Lizwi Mrayise, also known as Lisco M, left the Eastern Cape three years ago, determined to make it in Cape Town’s music business – it’s a leap of faith that is starting to pay off for this 28-year-old from Dunoon as he finds his feet as a rapper, music producer and film-maker.
Mrayise was born in Dutywa, one of nine children. It was in church that he was first introduced to music, he says, recalling how the children in his Sunday school were encouraged to write their own songs.
“I think that is where my love for music started. I soon realised that I could write songs and songs that made sense and were enjoyable. Since then, I started working on it on and off until when I was in my teens where I met like-minded guys in my area, and we started making music together. However, it was difficult because there were no recording studios where we’re from and very little opportunities.”
In 2018, at the age of 25, he told his family he was moving to Cape Town for better work opportunities. He was hoping to find a place where he could take his music more seriously.
“One of my brothers was living in Dunoon at the time, so I moved in with him, and we still live together right now. I couldn’t afford studio time here so I had to find a job. It took me about six or seven months, but I got a job as a stock handler, which helped me pay my way in terms of food, transport and not living off my brother.
“When I left the Eastern Cape, my girlfriend was pregnant with our daughter, Imange. They moved here with me for a while, but now they are back in Dutywa, and I send money to them.”
Slowly, Mrayise started saving money for studio equipment because he saw that paying for studio time in someone else’s studio wasn’t working for him.
Mrayise has started his own record label, Gubu Records, and he makes song beats and music videos. He has also shot a short film. His younger brother, the one he lives with, also makes music and he is the first artist signed under Gubu Records.
“I started experimenting with writing short films in 2015, while I was still in Dutywa. We shot one of those films last year and it’s on YouTube called Ubugqi. It was shot under the umbrella of Gubu Records,” he says.
Next month, Mrayise will be releasing Amakhandlela (Candles), a song he’s been working on for a while. And he plans to release a studio album, Kuf’ayayo, by the end of the year.
On Facebook, Mrayise is Lisco M and on Instagram he is Lisco Msa. You can also find Gubu Records on Facebook.