Discovering the Global Stage, One Beat at a Time with Simphiwe “Smooth” Mhlanga and DPA Microphones

In a world where music knows no borders, the rhythm of Sub-Saharan Africa has found its way into the hearts and playlists of millions worldwide. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Global Music Report 2022 revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa experienced an impressive 34.7% surge in music sales in the previous year, with South Africa leading the charge with a 30% year-on-year increase in sales. African artists are reaching global audiences, propelling the South African music industry into the spotlight.

With the advent of streaming services like iTunes and Spotify, South African musicians are being discovered and enjoyed by a global audience. And with global recognition comes the opportunity for South African producers and sound engineers to showcase their talents and compete on equal footing with professionals from more established markets.

First to accept the challenge is Simphiwe “Smooth” Mhlanga, an up-and-coming sound engineer. Smooth’s journey into the world of sound engineering began as part of the production crew at Hope Restoration Ministries in Gauteng while he was still in high school. His passion for music and sound led him to pursue formal training specializing in film, television, radio, and broadcast.

After years of honing his skills, Smooth ventured into the world of freelance sound engineering. The pressure of the live music scene taught him a deep appreciation for reliable, high-quality gear and on-the-spot problem-solving. “Being a freelance sound engineer is an incredible learning experience for any young technician. You are only as good as your last job, and there are no second chances. It taught me the value of having professional quality, well-maintained equipment that meets the highest industry standards on every single gig,” he explains. As Smooth’s reputation grew, he became the sound engineer of choice for some of South Africa’s most promising music talents, including the late Kiernan Forbes (AKA) and Jabulani Hadebe (Sjava).

Smooth has also joined forces with like-minded young professionals to provide live production, outside broadcast, and post-production services for both creative and corporate clients in the region.

To ensure that local artists receive the same level of professionalism and equipment as their international counterparts, Smooth took a bold step early on in his career by investing in a top-tier inventory of audio equipment, including a set of DPA 2028 Vocal Microphones.

“The DPA 2028 Mic is a handheld vocal condenser mic that can be used wired or with a wireless system and is perfect for capturing the energy of high-intensity performances. It is specifically designed for the live stage, and offers exceptional sound quality, transparency, and versatility,” explains DPA product specialist at ApexPro, Keith Karimi.

Reflecting on his decision to invest in DPA technology, Smooth emphasizes the importance of serving the artist’s needs as a priority. “While many performers may not initially be aware of the difference top-quality microphones can make, they come to appreciate it once they experience it firsthand” Smooth points out. His ongoing commitment to enhancing the quality of local performances by using the industry’s best tools has garnered recognition and praise from artists and audiences alike.

South African music is no longer confined to its homeland; it has transcended borders and is opening much-needed opportunities to develop our local music industry. The success of professional production specialists like Smooth Mhlanga reflects the dedication, talent, and vision of the South African music industry as it continues to carve its place on the world stage. As the beats of Africa continue to captivate hearts worldwide, one thing is certain – the sound engineered by Smooth is transforming the way we experience South African music, one beat at a time.