YPG The Latest Candidate
Recently there has been a healthy crop of good music floating around Maputo courtesy of of two lovely ladies from the reggae music agency, Dziwitza Agency. Cape Town-based Mozambican Ras Vino has made ripples with his quality album ‘Axicunda’s Time’. Yussuf Paul Guesela aka YPG The Latest Candidate, is the latest to join the fold. Born to a Mozambican mother and Zimbabwean father, YPG has lived in Zimbabwe, Leeds (UK), Pretoria and Mozambique and grew up listening to music from across the globe. His single Ignorance – a delightful slice of summery soulful reggae complete with wispy, inoffensive vocals-reflects some of YPG’s international flavor.
Sit tight and learn a bit more of the young up and coming musician.
TK: You have had a very international upbringing living in the UK, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Pretoria. Do you think that this influenced your desire to make music? If so in what way?
Yussuf Paul Guesela: Concerning the influence of my travels or life spent in different countries, I don’t think my desire to make music is directly linked. But it has for sure influenced the kind of music I wanted to do. It gave me the will to make music that could travel and reach a wider audience. I want my music to go beyond borders. Because of the life I’ve had, it was kind of logical and it also fits with my willingness to spread a universal “vibe”. Something you can feel or get connected with, no matter where you come from.
TK: Growing up were there any particular albums or artists that fuelled your passion for music? Reggae seems to have been a big inspiration. What was it about it that caught your attention?
YPG: Oh man. I listened to all kinds of songs. I was not doing it thinking that I’d be a singer; it was just because I loved it. I remember the first album that I got was “The Score” by the Fugees. I would play that for days. And also Shabba Ranks, Shaggy. I tend to drift a bit more to the Reggae Conscious side of music. The kind of reggae that passes on a good message and you can still dance to it. I could list a whole bunch of stuff, it’s way too much to mention; it will take an interview just about that!
TK: You are blessed to speak several different languages. Do you find that some of them are better at expressing a particular emotion of a song than others? You seem especially drawn to the Portuguese language; what is it about it that captures your imagination so much?
YPG: Even if sometimes I feel my Portuguese can be weak because I learned it when I was very young, it’s still very natural and very familiar for me. I have a lot of tracks in Portuguese that I don’t perform simply because English allows me to transcribe other feelings, give another vibe to a song. It’s more versatile, and ultimately more relatable.
TK: Your single Ignorance is great! I just love it! Please tell us the story behind it- what inspired you to write it?
YPG: I like to make music that makes sense. I don’t know exactly was sparked the song, but Ras Haitrm came up the lyrics to the chorus, I got the beat from The Jumper, and from then on it kind of just blended and came out the way it is.
Performing with Ras Haitrm at Africa Bar
TK: What has been your most memorable gig so far?
YPG: So far… let’s see. A few years ago, I performed at a celebration of the 33rd year of Mozambique’s independence in Beira. It was amazing. It was at a huge stadium and it was filled with people. Just that sense of being in front of some many people, it was great.
TK: You have performed alongside some of my favorite artists, Ras vino and Ras Haitrm. What is it like working with such talented individuals and what do you take from those experiences?
YPG: They’re like teachers to me. They know how to guide you. And they have very good ears for music. We could sit and talk about small things, and at the end of the day they become big lessons. They’re mentors, people to look up to and aspire. They don’t just sing about it, they live it.
TK: Of all the artists that you have encountered who has made the greatest impact in terms of your artistic development?
YPG: Ras Haitrm and Ras Vino. They have really pushed me as an artist, in every aspect. From song writing to the live performances. It has been a great experience working with them.
TK: With which artists would you like to collaborate in the future and why?
YPG: Definitely Ras Vino, he’s a just a great artist and I would love to spend more time with him. I would like to work with more rappers, and get more into my hip-hop roots. Also, Proofless, I like he’s style, he talks about serious things.
TK: What are your plans for the rest of 2010? Is an album scheduled for release?
YPG: Definitely spend more time in the studio. I’m thinking about making another Mix tape. Learn more about the music industry. I would like to continue doing more shows to promote YPG and the Message.
TK: What would you be doing in a parallel universe, if music wasn’t an option?
YPG: I would probably be an engineer. I would be working somewhere in that field/ I like innovative ideas. It’s a never ending job, innovation never stops.
TK: cheers to that!