By: Welcome Moyo – Instagram: @welcome_moyo
Most parents hope that their kids do not choose music as a career. It’s an understandable fear since music does not have the security and benefits that traditional jobs usually have. However, Wandisile Booi (27), who prefers to be called Wander Booi because it sounds like a brand, chose to be a music producer despite his mother’s initial reluctance. In our signature Q&A style we got to learn more about him.
Where did you grow up?
Wander was born on the 04th of April in Umtata, a small town lying in the heart of Xhosa land, beautiful rural area of the Eastern Cape, very rich in history of the Xhosa culture (located just a few kilometers from the birthplace of the iconic Nelson Mandela, the first democratically black president) and grew up in Alexandra Township situated on the north of Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng, South Africa.
Where did you go to primary and high school?
I attended in two different schools, at Zenzeleni Primary School which was up to Grade (4) four and moved to Liberty Community School where completed my matric.
When did you know you wanted to make music?
I grew up in a family that was quite active in church. My mother was very active on the musical side of church and my grandmother was also a great singer. As a child, I was not too deep into church stuff but I have always been surrounded by music.
Who did you grow up looking up to as a musician?
I was influenced by a lot of artists and genres such as Oskido, Black Coffee, late Dj Khabzwla (House Music), Arthur Mafokate, M’Du,Trompies (Kwaito), Hugh Masekela (Jazz), Ladysmith Black Mambazo, (Isicathamiya) Phuzekhemisi, (Maskandi) the list is endless.
How did you start your music career?
It was late in 2011 when an old friend of mine, Edwin Tiyani Baloyi the co-founder of OddXperienc, who introduced me and my brother (formally known as Retro Booiz) to music production software called FL-Studio or Fruity Loops.
As Retro Booiz we started giving out our music to other prominent Djs and shared it online. Then, late in 2013 when Inno Sacred and Opz were about to release their EP called The Soul Knows we worked on a remix track in order to release it on their EP. It all started from there, people were playing our music all around the country and our name started spreading.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career came from when the company I co-foundered was nominated in the 2015 Standard Bank Rising Star Awards Top 5 finalists in Media and Marketing with companies like SuperSport, Grey Africa and MultiChoice Africa.
What does it mean to be a musician in Alex?
Being a musician in my kasi comes with huge a responsibility: to educate the masses on various things through music.
Tell us how your parents feel about your career?
It was not easy for my mother. It was actually very difficult for me and my brother, because it was a matter of us being successful in making sure that we make a statement in this music thing. I can confidently say that the decision I took in my career seriously propelled me to have a standing point. I said to her, “Mom this what I want to do”. And I pushed until I got it. Now she is very happy with what I’m doing because she can see that I am doing something with myself.
Describe how you make music?
First off…music is a spiritual thing for me. For me it does not matter what I am going through, when I make music I escape.
What inspires you?
I surround myself with passionate people every day of my life; they push my limits, they teach me the impossible is possible and we are not meant to go at it alone.
What is your ultimate dream?
All I want is to see Retro Booiz Music being played in all countries and major cities. And also regarded as world-class.
Many people wonder about the money in music. Can you make a decent living in this field?
You can make a decent living in this field or industry but hard work is needed in this game. And things like the right attitude and being in the right space.
What do you do when you’re not making music?
When Wander is not working or making music; you will find me blogging, writing, reading, planning events or spend time with family and friends.
Describe your personality? What do you like and dislike?
I am a goal driven person and motivated to be the best I can be, my ambitions includes incorporating with bigger brands in the country and abroad. I have a raft of goals but my most heartfelt goals includes nationalising my business and reaching out to all orphans and kids living in the streets through our NGO “Tiyimeleni Youth Link”. All I want is to sleep knowing that I have changed someone life’s or the world…Money will just be a bonus.
What would you like to say about your life as a musician in general?
For me, music is a way to relax. Music can change my mood and it can calm me down when I am upset. #MusicIsLife
Listen to Retro Booiz music here.