It is not often that the story of a highly regarded music producer starts with a nerdy 15-year-old that is obsessed with hip-hop. This, however, is how the story starts for the talented ‘Cuebur’. As a young teen growing up in Mpumalanga, ‘Nicholas Mboweni’ now known as ‘Cuebur’ was passionate about computer studies, hip-hop and beat boxing. Never did it cross his mind that one day he would be a successful international House music producer. He also never expected to release his own successful albums, be signed to a local and international label, produce collaborations with Grammy nominated artists, see his songs top radio charts or perform on big stages with big names. After receiving his first PC, ‘Cuebur’s House revelation began’. As the only kid in the neighbourhood with a PC, ‘Cuebur’ was the one-stop shop for all digital requirements. One of his friends, ‘DJ Xola’, would often visit him with his own equipment and vinyls to record mixes. Leaving this equipment behind, ‘Cuebur’ was swiftly enticed to try his hand out at what it takes to produce his own songs.
Always returning with the latest music, Xola played Cuebur a song that would completely sway him into the House direction – ‘Kerri Chandler feat. Monique Bingham – In The Morning’. From this moment on, ‘Cuebur’ started producing his own tracks under the watchful eye of Xola, who offered continuous suggestions on how to create these sounds. His first release, which started to gain popularity and airplay, was his track ‘Pepe’. This release got the attention of ‘DJ Shimza’ and several other big names in the industry. After successfully completing school, ‘Cuebur’ moved up to Johannesburg. In the City of Gold, success started to build up for this young man. He was also approached to include ‘Pepe’ on ‘DJ Zinhle’s’ compilation album. Having his own track featured on an album really served as inspiration for ‘Cuebur’ to start pursuing this hobby as a profession. With a newly sparked ambition, ‘Cuebur’ was awarded a bursary to study music production through the ‘Soul Candi Institute of Music’.
His favourite parts of the course included music theory and music business, which really expanded his skill set. While a student at SCIM, ‘Cuebur’ entered a competition where the student who produced the best track would be featured on the ‘Soul Candi Sessions Album’. Needless to say, this is where ‘Cuebur’ got his big break and his song ‘Walk a Mile’ was featured on this highly regarded album. With this great accomplishment also came the honour of being named the SCIM Student of the Year for 2010. As a graduate of SCIM, it was also a great honour for him to be recently named the school’s official ambassador. His own releases quickly followed with his debut album being launched in December 2010. ‘Cuebur’ had his own disc included in the 3-disc compilation album, ‘Candi Roots Vol. 1’, alongside ‘DJ Mphoza’ and ‘DJ Hypnosis’. His second album to be released was ‘Awakened Spirit’, which was followed by ‘For Headz Only’. ‘For Headz Only’ was released locally through Soul Candi in 2013, and was then released globally through ‘Defected/Soul Heaven’ in 2014.
The album took ‘Cuebur’ only 2 months to put together and features collaborations with artists like ‘Thandi Draai, Marissa Guzman’ and the Grammy nominated ‘Vikter Duplaix‘. Cuebur’s production sound is an ever-evolving one, which can be described as a soulful Afro-Beat with a techno style that features a strong tribal flavour. He is influenced by artists like ‘Atjazz,Osunlade and Rocco’, and is always keeping a close eye on industry trends. Besides these influences, Cuebur is a firm believer in pushing boundaries and developing exciting combinations of styles. One such experiment is his EP released in August 2014 – ‘This Floor EP’ takes house to a place it has never been before – combining Cuebur’s deep tribal sound with a dubstep beat. He is taking local house and fusing it with an international sound that is sure to transform the dance scene, as we know it. Besides his newest ‘Floor EP’, Cuebur has also worked very closely with his good friend, ‘Andyboi’ on the production of his album ‘Trail Evolution’, which was launched in June 2014. Adding to this, Cuebur has his own disc on ‘Soul Candi Sessions 2015’, which was nominated at the 21st Annual South African Music Awards for Best Dance Album. ‘Soul Candi Sessions’ is Soul Candi’s flagship album, which highlights the hottest artists of the moment.
Cuebur has made a number of appearances which include being a guest mentor and judge for SABC 1’s reality TV show “1’s and 2’s” and having performed at events like ‘Ultra South Africa, Spring Fiesta, Oppikoppi, CTEMF, Raise The Roof, SAMA After Party’. He has also performed at international venues like, ‘Djoon in Paris and Nomad in London, as well as Lookal in Angola’. It is clear to see that Cuebur’s unique talents are in high demand. His future in the music scene is one that represents an A-grade artist with international prospects, and the fans should expect nothing less than the most forward-thinking and high-quality productions.
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