A YOUNG Port Elizabeth music producer is hitting the big time in Johannesburg with his label Baainaar Records – signing up a popular DJ as well as an actor-turned-musician who also hails from Port Elizabeth.
Quitting a R35000-a-month job in 2006 to head to Johannesburg to start up Baainaar – "hailing from the Bay" in Afrikaans – has paid off handsomely for Lunga Nombewu.
Motherwell-raised Nombewu – affectionately known as "The Sid" – said he fell in love with music at an early age, when he used to listen to his mother's music.
"I grew up listening to my mother's soul music, jazz fusion and blues, the likes of Percy Sledge, Marvin Gaye and others. My first LP was Michael Jackson's Thriller.
"I remember my mom saying the day she does not see me listening to music the whole day, she will know I will commit suicide. I think I might have been five years old when I fell in love with music – I was sick and it healed me," the former South African Airways aircraft engineer said.
Nombewu, who has worked with heavyweights in the South African music industry such as DJ Fresh, Oskido, Theo Kgosinkwe and Jeff Maluleke, has released an album by DJ Euphonic under his label. He also introduced Point Five to the industry.
He said he was excited to have renowned DJ Nick Holder signed to his label. Holder, an underground house musician who is touring the US, is one of Nombewu's biggest signings.
Another signing was Port Elizabeth-born Generations actor Anga Makhubalo, signed under his musician name Naak MusiQ.
"I have been working with Nick for a while now, after we met on social networks. We will be releasing his album My Soul [tomorrow], which will be available everywhere.
"I signed Makhubalo in June last year and three months later he was on Generations. I want my artists to stand up and be brands.
"We are about to release [works by] Rocco from France and Kafale from England. We are also going to Africa and doing a lot of mixes."
Nombewu said he hoped to one day have a studio in Port Elizabeth. "I would love that. People of Port Elizabeth do not realise how much potential they have. No matter what I have accomplished overseas, I want to push local talent."
Nombewu also co-owns the company Baainaar Images with well-known model and actor Tazz Nginda.