Beatport x Ballantines True Music: IMS Ibiza 2024 w/ Sarz and Charisse C

Apr 25, 2024
Cameron Holbrook

Live from Hyde Beach Ibiza, Beatport and Ballantine’s True Music join together for an intimate livestream featuring Beatport Next artist Charisse C championing the best in South Africa's electronic sounds followed by the return of Nigerian Afrobeats producer Sarz for another memorable moment with Ballantine's, throwing a spotlight on electrifying electronic and club sounds.

DJ, artist, founder of Abantu, one half of The Ascension, and NTS Resident, Charisse C draws her selections from her experience of existing between worlds. Rooted in her Zimbabwean and South African heritage, and raised in the UK, her taste is curious, soundful, and bass-heavy, with a playful and intentional demeanor.

From Wizkid to Niniola to Burna Boy, a quick namecheck of Nigeria’s biggest contemporary artists inevitably leads back to Africa’s most essential beat maker: SARZ

Born Osaretin Osabuohien, the 2x Grammy nominated man the world knows as Sarz (AKA Beats by Sarz) is today the undisputed heavyweight producer of contemporary Afrobeats. His unique and pioneering production techniques have re-shaped Nigeria’s sound profile; Sarz is behind hit songs that not only top Nigerian charts (Wizkid, Niniola, et al), but make their indelible mark on global airwaves (Chris Brown, Drake, Beyonce and Skepta are but a few global superstar collaborators).

Ahead of his performance and talk at IMS Ibiza 2024, we got the chance to catch up with Sarz to learn more about the global rise of Afrobeats, his musical origins, his mentorship program for young African artists, and more. Check out the interview below!

Sarz Beatport

Hey Sarz, thanks for joining us! How has 2024 been treating you? 

Hey! What’s up! 2024 has been great so far, loving all the opportunities that have been coming my way. Super excited for what’s in store for the rest of the year. Super excited for my album.

Growing up in Lagos, how did you first become interested in music production and what were some key moments from your early career that helped you break into the music industry?

It's funny because I always thought I would end up as a basketball player or in the tech industry. But then, a friend of mine gifted me FL Studio and I decided to play around with it and here we are today, haha! I’ve always been passionate about music, especially producers of music so I’ll listen to a song because it was made by a certain producer and not necessarily because of the artists or lyrics, that love for music has been there even without me knowing.

As a pioneer of the new-wave Afrobeats music scene, what are some aspects of the sound (and your sound in particular) that you think have led to the genre's international success?

I know how to fuse different inspirations and genres and make it make sense from an Afrobeats point of view, that’s one of my superpowers, I mean for example “Happiness”, it has so many influences from Funk to Pop to Amapiano and Afrobeats and everything sounds like how it’s meant to be.

How did you come up with the idea to launch Sarz Academy back in 2015? How would you describe the mentorship program for emerging African artists?

Unofficially, the Academy first started back in 2008. I’ve always been open to my colleagues to share knowledge and I also noticed a big chunk of my fanbase looked up to me because they felt I’m doing something right from how my music sounds and I was really open to that idea.

With over 16 years of experience in the music industry, what are some key lessons you try to impart to your students who attend Sarz Academy?

The world is your oyster, don’t ever dream too little, everything you can set your mind to; you can achieve. Keep working hard and never forget your roots.

Tell us about collaborating with Skrillex and Crayon for your 2023 hit track "Yo Fam."

I’ve known Skrillex since 2017 and we’ve been working on so much stuff, it’s beyond work now, it’s more like a bonded friendship, we have so many songs together, we’re just thinking something out here so people know there is a Sarz and Skrillex universe and Yo Fam is just one and Crayon killed it.

You’ve recently played a London show with Ballantine’s True Music - can you tell us more about it?

It was an amazing experience. BoilerRoom has always been known for high energy, very inclusive performances, from all walks of life and races, it was interesting to see people from all over the world come together to watch me play, I really had fun.

You've been working on an album that is slated for release later this year. What can you tell us about it?

I’ve collaborated with some fantastic artists and can’t wait for the world to hear what we’ve been cooking!

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