in this other publication that you enjoy talking to random people everywhere you go. In what ways do you think having good people skills and being nice helps people get ahead in the entertainment industry?

Bhoza: Having good interpersonal skills is very important as one deals with a variety of personalities.

Whatever the personality one is faced with, one should be able to be on a level that does not intimidate the other, especially when the other person is not in a jolly mood.

 On the other hand, when faced with a jovial person, you match it.

DHLA: Despite being nice to everyone, the "hate" in the cut throat entertainment industry can be very real. Rival promoters and other people can employ dirty tricks just to make sure you don't get ahead. How do you deal with such "hate"?

Bhoza: I believe most of the problems faced in the entertainment industry are seen in any other industry including corporates.

 I do not belong to cliques and I respect and am civil to everyone equally unless of cause I have had an experience with that individual that warrants me stay clear.

 I am a firm believer that, people can block but, if it is meant to be, it will be.

DHLA: Sneaking undetected into a top-secret military base is probably easier than getting your music played on radio. This may or may not be true but it's the impression we get when we talk to a number of distraught artists.

Having a background as a radio presenter what are some of the ways that you know artists can get their music play-listed on radio?

Bhoza: In my humble opinion, it is important to have a quality complete product to sell.
 This is from the artist’s music to the sound and the packaging.

DHLA: You are an ambassador for your home province of Limpopo and are involved in a number of other community projects.

This is very commendable but too often we hear and even see some people living it up in the city yet their mothers back in the village do not even have running water. What would you like to say to people about how they can contribute to the communities that raised them?

Bhoza: No one should be forced to do anything that does not come from the heart.

 I am therefore saying it should not be a duty.

Black people already have "black tax" to worry about, however, it would be great if they have the heart to plough back into their home towns in a way that best suits them.

DHLA: Talking of Limpopo. House Music luminaries like Da Capo, Chymamusique  Brazo Wa Afrika, Punk Mbedzi, Rabs Vhafuwi and even lesser known but extremely talented artists like Lele X all hail from Limpopo. What's in the Limpopo water that births such talented artists!?

Bhoza: Honestly I do not necessarily think it is in the water.
 I think for years we have always had talent from Limpopo.

But because of some stigmas that came with being from Limpopo, most talented people did not publicize being from Limpopo.

 We as the fellow Limpopians (as I pat myself on the back for being the first person to use this term – Limpopians) are capable beyond measure.
DHLA: You have been hosting events from the late 90s. What's in your starter pack for hosting successful, profitable and memorable events?

Bhoza: Research, Skill, Budget, Marketing and  Reputation.
 You could have the most popular artists on your roll and yet the event might still fail.

DHLA: At the same time no matter how good an event planner is and how well prepared they are there will always be those horror events that turn out to be a disaster.

For example. artists don't perform well or it rains. What would you say was your worst experience?

Bhoza: My worst experience was when another promoter removed posters for the event I had planned.   It's advisable that in all your planning, have a plan B and a plan C.
Jot down a list of “what if this happens” and come up with solutions.

DHLA: Given the loss of confidence by stakeholders when such "disasters" happen, how did you bounce back from it?

Bhoza: I am a my best motivator.
 I subscribe to the school of thought that believes that I must keep going and that I am the only one who can stop my go.

 I sincerely believe in what I am doing, even if it means using my own funds to make things happen, I will do that.
 I have done this with the Rise Limpopo events that I used to host.
Years later I am doing more corporate gigs.

DHLA: DJ Ganyani is known for his Simunye House Grooves series. DJ Fresh and Oskido are synonymous for their Fresh House Flava and Oskido's Church Grooves respectively.

DHLA might just hit you up to put together a Bhoza Beats compilation. What tunes would you include?

Bhoza: Funny that years ago I wanted to put together such a compilation even though at the time it was going to be solely Hip Hop.
 If I were to do this now, it would include  Hip Hop, House Music and Kwaito.

DHLA: Why these particular tracks?

Bhoza: These genres resonate with the local market but also should be sold to the world at large

DHLA: Every "boss lady" such as yourself has a "boss man" somewhere in the picture...well, not really, but this is our "clever" way of fishing about any significant other in your life so please do share!?

Bhoza: Laughs. There is no “boss man” hey.
 Maybe he is being made specifically for me right now as we speak.

DHLA: Since you love baking and since we love cakes, muffins and other sweet things. When we visit you for tea, what Bhoza baked goodies can we expect?

Bhoza: You have surely done your homework.
 I feel busted.
I love trying out new recipes .. so you will just have to trust me!


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