By Lesedi Mnisi
Luthando Mathebula, final year BEng (Civil) student and upcoming rap artist, spent his time during the lockdown writing his thesis and creating music. Mathebula or rather LT (his stage name) has devoted much of his time to developing his unique sound. His currently released singles, such as “High Demand’ and “Stuck on You” are just the tip of the iceberg that is LT’s creative ability. Die Matie spent some time talking to the upcoming artist about his future plans, motivation, and position in the Stellenbosch music scene.
When did you first start making music?
“I’ve been writing for a while but coming to varsity and meeting people that had the same interest made me want to take it up properly. I started recording properly around 2016 so I’ve kind of grown it from there, it’s something that I feel brings a different side of me a side that I like.”
What motivates you to make music?
“I grew up around music from a young age. The main influence for me was my grandfather because I used to watch him and be inspired by how he did it. He had the dream of being a saxophonist so it always sat in the back of mind. It’s something that I always kept there. So yeah music’s always been around me. However, I got the idea [to make my own] when I heard Kendrick Lamar on his album good kid, m.A.A.d city because it was something I’d never heard before, the story was amazing. Ever since, I’ve been working at it trying to get better and better.”
You have released a few singles over the past few years, are you working on anything right now?
“I am, so there’s a new sound I’m trying to go for that I think is going to attract a different kind of crowd. I’m trying to experiment with it to get a different side out of me, especially with my mental state at the moment amidst everything right now. So, I’m excited to show people that, but to answer I am working on a project, something a bit more introspective.”
How has the lockdown affected your music/music-making process?
“It really has in terms of people seeing my music live. I’m someone that likes to plan my year especially since I’m still in school. I had a show at the start of the year that was really fun, the crowd was crazy and the reception was dope, so I wanted to carry on that momentum. It really was a shock, but in the same light it helped me work on different things, write about different things, as well as work on my craft a bit more. I kind of see it as a blessing for any artist, it gave me some time to think about a lot.”
It is your final year as an engineering student, do you plan on going full time into music or continuing on your path as an engineer?
“I feel like happiness is something you work for, not something that’s just given to you. I want to work on becoming the best version of myself. Yeah, I’ve got plans to get myself deeper into the music industry next year and make sure that I get my music out there much more. I’m grateful to be studying and there are different interests I’m going to use my degree for. But it is difficult juggling school and something that you’d rather be doing than school.”
Your main genre at the moment is rap, do you see yourself venturing into other genres in the future?
“I do, I’ve always been into R&B so I want to go into more a lot more of that. I want to collaborate with a lot more people, especially from different genres, just explore my sound and see how far I can take it. Obviously, I’m into hip hop, but I feel like there’s a lot more I haven’t explored within me, so I’m excited to get that side out.”
What does your writing process look like and what usually inspires your writing and subject matter?
“I’m usually inspired by anything that’s happening in that moment of my life. I use my music as an extension of how I’m feeling. So, if I’m going through any emotion, you’ll probably hear it in my music. It makes it easier to talk about things that I go through and feel.”
When do you hope to have live performances again?
“Next year probably. I feel like I’m enjoying this time to work on myself, so that when it’s time to get busy again I know I’ll be in the correct headspace to carry on with everything. For the moment I just want to work on getting something solid out there, something that’ll get people listening properly.”
How would you explain your experience as a rap artist in the Stellenbosch music scene?
“It’s a really small city compared to where I come from (Pretoria), the scene is really small. I feel like people know enough about me to know that I make music, but the perception I’m trying to change is getting people to understand what I’m saying. I’m trying to get my sound to a point where it’s not about people knowing me personally. I want it to be about the music, the people, and being about the work that I put out especially outside of my social circle.”
What are three things you wish you knew before starting music?
“Firstly, I wish I knew a lot more about the admin side of the music, because there’s a lot to do behind the scenes to make sure you give yourself a platform. Putting yourself in the right spaces is something that’s under looked. Knocking on a lot more doors earlier would’ve done a lot for me. Lastly, doing music is like starting any business. The time you invest in it is what you get out. That’s something that has helped me stay motivated despite what a lot of people have to say about what I’m about. No one went from 0 to 100 in one day.
LT’s music can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. You can also keep up with him on Instagram and Twitter using his handle @worldoflt for both social media platforms.