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Harrison Crump relishes free flow of creative juices in SA

International DJ enjoyed working with late HHP

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Harrison Crump talks new music and time in the music industry.
Harrison Crump talks new music and time in the music industry.
Image: Supplied.

Making music with the late great Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo was one of American-born house DJ Harrison Crump’s career-defining moments. 

Second to this highlight is composing rapper AKA’s chart-topping hit Congratulate – making Crump a multifaceted music producer who is able to cross genres with ease.

The Ride hitmaker has been making people dance for over three decades, and he is set to do so again with the release of his new single Last Forever featuring soulful singer Skye Wanda, which drops today.

“I have worked with a lot of up-and-coming artists in SA but the collaboration that stands out the most is the one I did with HHP. He was such a vibe, he wasn’t a strain in studio… his attitude towards us making music wasn’t based on who I was or who he was – it was merely us coming together to create the hit,” says the 52-year-old DJ.

“In 2014, HHP and I dropped our song So Amazing, which features Asheru and Omar. The song was such an amazing hit and singing the vocals was so much fun.

“AKA, on the other hand, sampled my song Ride (from my first artist album that was released in 2006) on his 2019 hit Congratulate. It’s really so cool to have South African artists gravitate to my sound and relate to it as much as they do. It clearly means music is a global language more than anything.”     

Being a DJ was not part of Crump’s plans as a teenager in Chicago, a city that is known to have been behind the birth of House music in the 1970s before it grew to a commercial genre in the 1980s. His mother bought him his first DJing equipment as a way to get him off the streets and drug dealings of his neighbourhood.

Harrison Crump marks 31 years in the music industry.
Harrison Crump marks 31 years in the music industry.
Image: Supplied.

He explains moving to SA in 2013 and residing here has been a decision he did not find hard to make purely because of the country’s culture, diversity and ambience.   

“From a young age I always wanted to do music for the soul and seeing people receive my songs with such love over the years is heart-warming… my fans are the reason why I still do what I do.”

Crump is among a long list of international artists from America and Europe who have made SA their second home, and these include German house DJ/producer Ralf Gum, the late American singer Puff Johnson and House vocalists Monique Bingham and Portia Monique. 

“I love the vibe in SA. I fell in love with the taste of chakalaka and pap… that chisa nyama vibe in Soweto. The food, the people, you know, the atmosphere and the music are the aspects that captured my heart. It’s very different from Chicago and even close to a decade, I’m enjoying it.”

Crump’s songwriting skills have led to a close musical relationship with long-time friend Felix da Housecat and have earned him production credits on P-Diddy’s dance music project Divided Souls.

He plans to re-introduce himself with his new music that is anchored on spreading some love and heartfelt chills to the soul. His music is a melodic expression of what love is to Crump. 

“Some of the lessons that I’ve learnt through this journey is to accept when the buzz fades – you won’t always be on top as an artist. You need to know that there’ll always be another artist that’s going to come and overshadow you… so, the importance is pacing yourself, maintaining your image and spending your money wisely. This way you are able to sustain your career,” he explains.

“At times, certain producers make it in the game for four to five years and then fall off because of uncalculated moves which can lead to depression and self-complex issues. So, it’s very important to plan your longevity in the music industry.”

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