Black Coffee An inspirational figure and DJ, South African icon Black Coffee last year year saw him become a worldwide star
Reeling off DJ/producer Black Coffee’s 2014 achievements is no small task – already a four-time South African Grammy Award winner, and RBMA graduate, this year saw him installed as a DC10 resident, conduct a 24- piece orchestra in a platinum-selling live DVD and a cover of one of his classic tracks using only human voices used on a Ballantine’s ad.
So you might be forgiven for expecting an air of arrogance around Nkosinathi Maphulmulo – Nathi to his friends – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. His amiable, soft-spoken presence belies both his prodigious talent and the challenges he’s overcome.
These challenges were recently profiled in a moving documentary. In the film, Nathi travels back to his old school in rural South Africa. Here, Nathi’s strict grandmother would wake him early every day to milk the cows before class, and he’d spend his afternoons daydreaming in the barren land surrounding his township. It was this daydreaming that spawned his immense drive for success. “I knew from a very early age I wanted to be a musician. I’d spend my days imagining what it would be like to make music, to travel the world playing for people”, he tells us.
After focusing his efforts on becoming a pianist, his musical prospects suffered a blow when, as a teenager, a hit and run accident left him unable to move his left arm. But piano’s loss was the dancefloor’s gain, and Nathi set his mind to DJing and became even more determined. “In the early days I’d be playing to a room full of people, I’d look around and think, ‘This is what I want to do, I want to be the best in the world at this’. That’s still my goal now.”
Now, at the end of 2014, that goal is within his grasp. After becoming the biggest name in South Africa’s thriving house scene, four studio albums, a massive live DVD and countless accolades in his home country have made Europe finally sit up and take notice.
With a Mixmag DJ Lab to round off the year, a fifth album and heavy touring for 2015, it looks like next year could be even bigger. No-one deserves it more.
Black Coffee’s highlights 2014
Resident Advisor Origins: Black Coffee
A heartfelt and inspiring documentary looking back at his early struggles and a reminder to always keep the faith
Mixmag In Session: Black Coffee
An exclusive groove-led In Session mix from earlier this year – catch it on the Mixmag SoundCloud
Lab LDN presents Black Coffee
Watch below on Mixmag TV this recent, astonishing live mix in our office
(Via Mixmag UK)