Danny K: White boy from the 'hood'

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Upon hearing that R&B heartthrob Danny K's new album is titled This is My Time, I realised that it is actually "his time".

Such is the enthusiastic reception Danny K enjoys in black music circles that he has almost been adopted as one of their own in musical terms.

Danny K, a white kid, burst onto the music scene in 2001 when he released his first album, the self-titled Danny K.

He followed this with Same Difference, a successful collaboration with kwaito star Mandoza, which worked wonders in that the musical benefits were mutual - Mandoza was introduced to the white market and Danny K consolidated his hold on the black market.

He says: "The funny part is that my first single, Hurt so bad, was aimed at the white market. I was surprised when it was embraced by the black market instead. What it means is that you cannot orchestrate music for a specific audience."

He has shared the stage with such music luminaries as Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner. He has also performed at celebrated talk show host Oprah Winfery's birthday.

The source of Danny K's success seems to be his affinity for collaborations with other artists. This is My Time should have probably been titled This is Our Time, in reference to the multi-artistic input that went into it.

On this new album, he has included hip-hoppers HHP and Prokid, kwaito star Kabelo and Terry Walker, a rapper from the UK. There is also 2X1, a rapper from the US, and Whistle Jacket, a South African trio now plying their trade in the UK.

"I recorded most of the album in the UK, and it was nice to work with so many other musicians," says Danny.

"I like collaborating as opposed to working alone as I find it so boring. It is always better to get other people's positive energy and get new ideas. The world is moving in the direction of collaborations in many spheres of life."

He says most white artists do not collaborate with black musicians because they fear crossing boundaries.

"There is this unexplained fear among white artists when it comes to working with black artists," he says.

The R&B star says his collaborations are based on the fact that he was encouraged by his parents to look beyond colour.

"Even when I was young, I did not fit into the mould of a typical white youth when it came to musical tastes," he says.

"I used to listen to a lot of hip hop and Motown. So my musical tastes always had a soul element in them."

Crucially, he is also in firm control of the business side of his music. He owns half of his CD "masters" with his recording company and also owns 100percent of his management company.

"It is also important to have some kind of education because the music industry is fickle," he says. "I hold a degree in politics and law as well as a post-graduate degree in business administration."