DJ Cleo has been the most upfront, significant, and influential dance music producer in South Africa for the last six years at least, having repeatedly proven himself with House, Kwaito and Hip-hop productions for such prodigies as Brickz, Pitch Black Afro, Mzekezeke, Brown Dash, Mandoza, Kabelo and Skwatta Kamp, as well as having done some work on the Tsotsi soundtrack.
Of particular importance is that DJ Cleo wholly owns an independent record label called Will Of Steel Productions, something that by all accounts, considering the overly competitive South African music business (with odds stacked in favor of major recording companies), requires astute entrepreneurship and hard work bordering on slavery. DJ Cleo is not only a producer but also an internationally acclaimed disc jockey. He often has to exhibit his skills in music capitals of the world such as the USA and Europe, where he has performed with the biggest names in the industry.
The current (2007) release, Eskhaleni Phase 4 (the fourth installment under his own name), is considered a new and important benchmark in the dance music scene, and the common consensus amongst critics and consumers alike is that it will be very hard, if not impossible to beat the effort that has gone into producing such a massive and forward-looking album.
The following are some of the key achievements in DJ Cleo’s career since 2002:
2008:Best Urban Dance Album for Es’ khaleni Phase 4 at the 14th Annual South African Music Awards.
2007:Best Dance Album for Es’ khaleni Phase 4 at the 8th Annual Metro FM Music Awards
2007:Best Urban Dance Album for Es’ Khaleni Zone 3 at the 13th Annual South African Music Awards.
2006: Best Club DJ at the 7th Annual Metro FM Music Awards
DJ Cleo has also been accredited with both Channel O and Urban Wave awards, as well as ensured victory for the artists he has produced, among them Brickz (Best Kwaito at the 11th and 14th Annual South African Music Awards), and Mzekezeke who won Song Of The Year in 2002 and 2003.
Unfortunately, and with much agonizing controversy, DJ Cleo has twice been deprived, in 2006 and 2008, of emerging as the winner of the Song Of The Year category, at the South African Music Awards. It would be negligent not to mention that Pitch Black Afro, through his DJ Cleo produced album entitled Styling Gel, remains the biggest selling Hip-hop artist from a single offering, that being his debut as well!
In between, there have been recording stints with the likes of Keith Murray of the USA, and a couple of remixes commissioned for Swami, based in the UK. The most desired musical objective for DJ Cleo is to win a Grammy Award, something which, if all things are fair and equal, and given his momentum, will not be elusive for much longer. Having already produced 4 albums in his own name and many others for other award winning and top selling artists, DJ Cleo has decided to record and release his final album this year, 2008, in order to focus on growing Will Of Steel Productions, his company.
2008 will also see the release of Bleksem with an album called Skepsel. Bleksem is Will Of Steel’s newest prodigy, and the aim with him, is to bring kwaito back to the top, to give consumers what they want. Through his talent, Will Of Steel Productions has begun to penetrate the European market, where we can anticipate a Europe wide release of his current album Es’ khaleni Phase 4 in several formats, including vinyl and CD, through a deal with Kronologik Music, a dedicated dance music label there.
There are also plans in the pipeline for television production, an event business and a visual biography for the uber superstar.
Some of his songs are Hands up, Goodbye, When I first saw you, Gaba To Mbabane, Sis ngihamba nawe, Eskhaleni(do it), Ndiya, Fallen, Mind Ckuf, Ruthless, etc