The interview is written in english to reach readers in Scandinavia and abroad – Intervjun är skriven på engelska för att läsare i och utanför Skandinavien ska kunna ta del av artikeln.
Nurdin Bilal Ali better known as Shetta is born in Dar Es Saalam, Tanzania in 1990. He started as a dancer in a local group called Misifa camp under the producer Dully Sykes. Later on, he became his back up singer, and eventually formed his own music group called Dar Stamina.
His first collaboration was the debut single “Mi Naplay” with famous Tanzanian hip hop legends MwanaFA. After that, he released 4 singles that introduced him to the Tanzanian music scene. Shetta came up with another song in 2014, “Kerewa”, featuring Diamond Platnumz. This single was such a huge success that it made its way to the MTV Africa Top 10. A year later, his successes caught the attention of music industry executives beyond Tanzanian borders, and he became signed to one of the leading record labels in the continent, Spice Africa, where he got the opportunity to record a song with international Nigerian music star, Kcee. The hit song, “Shikorobo”, became an instant banger and officially introduced Shetta in the Mainstream.
Shetta had performed live at Kilimanjaro Night in Kulturhuset Örebro – a cultural event with a Tanzanian theme in Sweden. We sat down with Shetta in a hotel lobby in Stockholm central before his takeoff to Tanzania.
How was your beginnings as an artist?
– I spent 8 years hustling before I got was I wanted to be. I was inspired by other artists, I took myself to their events, tried to copy their style, sing covers, they became mentors for me. The hardest part was that I had no money to pay for studio time so I could practice and improve my music. I met this guy, a Danish studio engineer named Mikka Mwamba who helped me access FM Studios in Dar es Salaam. The studio functioned as a record label and made many talents known to the public outside of Tanzania. It had sophisticated technology, unfortunately it closed around 2009. I recorded my first song there – KIFO (meaning death)– was my first debut single about something that touches me a lot at the time.
Takwa, my brotherhood lived in the same street back then when I was trying to make it as a big artist – I made one hit feat Dully Sykes. He was the first artist who to wrote me a song and said – “Shetta you can make it forget about copying other artists”! I started out trying to write my own songs under the production of Dully Sykes.
Who was your biggest supporter during that time?
– My mum. She past away in 2006, but prior to that, she supported me in everything I did. I had no support from my dad, he didn’t support me with the basic needs like providing for school fees, clothes… He ignored me because he knew my love for music and the fact that I wanted to be a musician.
Eventually, he started another family, I was jealous of the attention he gave his new family. I felt I didn’t have a parent to talk to in everyday life. It kind of fuel me to prove to my dad that I was going to go far and make it. I wanted to show him who I was as an artist.
2 years ago I started talking to him again. I was becoming a big star, he started to recognize what I was doing and talk about me. He apologized, blame it on religion and other stuff…I have my life now, I can handle my life, today he needs me more than I need him, he is my dad and nothing is going to change that.
10 quick ones for the fans!
– Kenya, Uganda, Professor Jay, Dully Sykes role model, Noorah – Tchemba squad
– The day I took my first flight it was like a holiday for me. Then my first time flying to Dubai, I came 7 hours early before departure and stumbled over the escalator, didn’t know how to use it (!), anyway, love it there, they have great hospitality, entertainment and people like to have fun. Without my music, I wouldn’t have seen this. I also have a lot of love for South Africa too!
– Non-alcohol drink, no smoke, funny thing is that during a year I was a brand ambassador for Hennessy!
– Prison break, Michael Scofield
– America and Spain
Future collaboration wish list
– Different international artists, I could go outside of my genre, MT from South Africa, Kenyan artist called P Unite…
– I have a crush on my own clothing line! Haha no but, really, my baby momma.
Picture Clothing @officialshetta
– The relationship between me and my dad, I took it as a challenge, I wanted to show him that I can make it, I believe in god. The disappointments in my music career, people who ignored me, people who didn’t believe in me. I believed in myself. One time there was a big artist who denied me a collaboration. Today he came to me to ask for a collaboration – What goes around, comes around.
That’s why I never ignore people, I try to be humble. No reason to go and disappoint somebody else. I am very humble.
– God is all of us.
– I am from a poor family, I don t wanna go back to being poor. I got a family, I want my family to live well, I have 2 daughters – Qayllah and Karma. I don’t want them to go true what I endured, I want to take them to school, that’s my everyday challenge. “Family is first” is the challenge, I want to live my dreams, I want to do whatever I want to do. Be a worldwide artist and live my dream!
Foto Shetta via Afromuziki.com, via @shettaofficial