Music is his life

With a unique ear for music, it is clear that the foundation of Sun-El’s career was built at a tender age. Sun-El, whose real name is Sanele Sithole, was born in the small town of Mooi River in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

A music producer and DJ, Sun-El is currently based in the heart of Johannesburg where his music career has progressed. He is on a mission to bring the greatest and most universal dance music of all time back to the air waves, back to night life and back to the dance floor.

His music has a distinctive sound and is not just for South Africa but for the world as it can be appreciated in any language. Akanamali is the first single on his EP, a well-textured African blend of vocals and beats.

With frequent radio airplays across the country and great social media feedback, the song, which features Samthing Soweto, the co-founder of The Soil, was released last month. 

Akanamali is not just a house track; it’s a song that captures a story, a song that defines a stage in a young man’s life and most of all it is a package of Sun-El’s musical experiences and influences.

Sun-El has worked closely with Demor Skhosana for years. Through his network he met many people in the music industry and went on to produce songs like Shela for Bucie and has also remixed Get Over It. He has also worked in production at Demor Music and has produced for the likes of Thiwe, Zakes Bantwini, and Shota, all of whom are talented musicians.

Sithole said: “My first memory of hearing my song play on the radio was one of the happiest moments in my life. It is that type of feeling that inspires me to work even harder to create more music and opportunities for more of these types of moments.”

According to Sun-El, the music industry is not as easy, nor is it all glitz and glamour. It requires hard work and constant decision-making, and can be a difficult journey that is also emotionally demanding at times.

On the other hand, the best thing about working with big artists is the opportunity and platform this provides, to be able to reach even further into the industry, and the ability to collaborate. Sun-El is happy to work with different artists because it is during that process that he realised that everyone comes from different backgrounds and influences, which means that each person has a unique way of expressing him or herself through music.

The young and ambitious musician feels that there are infinite opportunities for the youth today. “The music industry excites me a lot because of its ability to turn artists into stars. With this industry we can impact lives and affect generations, and for me that has always been my interest,” said Sun-El.

For Sun-El, being a DJ is a lot of fun, especially because people enjoy his music and that makes him happy.

He said the growing interest in deejaying and producing among the youth in this digital world is due to the Internet, which makes it easier to learn everything online. According to Sun-El, one can even learn how to DJ online.

Sun-El has always been passionate about learning new skills and to advance on those he has developed. “I can’t imagine my life without music. I would say it’s a passion I inherited from my father. He loved music and it was a huge influence in my life. I only acted on it at varsity when I explored being a DJ and started experimenting with beats and remixes,” Sun-El said.

Sun-El describes himself as a perfectionist, and that means everything he prepares takes three times longer than normal. It was his love for music that gave him the drive and the support he gradually received from the people in his life which then gave him the extra push. Sun-El feels that if he remains real and genuine people will appreciate him for who he is.

He believes that over the next five years, more music will be consumed digitally, and this will make it easier for artists to release their music to the world.

He would advise someone who is thinking about choosing a career in music to take piano lessons and if possible enrol at a school of sound.