South African recording artist JR Bogopa talks to IDM Magazine about his newest album and future plans.
While most of his peers are still trying to make sense of the business workings of the South African music industry, JR Bogopa is in the driving seat of his career – artistically and commercially and at the same time enjoying every ride as it comes.
“My last album Colorful (The Beega Edition) had an impressive reception from a much broader audience. The benchmark for my new album, titled Kool Forever, was very high,” says JR.
He adds: “I have been working very hard in the studio to put together a diversified body of work for this album. I played around with different sounds to come up with something that defines the different cultures in our continent.”
It has been quite a challenging journey for the Pretoria born lad, mostly mistook for a one hit wonder after his release of the slam hit Gata Lenna.
On his latest offering JR has collaborated with Louise Carver to cook up a cross-over jam. This is a format that he has openly exploited from the beginning of his career.
“I come from an era where local rappers are victims being boxed into a certain cage and tied down by street credibility which limits them to producing work strictly intended for a rap audience. I took a stand to go against all of that!” affirms JR.
That could not have been an easy decision to make. Especially in an industry that is struggling to maintain its own market when compared to the House/ Dance scene.
“I have another epic collaboration with a singer called Nokwazi on a song called Muntu. Nokwazi is popular for being the main vocalist on the Brothers of Peace song called Wamuhle,” he elaborates.
Bogopa is focused on maintaining a level head and a strong will not to allow his achievements to derail him from his future goals in any way.
“I currently own a 100% margin of my music. I am an independent act and I have always dreamed of giving a helping hand to other talented young people by helping them launch their music careers through my own establishment,” he enthuses.
“I don’t see myself performing music forever. I will definitely be sharing my knowledge and experiences with other up-and-coming artists and giving them much needed musical direction. I am very passionate about the music industry as a business and I take it very seriously,” he adds.
In partnership with the well known youth clothing designers-Loxion Kulca-, JR had an opportunity to launch his own sneaker range known as Colorful.
Bogopa thinks very highly of his ideas, as he believes that every idea is an investment opportunity which possesses very high commercial benefits when managed properly.
“It is important to maintain a strong relationship with the corporate clients as well. I joined forces with the sweet brand Smoothies to put together an event called ‘Colourful Nights’ at night spots around Pretoria – which is hosted every first Thursday of every month,” says JR.
“The support has once again been incredible. We bring the nights back to life and the people are embracing us with their support,” adds Bogopa.
Being the brains behind Boza’s Kitchen, a buy and braai spot, JR is also planning to create a similar setup in Soweto with the intention of having a solid business base outside of his music career.
Behind the hard-core, streetwise business demeanor- JR is also very handy with numerous charity organizations with their social responsibility initiatives.
He is currently on the verge of being appointed as a Representative for the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to highlight the urgency of blood donations.
About his latest offering he says, “Kool Forever is packed with a lot of surprises. There is a lot of beautiful music on it and my maturity as an individual as well as an artist is evident.”
In closing he adds, “It’s important that I spread my wings to other African countries, hence my collaboration with Cabo Snoop and AKA. These are two artists who are very well recognized both in SA and beyond our own borders.”
The first single from Kool Forever is Phuma which is on high rotation on major radio stations. The album will be available at music stores from the first week of November 2012.