We talk to the South Africa star DJ about his latest album Subconsciously, growth and everything in between.
It is 1pm on a Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few minutes I will be interviewing the man of the moment, superstar DJ Black Coffee, a day after the release of his much anticipated album Subconsciously. He's in Johannesburg as well, which he calls home although he doesn't happen to be here a lot. Staying on-brand with his global stardom, as we speak there is a billboard of his album cover in the middle of New York's Time Square.
In 2020, the DJ/producer had 48.3 million streams of his music across 92 countries, according to Spotify. He was also scheduled to hold a residency in Ibiza, which was postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. The nomad DJ/producer was able to tour for three months last year when Europe opened up slightly, and had some shows in South Africa during the December/January period, when Covid restrictions were eased.
I remember first meeting Black Coffee in 2018 as he was preparing for Music is King, a star-studded concert he'd conceptualized. The powerhouse artist owned the global music and clubbing scene then, a scene that has taken a huge knock due to the times we find ourselves in. Although our last interview was only three years ago, it feels like it was a completely different lifetime. It was a world where I was able to speak to him in person, shake hands and embrace for a photo with no fear or risk of any kind of virus.
Today is different, but it's the same sweet Coffee.
Before I get him on the line for a phone interview I'm taken back to an Instagram post he made last year, thanking Drake for "always sending the elevator back down" in reference to their song "Get it Together," which made the top 100 Billboard charts back in 2017. 'Sending the elevator back down' is the essence of Black Coffee and something you see him act out throughout his career.
Whether it is his curated Africa Is Not A Jungle, a platform/stage which showcases the best in the South African club and underground music scene at festivals, or the way his album not only features heavyweights like Diplo, Usher and Pharrell Williams to name a few, but South African names like Sun-El Musician and Msaki. It is evident that the man is always paying it forward no matter how far he goes.
OkayAfrica talks to Black Coffee about his album, growth and everything in between below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.